Alan: Hello. We've got two tracks all sorted for the album ('Strasbourg' and 'Retreat') and will redo some we've only demo'd (with Paul and before Eppo joined our lives) and one which is the most recent one we've finished writing, which we have never played before ever in public in the world. I can tell you next week more about how the album is sounding. Sorry, we have got lots of ideas for it - it should have a fairly studio-ish, warmish, feel to it rather than a live "The Others" or "The Libertines" last album vibe to it. Yes. The end. And, yes, very excited. Even one year ago we didn't really think we'd have got this far. Very good.
The new single, 'Retreat', is out in April, is it along the same lines as your last two?
The last two... the last two...erm.... well, 'Retreat' is different to the last two in a few ways - it was really a half-finished song and we went to Mr. Epworth, who played with it, kicked it around, generally blue-skyed it, he really thought out of the box on this one - there's a bit of keys in it, even - played by my good self Alan "Liberace" Donohoe. Lyric content wise - is down to earth normal stuff, like 22 grand job - rather than a cerebral story vibe like 'Strasbourg'. It's racy - and in your facey, without being too Kevin Spacey.
And we hear that you may have a new home to release records on. Can you tell us anything?
I dont think I can.. sorry, top secret. I could tell, but then I'd have to accept money from you. Soz.
Do you feel that you're getting to the top of the mountain? It seems like it's been a bit of an uphill struggle for you guys to hit the same peaks as other, maybe not as good, guitar bands from the Capital...thoughts?
Has it? I dunno. The others seem to be doing well, but they work very hard. And the old Bloc'ers have played to more people than U2 this year, I'm sure - hard workin' bastards!! So - no, I think its all hard work. Some people might not have got us at first, but we kept with it and 'so here we are'.. (plug). Saying that I only managed to finally jack in my day job the other week - one day having my going away to be a rock star at the pub near work, next day playing Brixton Academy - it's a funny old game.
You all look like well-dressed young men; is there a place for M&S chic in rock n roll?
Defo. I think cos a lot of our music is a bit rough on stage, if I wore, for example, rough non-M&S clothes, then one would get the wrong impression of us. We're not really into rough punk, sharin' partners and spit etc. So we're a bit in between I think..eerm..yeah...Often just wearing work clothes to a show and put on some drainpipe trousers at the show. Nice.
Punk rock or post punk? DiS' eyes to the stage reckon you're a bit of both. But which is better? Or is this question a load of old tosh?
Hi, Matthew here. Alan's having a break from being the "voice of The Rakes," so I'll take over for last few questions...I think the term post-punk might loosely be applied to The Rakes, but we have an experimental approach to the basic guitar, bass, drums format. Our sound comes from diverse and sometimes conflicting musical interests. This will come across on the album. Our onstage performance might be better described as punk cuz of our energy and attitude.
Touring: it's a bit mad. You're off for dates in March. Will it be implosion and strangulated strings, or cups of tea and chats over the stereo in the van?
It's always a bit of both with us. We try and maintain a semblance of sanity, but the touring environment is pretty detached from the nine to five lifestyle most of us were leading until quite recently. We have a name for the mental state that creeps upon you during life on the road: "Gulf Tour Syndrome." The main thing is to enjoy it, not take yourselves too seriously and remember that we're in a lucky position to be doing this for a living. Cups of tea are, of course essential.
You played Brixton the other week with an interesting selection of bands - how's it look standing out on the big stage? Scary? Or a natural home for rock vagrants?
Well, it's obviously a different experience to playing in athe back room of an east end pub. I think we coped really well, basically it's best not to think about it too much, just try and avoid the cliches like punching the air triumphantly and do what we always do, which is put on a good show. We're quite an adaptable bunch, so it was not too daunting. I still had to load the van with all the gear after the show...
Tell us a secret.
Alan is actually straight, believe it or not...
Tell us about a band we haven't heard of.
Ask Paul Epworth, he's always got some good obscure stuff. He recently played some tunes to me by the pop group...you've probably heard of them over at DiS, I think they were around in the eighties.
Did you know that Joni Mitchell was addicted to Southern Comfort? What's your vice of choice?
It changes for The Rakes...I think the important thing is to have a vice or two... eg: 1. The drummer - IT Magazines, 2. Matthew - PG Tips, 3. Alan - broadsheet papers, 4. Jamie (bass) - cocaine.
DiS is (metaphorically) dying. Tell me about that record I need to hear before I hit the grave.
Well it would have to be quite uplifting as it's probably best to meet your maker with a smile on your face. What about Phoenix - United. I was listening to that last night, though not with death in mind.
Is all about luck? Or love?
Some are lucky in love,
Some ride their luck,
And I've heard other people,
Don't give a ARRRKKGHHH....