The latest band to be shaking the foundations of the music biz are Manchester’s Dutch Uncle. We caught up with lead singer Duncan Wallis before their gig in Leicester next Monday (23rd May at The Musician) and they’ve even given us a pair of tickets to give away!
5 minutes with Dutch Uncles…
Let’s get the basics out of the way first, the question you’ve been asked a billion times… Where did the name come from? Do you actually have Dutch Uncles?
The name comes from a book I found at home. It was a play called “Dutch Uncle” by Simon Gray and the particular 70s graphics on the cover gave it a certain appeal. We added an ‘S’ on the end for a gang mentality and then setting about listening to as much 70s music as possible. Turns out the 80s was better. The book itself is quite a poor read.
You guys are from Manchester, do you worry that some people might typecast you immediately on reading “indie band from Manchester”?
Not at all. There’s nothing to be worried about in relation to the old Manchester bands. Just because Peter Hook is squeezing every bloodied penny out of his legacy it doesn’t make it any more irrelevant. There’s more concern over the new Manchester bands if anything, for instance, we’re good friends with Everything Everything but if people hear that we both do ‘clever’ music then that will be classed as the same. With the wave of bands that has come out of Manchester in the last 2 years, I would’ve thought the concept of an “indie band” from ’round here’ was shattered.
How would you describe your style to those people who aren’t familiar with you?
Not so much as a style but more of a conceptual energy… an ADD-indie if you will.
What’s the single best gig you’ve played since being in the band?
Well, playing with Maximo Park at the Manchester Apollo back in ’09 was definitely an achivement for us, despite being sick with nerves. But in terms of a best performance, it would have to be our show at St. Phillps Church in Salford last November. We debuted our new album Cadenza in its entriety with some oldies thrown in and we had 5 session players helping us achieve the sounds with strings, xylophones, harmonies, congas, and no backing tracks. I’d say its the only proper gig we’ve ever done, and it made us realise the potential of what the band can expand to.
Your album Cadenza came out this year (great reviews I might add), did it take long to record?
The album took a painstakingly long time to finish. It started as a simple case of having no festivals to play last year so we started recording the album one week a month out of a studio basement in Salford. After 4 tracks we had a sampler and thats when the label got involved and then suddenly we had to finish an album. We’d finished all initial recordings at the beginning of September but then had to go out on tour with Sky Larkin , Everything Everything & Tokyo Police Club and by the time we got back, we decided it wasn’t finished enough so added some zongin’ synth work. It wasnt finished til mid January so to take 6 months was a bit ridiculous, although its better for it.
What album would you say has most influenced you?
Its impossible to pick one that the entire band would be happy with, but i’d say, for the stage we are at, an album that we’ve looked up to would be Talking Heads “Fear Of Music”. Its an inspirational record on many levels within itself and compared to Talking Heads albums on either side of it. It doesn’t just show you how an album should be, it shows you how to make a career.
You’re going to be at Leicester’s own festival Summer Sundae Weekender in August, have you got a lot of other festivals booked in over the summer?
Yes, we have quite a few of them thankfully. We’ve only ever played 2 grass festivals in our 6 years of playing music together so to have double figures this year is a great feeling. There’s something that seems alot more laid back about summer festivals, as if the crowd does the work for you, but i know that isn’t true.
Other than yourselves, who is your favourite current band a must see act of the 2011 festival season?
We’ve had the pleasure of playing with quite a few brilliant finds this year such as Hot Horizons, Fiction and Young Birtish Artists, who are all on the cusp of something wonderful. We’re also looking forward to seeing Everything Everything and Frankie and The Heartstings do some festival appearances as they’ve taken themselves up another gear so should be immense.
What advice would you give to someone in a band trying to break into the big time?
Just keep everything in time.
Tell us in 1 sentence why the people of Leicester should get down to your gig on Monday…
Because we’ll have excellent walk on music, and then we might play some good songs.
The lovely boys in the band have given us 1 pair of tickets to the show on Monday, so if you want to be in with a chance of winning just email your name and phone number to [email protected] before midday on Saturday! The winner will be notified on Sunday.
Dutch Uncles play The Musician on Monday 23rd May, tickets are only £6 and you can get yours HERE.
In the meantime check out the video for their last video Cadenza right here!