Interview: Stagecoach

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Having toured up and down the UK for the best part of ten years and with a handful of EP’s and singles under their belt, South England Indie pop-rockers Stagecoach are finally set to release their long-awaited debut full-length, ‘Say Hi To The Band’ next month. From the synth-led hooky ‘Work Work Work’ to the laid back ‘A New Hand’ to the riff-filled ‘A Kings Resolve,’ the quintet display an engaging and varied sound that emphasises the bands use of huge hooks and harmonies throughout.

Drummer Matt Emery took some time out to discuss ‘Say Hi To The Band,’ their ongoing relationship with Alcopop Records, their Record Store Day cassette release, the importance of being a touring band and more.

Already Heard: Can you tell us who you are and what you do in Stagecoach?
Matt: Yes, my name is Matt and I am drummer and occasional singer.

AH: After a handful of EP’s and singles, you’re finally releasing your debut album in the form of ‘Say Hi To The Band.’ How does it feel to finally get an album out there?
Matt: We’ve been pregnant with the album for over a year now, and I literally can’t wait to pop this thing out. I’m 98% excited and 2% nervous.

AH: With the album being called ‘Say Hi To The Band’ I guess you’re aiming the band to new fans. What can those new listeners expect from the album?
Matt: Totally, well it’s our debut and seemed quite fitting. I would say it’s quite a journey, and ventures through many moods and paces. There are tracks to party to and tracks to snuggle up to.

AH: Is the album made up of completely new material or can we expect to old material thrown in as well?
Matt: Everything is brand spanking new except a re-recorded version of previous single ‘We Got Tazers’ and last year’s Record Store Day release ’56K Dial-up.’

AH: Having been a band for 10 years ago now, how has the band developed over the years and how have your experiences influenced the record?
Matt: A decade! It’s crazy! Well the band has developed massively, it started as a two piece with Nick and Luke, I was the last member to join 6 years or so ago now. When I first joined it was very folky/country vibe, I only got to use drum sticks in two songs. We naturally grew into the more rock outfit that we are today, but I think the album still has moments and songs that take in elements of the last 10 years.

AH: The release also sees you working with Alcopop Records again, a label you’ve worked with numerous times in the past. Why have you maintained such a long and strong relationship with the label?
Matt: I remember the day we signed to Alcopop. I had to miss most of my cousins wedding reception to play a showcase for them, after which Jack who runs the label said they wanted to sign us. It felt like winning the lottery and it still does now releasing the album with them. There has never been a dull moment working with Alcopop, from the amount of time and effort that goes into all the releases to the tours, nights and stages at festivals they curate. They really are one of the hardest working and coolest labels in the country right now, the roster is superb! It’s such a pleasure to be a part of it all.

AH: As always, Alcopop and yourself are doing something a bit quirky by releasing the album on MiniDisc. How did that idea come about? Is it a format that will ever be revived like vinyl or cassette?
Matt: I think that was Jack’s (Clothier – Alcopop Record boss) idea, it’s a limited edition thing, but I think it’s pretty much the only format that Alcopop hasn’t released on hence why he wanted to do it. I can’t personally see a mini disc revival myself, but I guess the revolution starts here.

AH: The record was produced by Rory Atwell. What drew you to working with him and what influence did he have the record?
Matt: I think his name was first presented to us though his work with Favours For Sailors who were a band we were all big fans of. He’d worked on a lot of others bands we liked and thought the more raw sound Rory catches on record was the way to go with our album. He was great to work with, full of ideas, especially how to put the final icing on the cake with extra percussion and sounds that really do help make and shape tracks. Plus we got to record on a ship!

AH: What impression do you hope people leave with from hearing the album?
Matt: “Well that’s my new favourite band!” But seriously I just want people to enjoy it as much as we have writing and recording it, which is a lot!

AH: The latest single, ‘Action’ is set to be released on Record Store Day on cassette. Why do you think Record Store Day has become such an important music event in recent years?
Matt: It’s just important to highlight the importance of your local Record Shop and the wonderful thing that is a physical release be it CD, vinyl, tape (or if you’re on Alcopop could be Mini Disc, frisbee, watch or treasure map). It’s something we’re all passionate about in the band, and support massively in this age which is dominated by the digital download.

AH: ‘Action’ has been descibed as your most rawest and angst number. How did the track come together?
Matt: Yeah, it definitely sits on the more rock maybe even punkier side of Coach, and a lot of fun to play live. Luke wrote it on acoustic, brought it to practice one morning and we managed to turn it into monster that it is now in one session.

AH: You’re also set to head out on tour following the album release and then you’re playing a handful of festivals. How vital has playing shows been to Stagecoach over the last ten years?
Matt: A gigantic part. We’ve had the pleasure of fulfilling some childhood dreams with some of the festivals slots and bands we’ve played with. We love touring, and it’s a massive part of being in a band, from playing to five people in Yeovil one night to 2000 in Cardiff the next. It’s big swings and roundabouts, but having bands like Johnny Foreigner & Twin Atlantic invite you on tour with them have been real highlights. Playing to full and appreciative crowds is the best feeling.

AH: For those seeing you for the first time, what can they expect from a Stagecoach show?
Matt: A good time, a lot of smiles and sweat! We like to rock hard live, at the most extreme points there has been exploding chandeliers, flying screw drivers and mass stage invasions.

AH: As I mentioned you’re also playing several festivals. Are there any you’re especially looking forward to?
Matt: All of them! 2000 Trees will be killer for sure! But we’re playing the Alcopop/BSM stages for Y-Not, Truck and the Great Escape Festival so are guaranteed a good time with lots of good bands and friends on those days.

AH: Do you have any final comments to close this interview?
Matt: Thanks for your time, and for those who have read this, take a listen to the album come May 13th. It may just surprise you. Hopefully see you on the road somewhere up or down this country over the summer.

‘Say Hi To The Band’ by Stagecoach is released on 13th May on Alcopop Records.

Stagecoach links: Official Website|Facebook|Twitter|Tumblr

Words by Sean Reid

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