It’s always a pleasure catching up with one of the hardest working bands in Manchester…
As they embark on their largest tour to date ahead of album No’ 4, we caught up with the Readers front man, Aaron Starkie.
With their latest edition on the horizon, new single released and their biggest tour to date on the way, we caught up with the band on to see what they had to say…
Congrats on album number four ‘The Joy Of The Return’ (out 20th March). Decided to go over to Parr Street for this one?
Cheers man, yeah thought it was time for a step up on this one. After the success of Build A Tower we could afford to spend more on the studio. It was a great experience its a top spec studio with a great history and Phil our producer and Chris the engineer there worked really well together and got the best out of us. We had a lot more toys to play with so people will hear progression in terms of the sound and the mics used for Vocals and drums have made a big difference too.
Has the writing process or approach changed on The Joy Of The Return since album No. 1?
Yeah well we’ve been a full time band for all of this record. Some tracks were born in sound check jams on the last tour of UK and Europe and some were born in the rehearsal room. We’ve had more time and energy to devote to parts and arrangements as we’ve not had to wrap what we do around day jobs. I had the vast majority of lyrics down before going into the studio this time round too which was unusual ha. Some tracks follow in the footsteps of previous records and some explore new territory, it will be really interesting to see how each track is received.
As always, the art work is looking very ‘Readers’ which is always pleasing and nice to see the consistency. Who takes the lead and the decisions on the artwork? Are there members that just let others crack on with it or does everyone get involved?
I have a background in design so I lead it but consult the band as I go. I first started kicking around ideas for it when we we’re out in Europe. Think we were in an airport in somewhere in Germany when I started showing the lads bits of reference and early mock ups. I had a few different options but the one we all settled on was based on a parabola paper sculpture created by an artist called Ruth Pestell who I follow on instagram.
We got in touch with her and she was up for being involved. She sent us 6 or seven different sculptures in the post which we then had photographed and used them for album and single art. We’ve also carried the design them over to the video, Chris from Croftwerk managed to get the shapes mapped and animated in 3d which is really cool. Im hoping we can use these for live graphics on the tour too.
I’ve seen that you’ve recently said that this album is the most “interesting and accomplished” Why do you feel this is the case?
Like I said earlier we’ve had more time to devote to working on parts and arrangements being full time. I think we’ve all upped our game, which you would expect. I suppose by album 4 you should know what you are doing ha.
Great to see that pre sales and vinyls are flying out – Your fans really do know how to make the band feel pretty chuffed?
Yeah we are fortunate to have very passionate fans who want to see us keep building I think. We’ve never done any crowd funding shit or anything like that, people support us through buying records and tickets for gigs. Its been a good start definitely, but you never rest, always looking to get new people listening to us.
Any stand out tracks on the album that were particularly tricky to get right this time round?
You would probably get a different answer from each us on that. A track called Every Word was probably the most challenging to get right which you wouldn’t have imagined from when it first came together. Sometimes it happens that way though as people can have competing visions for how the song should sound in the end both within the band and from a producers perspective.
This is a huge tour! 32 dates is it…? across Europe and the UK… You must be feeling by now that your feet are well and truly under the ‘Full time’ band member’ table?
Yeah last we had a top buzz on the tour last year, its a bit knackering at times but nothing beats the buzz of going out to somewhere like Hamburg or or Poznan or Zagreb and seeing a decent crowd of people who know your tunes. We don’t take it for granted though and we can only keep doing it if people keep coming to shows and buying records so its a good job we are still writing decent tunes.
How do you prepare for such a huge tour like this?
We practice 3 times a week, some of that is spent writing and some of that is spend rehearsing the tunes. I’ve been getting to the gym a decent amount too as all those dates can take their toll on you physically.
Anything you’re: A) looking forward to the most on this tour and B) dreading the most? (FOTF are going to try and get to one of the European shows btw – so we’ll know if you’ve not been in the gym!!)
We’ve got some big shows in the UK in places like Rock City in Nottingham and Liverpool Academy also Pyramids in Portsmouth. Also out in Europe We are getting to a lot of cool cities. Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands were great for us last year so Im looking forward to going back. Wouldn’t say im dreading anything but sometimes the long drives can be a bit tough, will try and get my head down this time rather than picking around on my phone.
Any destinations you’re looking forward to more than others?
I think we have a decent amount of time in Prague this time round where as last time we are in and out. So really looking to that.
Other than new songs, is there anything new, that revisiting fans can expect on the tour?
We are always looking at ways to develop the live show so there might be some things we do differently musically. We invest more in production stuff to as we grow so the light show will be bigger and better than the last tour.
Omerta, then Readers – collectively a good 10 years before significant things started to drop in place, to the point of where you are today, now on album number 4. Does it feel like time is now starting to fly / bit of a whirlwind effect? Or does it feel like you’re at the end of a massive slog?
It feels like we are still on steady build to be honest, along the way there will be triumphs and set backs but you just have to keep your head up and keep believing in what you are doing. Our audience gets bigger with every track we put out or show we do or festival we play. The more opportunities we get to be infront of new people the faster we will grow but much of that is outside our control.
Thanks for your time man, always great to catch up – anything else you’d like to add or pass on to your fans?
Cheers for the interview, and thanks to everyone thats given us support so far. We can’t wait to share the new album with you.
Smash the tour mate. Bring on No. 4 and we hope to see you again in Europe very soon!