I Set The Sea On Fire
This month’s Exposed In Session feature has us standing inside an empty O2 Academy. It’s cold, very cold, with a floor still sticky from the previous night’s spillage. Though the involuntary shivers and smell of stale lager are more than worth it as we have indie-funk five-piece I Set The Sea On Fire for company; a band who, for my money, released the catchiest track from the local scene last year with their pre-album teaser, ‘Tastes Like Funk’. The quintet – Billy, Pete, Megan, Josh and Alex – have been working towards their debut album, Sleep Now Suburbia, for the best part of four years now and have finally been able to confirm March 11th as the release date. We had a natter before the cameras started rolling on their live session.
Which tracks will you be playing for your session with Exposed?
Pete: We’ll be playing ‘Tastes Like Funk’ and ‘Worship’, they’re two of our heavier songs.
Billy: Yeah, they’re both similar types of tracks. ‘Worship’ is a bit of a darker sort of song, obviously with religious themes and connotations, and its very riff -driven.
So you guys have been around for a few years, and have switched between styles and sounds over that time.
Pete: Yeah, it started out like 7 years ago with me, Billy and another drummer – then Megan joined a year or two later. This line-up’s fairly recent; Matt only joined the band about two months ago.
And what has Matt brought to the table?
Josh: Nothing. *Laughs*
Pete: A trumpet.
So how would you say the sound has evolved to where you find yourself now?
Josh: It’s kind of switched from a typical ‘clean indie’ sound to more of a grown-up, slightly heavier sound – a bit more driven and grungy.
Pete: A lot of the early stuff we did was pretty electronic, with a few guitars playing over the top. I think, due to the influence of record labels, we were forced down the indie-pop route, which we didn’t really want to do. Since then, we’ve started exploring heavier genres and moved to a more riff –based sound.
That sound appears to be going down extremely well. ‘Tastes Like Funk’ in particular has received plenty of plaudits and airplay. Did you know straightaway that you had a bit of a banger on your hands with that one?
Megan: What hammered it home for me was when some friends who’d not seen us for a while came down to a gig and that was the tune they picked out from the set. It’s had a great reception at live shows.
Pete: I don’t think any of us immediately thought ‘that’s the one’ when we first played it, but our audiences seemed to pick it out. We actually thought we had better tracks!
Billy: Yeah, that track has changed so much since we started out with it. It was quite a bare-bone, bluesy track at first, but we all added our own bits and it now has a lot of energy.
Is the kind of fun and exuberance we see on that track something which will run through into the record?
Billy: It is definitely a fun, colourful record – but it does have some dark undertones to it as well.
Are there any particular themes you could pick out on the record?
Billy: Definitely a sense of the loss of innocence in growing up; realising the world is a scary place. I think they’re key ideas.
By the way, after listening to the single I was left wondering what funk would actually taste like. So what are the key ingredients in a funk sandwich?
Pete: Marmite – you love it or hate it.
Billy: Just drugs. Trippy drugs.
Megan: A fusion of Marmite, LSD… and cheese.