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Interview: This Town Needs Guns

16th December 2008

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This Town Needs Guns are firing their way to success, their rapid pace math rock matches that of Oxford contempories Foals and Youthmovies fusing it with a dynamic pop-edge. Their debut album Animals is one of this year’s must hear albums.

Guy Halford grabbed a moment with Stu (Vocals) and Jamie (Bass) about the release of their superb debut, their unusal name and their favourite animals.

This Town Needs GunsIn a time where the boundaries of popular music are constantly being stretched and blurred, it is only right for This Town Needs Guns to drop their debut long-player. Having made music together since 2004, they describe their formation, “Most of us met at uni, well actually that’s a lie, I actually met Tim our guitarist in uni and Tim’s brother is the drummer and he used to be in another band, but they split up, so he moved down to Oxford to live with us.”

After creating a buzz, the band signed to the brilliant indie label Big Scary Monsters. The band see the support from the label as justification for their existence, “It’s weird, it’s like clarification for a band knowing that someone is prepared to put money and time into the band. It’s nice that someone else can see what we’re about, and do the stuff that we’re not really able to.”

Like Foals and Youthmovies, This Town Needs Guns are making music that is exciting, furious and extremely interesting, just like the bands that inspire them, “We are heavily inspired by bands that make angular sort of music from Chicago, and mostly American indie. Our main point of call would be Maps & Atlases and American Football.”

Despite such brilliant influences, the band seem more inspired by each other than anything else, “We all like similar types of music, and we do it because we enjoy it. We have had jobs which haven’t really given us very much enjoyment. It’s easy to get stiffled all day in a job and it’s just nice to play together with your friends and make music, and I am constantly amazed by Tim, Chris and Stu and the music that they come together with and it’s really nice for me to join in with that. It’s just kind of inspiring to be with people with that kind of outlook, which is what making music should be about.”

The band’s debut album is called Animals, with each track given the moniker of a different creature, “We called the album Animals because we couldn’t think of anything better to call the songs when we were writing them, so it was simply a way of us remembering. It was either that or calling them Song 1, Song 2 or Song 3, so we thought animal names were better. Originally we intended to change the names when it was all completed, but we thought there was no point.”

With so many different animals to choose from, it’s hard to decide which should be given the immortal honour of giving a track its name, however Stu and Jamie have their favourites, “(Stu)My favourite is ‘Elk’, which never gets played live, and I also like ‘Pig’. (Jamie) My immediate favourite was ‘Gibbon’, but that’s joined forces with ‘Lemur’, in the last few gigs that’s the one that I’ve been enjoying playing the most.”

A lot rides on this debut release, and This Town Needs Guns seem content with the result, “It’s really nice to have it physically to hold. It looks like quite nice, and it’s like a timestamp of everything we’ve worked on so far.”

The band have been on tour with equally brilliant indie-act Jonquil, tonight they played a short set at the Turks Head in Lincoln, it was a furious and energetic set which will no doubt gain the band status as a fantastic live act, and it seems like they enjoyed the gig just as much as the audience did, “I think it went really well and I really enjoyed it. Tim’s guitar died the other day, so he’s using Foals’ guitar amp, it costs a lot of money, but it doesn’t sound as good.”

On the matter of playing live in general, “It’s probably at its best when people turn up, but we do enjoy going to different places.”

The band have received some attention for their unique name, they explain the story behind it, “A guy who used to be in a band had a brick thrown at him through a window of a bus. So he wrote a letter, and at the end of the letter he wrote ‘This Town Needs Guns’, and so to inflict punishment on someone ridiculous enough to throw a brick at a bus. So I just thought that’s not going to do anyone any favours, violence against violence, I thought it was a strange thing to say. It’s also a bunch of words that fit together nicely. In a way there’s no malicious intent.”

So have they been in any trouble for the name as of yet?

“Not so long ago we played in Harlow and this woman had written into the local paper and attemped to get the Police involved because she thought we were promoting the use of firearms, and it wasn’t so, it’s just a band name, and if anyone takes offence, it’s more to do with them than with us. If they did a bit of background research they’d realise that this is a band who’s album is named after Animals and is quite happy and nice about things, we don’t have a lyric that says I’m going to stick my foot in your eye, not yet anyway, that’s for the next record.”

Whatever the theme of the next record, at this moment in time This Town Needs Guns are one Britain’s best upcoming talents and are a breath of fresh air into the UK and into scene.

Animals is released on October 13 through Big Scary Monsters

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