'We're sexy not sexist!' - Jimmi Naylor, Pigeon Detectives Q&A

by - Friday, August 02, 2013

SIS: Hello Jimmi! We last saw you at Crooked Ways festival, how was it? Did you manage to catch any other bands?
JN: It was good, it was nice to only have to travel 10 minutes to a festival! I watched Grandmaster Flash who played some classic tunes, he really got the crowd going and I caught a bit of The Enemy & D.O.T. The Enemy are always good live.

SIS: I remember the first time I saw you was headlining Underage 2007; most of the bands you played with are now defunct. Why do you think you have outlived so many of that era of indie bands?
JN:Because we are willing to work very hard, we are all good friends (we have been for a long time) and I think we are all down to earth lads; we see through a lot of the music industry bullshit and just get on with it. To add to that, I think we're pretty good songwriters; consistent, regardless of what we do sonically.

SIS:You got some criticism on your first albums lyrics for sexism and misogyny, how would you react to that, how do you think you have matured as songwriters?
JN:We're sexy not sexist!

SIS:You recorded We Met at Sea in your hometown of Leeds; what do you think makes it such a rich musical land? What’s your favourite venue, and are there any new Leeds bands you think people should check out?
JN:It's a big city with a lot going on, plenty of bars playing the right type of music, plenty of artists and is populated by a lot of students. It has the right atmosphere to spur music on; the large amount of venues will help that!  My favourite venue is probably the Cockpit, it's dark and dingy and that's the way I like it. You should keep an eye out for The Covelles, Glass Caves and the Black Sea.

SIS: I unfortunately missed you at the Live at Leeds festival, how did it go? Do you prefer these urban festivals or ones in fields?
JN:Very well, thank you, it was a great idea to start the festival ... it kicked off at the Academy and it must have only been about 2pm. There was something special about it. Field festivals are obviously the classic but the sound quality is better in a venue. They both have their perks.

SIS:With four albums under your belt, how do you figure out which songs go down best at festivals? Are there any old favourites you insist on playing?
JN:Well we mix the set up with tracks from each album, and play a lot of the singles. You can't be too selfish at a festival you have to play some of your most popular tracks and sneak in new ones in between. Our festival set feels very full on, you can catch your breath when we've finished.

SIS:Light Me Up is a particular fave from the new record, quite an interesting guitar line from you guys, would you consider going down a dancier route like Two Door Cinema Club or are you fiercely indie?
JN:We never really set out to sound like one thing or have one direction. On 'We Met At Sea' we go from dance to post-punk. It is whatever suits the song and whatever is inspiring us at the time. And we're all into a lot of different things ... some things you might expect and some really quite obscure.

SIS:You always been known for your high energy live sets and the mic swinging, have there ever been any incidents where that has gone horribly wrong?
JN:Yeah we played a gig in New York and Matt was swinging the mic when it shot off the lead hitting someone square on the forehead. Their head was split open and the woman talked about suing us (and she was a fan). We paid her medical bills.

SIS:You told the Sun that you were a bit disenchanted with the Spotify generation and think it may have contributed to your decrease in commercial success, people preferring a selection of songs rather than just an album. Why do you think this is? What can bands do to combat it?
JN: It is because everything is throwaway, everything is so instant. Not only can you listen to everything for free you can make playlists so it is too easy for people who don't love the  idea of going  out buying a record, looking over the artwork, listening on headphones to just download or stream and not give the full record a chance. We are all guilty of being more and more impatient/lazy these days with the advances in technology and younger people have grown up with torrent websites at their fingertips, they're used to not paying for music and it is alien to them. There is no one person to blame; it is a number of factors. Bands can try other ways of making money, charge more at gigs, promote more toward vinyl lovers but it is a difficult problem to solve, Spotify is legal, there are so many torrent sites it is hard to police.

SIS:You also mentioned that it took two years of songwriting to make We Met at Sea, how fast were you writing songs before? Do you find they come to you easily?
JN:We go through fazes. We can have patches where we write a few gems in one stint and times when we're struggling to write anything worthy at all. We took our time with this, but the last 3 were a mixture.

SIS:You’ve enjoyed a good pop cover of late, recording Rihanna’s Stay and Alicia Key’s Girl on Fire. Are there any other pop gems you’d love to have a stab at?
JN:Blurred Lines is infectious, maybe we could funk that up. Though it's fairly funky, we'd have to funk the hell out of it.

SIS:Matt has a show on Yorkshire Radio, what sort of things do you play? Would you ever consider radio as a full time career?
JN:He plays modern indie/alternative stuff and mixes in older rock, new wave, punk etc. He always airs at least one local band each week which I think is healthy too. You'll have to ask him if he'd go full time, he seems to enjoy it ... maybe he'll have to perfect a bit of a Wogan voice first.

SIS:You put a lot of effort into thanking your fans on twitter and social media, is it particularly important to you to keep in touch with your fans online? Has this ever gone too far into the territory of stalker-like behaviour?
JN:Yeah I think so, it's almost expected nowadays ... I mean it's nice to give something back and talk to fans but also it's a good marketing tool too, to be active on social media. Er, there can be some very personal questions but the funniest thing is how honest/blunt people can be with you on it. Like 'Yeh I'm not digging the 4th track but I am just loving 'Light me Up'. It makes me chuckle.

SIS:What next? Do you have plans for a fifth record?
JN:It's not something we're jumping straight into having just released our fourth but the immediate plans are more festivals and a UK tour in October/November. Come see a proper rock n roll show ...

Pigeon Detectives 'We Met At Sea' is out now. For more information visit thepigeondetectives.com.

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