Following on from our recent New Music Week track-by-track DiSection of Sky Larkin's eagerly awaited debut album The Golden Spike, here's a quickfire Q&A with the band's singer/guitarist Katie Harkin - as well as some pretty pictures of the 'Larkin three.
Expect a full review of The Golden Spike on DiS soon - it's out this week on Wichita. One line verdict: it's good, buy it.
We've been bigging you up for what seems like years now - and it probably is! - so, erm, why has the album taken so long?
Well two reasons really: university and distance. I graduated in September 2007 and moved back to Leeds then so it's only been a year and a bit that we've actually lived in the same city. Before that the three of us were spread between London, Leeds and Scotland - which is about as far apart as three people can be on the British Isles! Because we put our first demos on the internet people have taken interest since that point - which has been mind-blowing and really encouraging, but we have only existed as a 'real band' for about half the time people have heard of us. I wouldn't have it any other way though, I think the transparency that the internet allows means people have been able to be a part of us growing up as a band. We'd never want to present ourselves as some flash-in-the-pan trend band so I hope people will appreciate that we've taken time to work out exactly what we want to be.
Can fans of your early singles expect many surprises from the record?
There's no string section or children's choir, so I hope that's not a let down for anybody. Nestor's yelping is audible on some of the drum tracks, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that's seen us play.
How has the Sky Larkin sound changed from those formative releases?
Harder, better, faster, stronger perhaps. It's more expanded than changed I'd say.
Alt.rock legend John Goodmanson produced The Golden Spike - how did that collaboration come about?
Wichita asked us to draw up a list of producers, he was at the top so we asked and he said yes!
What was he like to work with, and how did he influence the sound of the album?
His ears are just incredible, and he has great intuition for sound- if I was struggling with getting the sound for something I could say a few words to him that weren't technical terms at all (like 'splashy and wavy' or something) and he'd dial it up straight away! We worked hard with him to get the live sounds just right for each song, dismantling the drum kit or trying every amp in the building, so that the bones of the recording were solid and we didn't have to mess around with studio magic later on.
In ten words or less, describe what it sounds like to someone who's never heard the band before...
Ten words? Ok, how about 'We play melodic guitar music for you, singer has boobs'.
How long were you in Seattle for? Was it all work and no play or did you get to see the city too?
We recorded the album in two weeks, then had another week of finishing up loose ends and mixing. We did have some time to explore the city though, we had an apartment in Capitol Hill and went into the city for the fun stuff like the Aquarium. they had an octopus that was so huge I swear it could read my mind. I stayed on for a while and went to Mt St Helens and Portland and the boys went home. When we were in Seattle we were at three different studios so got to explore different neighborhoods during different parts of the recording. Basic tracks were done at Death Cab [For Cutie]'s studio (they kindly lent us drums and amps as we only had our baggage allowance on guitars with us), vocals and extra bits were done at John's place and it was mixed at a studio in Wallingford.
Turning the tables, which acts are you tipping for success this year?
Pulled Apart By Horses and Dinosaur Pile-Up.
And here's some snaps of 'Larkin and said equine rockers, taken on their recent joint Huw Stephens Introducing tour by Paul Gregory.
Pulled Apart By Horses
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