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Interview: The Pigeon Detectives


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It has been three years since we heard new music from The Pigeon Detectives. Throughout that time, myriad events have shaken the UK; from digging up kings in a car park, to viral outbreaks, to the general headache of politics and the infamous charge for a plastic bag.

Pigeon Detectives

Now the Pigeons are back.

With a new album just around the corner, they’ve introduced it in the form of latest single, ‘Lose Control’. Grooving with the feel of old school disco, the teaser tune flirts with the idea of dancing on your own. As a hypnotic guitar-line slithers throughout, it almost bites wiith its wavered vocals. There’s an element of danger that clutches the hands of the comeback Pigeon Detectives.

Their self-imposed hiatus to craft the fifth, and as-of-yet untitled, album was one that steered a new direction for the Leeds legends. Front-man, Matt Bowman, explains: “Some of these songs are damn right arrogant and you’ll have to warm to them, others are ridiculously shy and retiring and it can initially be an effort to get them to open up.

“’Lose Control’ is a good egg, I think everyone will get on with ‘Lose Control’.”

Responsible for the Tuesday night indie dancefloor anthems, ‘I Found Out’ and ‘I’m Not Sorry’, The Pigeon Detectives’ songs only became well-loved with age. Still shocked by their ten year strong stint, “It was a total surprise,” Matt says. 

“We expected nothing and we were given everything, we’ll always be grateful for that and it’s been an amazing decade.”

Noting their army of life-long fans as the “one true constant through all this”, they’ve already gone ahead and near sold out a UK tour, without hearing any new material. It’s clear that the listeners stand by the band that prove themselves as a “historically a super hard working band.”

Despite the struggles of taking a break, the five-piece insist that “nothing has changed personally” continuing, “We still hang out. We still waste our days pondering the important questions like ‘who would win in a fight; a lion or a bear’ and we still get together once a week to hammer the local quiz and eat free sandwiches.”

Though music-wise, we can expect something else.

“Musically, it’s either destroyed us or liberated us.” You can feel the excited rush that comes attached with the risk.

“People will definitely have one of those two opinions when they hear the record and I’m pleased about that.”

With a three year gap between its predecessor the forthcoming record was written in a new place.

“As far as we’re concerned this is the first time since our first album that we haven’t been writing in the shadow of said album.”

Almost detaching itself from the previous releases, “This album is reflective, it’s a thank you and an apology, it’s all the songs that we were never previously brave enough to write and it’s the first time we’ve had enough self-belief to say ‘we hope you like the record, really we truly truly hope you like it, but if you don’t – who cares, we love it’.”

Teaming up with Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet) was a conscious decision. Feeling that they’d got too comfortable in their anthemic indie remedy, they wanted “to find someone that would challenge us at every turn in the studio and refuse to take the easy option.”

The typical Pigeon chant and rowdy stomp-along track usually evolves from Matt and Oli (Main, guitar) resorting to laddish battles of throwing different versions of each other’s lyrics, to only eventually end up with something far from the original. Laughing, the front-man declares, “Honestly, it’s chaos… I’m amazed we’ve ever finished a song.”

Rich Formby bought some order to the studio, and was brutal in breaking down tracks that had been brewing for two years. Experimenting with the sound was “one of the most important things this time around”, and it’s decided that the new producer “has smashed it out of the park”.

Using this record as the one to fit every little idea and eccentricities that didn’t quite make the cut before, Matt exclaims, “There’s so much detail!”

Having dedicated time to sounds that would take a day to create, then only appear for three seconds, the band rest assured that their craft paid off, “we know it’s there, and that’s why we’re proud of this record.”

Asking, “We’ve all grown up haven’t we?” the ten years have been one of the biggest triggers for the change. Insisting that “at no point have we ever been concerned with moving trends” instead, the new record is “an honest account of this insane journey we’ve been on.”

In doing so, they believe that they’ve started to write better songs, with a real honest approach. “I think fans will relate to the lyrics and in time own the songs just as dearly as they do previous albums…they’ll love it.”

It might take a little longer to fit into the new material of the band, but ‘Lose Control’ is a tempting invitation. So, it’s time to dig out the old merch, tie your hair up, take a deep breath and jump right back in with The Pigeon Detectives.

Don’t act like you haven’t waited long enough for this. 

The Pigeon Detectives play:

1 Oct: Southsea Festival, Portsmouth

2 Oct: The Face Bar, Reading

3 Oct: The Borderline, London

6 Oct: The Wardrobe, Leeds

7 Oct: Broadcast, Glasgow

8 Oct: Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester

10 Oct: The Louisiana, Bristol

11 Oct:  Arts Centre, Norwich

12 Oct: The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

13 Oct: The Welly Club, Hull

14 Oct: Ku Bar, Stockton

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