Longview make big music. Not for them the stripped back simplicity of a Toe Rag studio production, ‘Mercury’ is adrift with tunes ready to waft around enormodomes and Mojave car stereos. Slogs around many an indie pub toilet for them were fortunately few, perhaps they already had a winnebago in the glint of their eyes. An early demo version of ‘Further’ was released with the band barely a few months old, clearly they meant business from birth. As guitarist Doug Morch explains, “we met about 18 months ago in Manchester. Rob moved to Manchester when he was 18. He’s from Winchester. We all met around the Manchester scene at a place called Night & Day. We played a few gigs in Manchester and then we were lucky enough to get signed to Warner and we’ve just been touring ever since really.” Whilst Longview have been quickly rewarded with a record contract, as one may imagine, their swift success has been carved from a litany of nearly-rans. “We’ve all been playing music all our lives and we’ve never had deals before, but this time it seemed to gel really quickly. I’ve been playing in bands since I was a kid really and the same goes for everyone else. Aidan the bass player was in a band with Rob when they were 12, so it goes back quite a long way.” So what does Doug bring to the band? “I love Ride and early Verve, really ethereal wall-of-sound guitars.”
‘Mercury’ may be sprinkled with the odd flash of ethereal guitar, but what is most apparent is how very American the record sounds. If 14th Floor (the band’s label) were intent on creating FM radio friendly fodder, they could have hardly succeeded more. If anything though, this seems more a result of Longview’s hero-worshipping, rather than the pressure of their masters. “The album was produced by a guy called Rick Parashar in Seattle. We all stayed in Seattle for two months over Christmas. Rick produced ‘Ten’ by Pearl Jam and Pearl Jam were a massive influence on Aidan and Rob when they were growing up as teenagers. When we were thinking about producers, we made this really wishful-thinking list of the top ten producers to work with, bar none. We sent our demos to various producers and Rick came back to us and he seemed to really get it and he had the same sort of vision.”
Creating lighters-aloft anthems must be some form of alchemy, one could imagine. The process in reality however is a little more pedestrian. “Rob’ll bring in a skeleton of a song, just a melody and a chord sequence on his acoustic guitar to the rehearsal room. We’ll then all thrash it out and add our individual essence.” A relentless touring and promotion schedule may curtail the creative flurry, but despite this, the next record is already starting to take form, even if it may not be with us for some time. “We have got some great songs that we’re itching to record, we’ve got some great new stuff that I’d say it’s half-way written, the second album. In the meantime, we’ve got about a year of touring this one.”
The second Longview long-player could be a very different prospect indeed from its panoramic predecessor. “I think if anything, rather than broadening it, we’ll probably strip it down a little. This record that we’ve finished, it sounds pretty massive. There’s a lot of strings on there, things like that. I think we’re probably going to get more into using synths instead, bring it back to the four piece that we are.” Whilst 'Mercury' may be mainly Rob McVey’s modus, Doug and his cohorts seem ready to take a bigger slice of the action. With his love of Dylan, Drake, Mitchell et al, the new tunes could have a definitely different tang if he has his way. “There’s definitely songs that the rest of us have written that are in the pipeline for the next record. This first record though is very pure, one person’s vision.“ Next time, they plan to take things just a little bit further.