Interview: The Magic Gang

Ahead of their upcoming show at The Leadmill, Andrew Martin caught up with Brighton-based scuzzy indie quartet The Magic Gang. 

Biggups on getting signed to Warner recently. Tell us a bit about the story of the band up until this point?
A few of us were down here for uni and we used to play in lots of different bands, sometimes in bands with each other. Once we got together, we wrote a song called ‘Bruises’ and put it on YouTube anonymously and it got a great reception, better than we had with any of our other bands. So then we were like ‘shit, maybe we should do this as a project’ – so we started playing around Brighton, getting better at writing songs basically. We signed a deal after being together for about two years and I’m glad we did it that way because a lot of buzz bands get signed after 6 months of forming and record labels try and sway them in one direction or another, but we had established ourselves as songwriters and what kind of songs we were writing.

So, you’re all living together in Brighton at the mo. How is it sharing a gaff? 
Yeah, we all share a knackered four-floor house and with tons of other people playing in different bands. lt’s a really great environment to be in because if you haven’t written a song in a while and you walk past someone’s bedroom and they’re writing the best song in the world, you’re like ‘oh shit, I need to go and write some stuff!’

The Magic Gang sound has a real sixties vibe to it. How would you describe it?
It’s an amalgamation of different sounds. We like to take sounds from a lot of different genres, but I think the songwriting is still a 60s/70s kind of pop sound like The Beatles, Beach Boys and Stax Records stuff. We love classic pop songs and that’s always going part of our music.

Your latest album is on Felix White’s YALA! Records. What can we expect from EP Three.
We recorded bits and bobs all over the place. We recorded ‘How Do I Compete’ with Hugo White from The Maccabees. It was super cool to get the nod from Hugo and Felix White. Then there are a couple of tracks we recorded in Eastbourne and the final track is called ‘Life Without You’, which we just recorded in a bedroom. That said, it still sounds great; Chris is a real wizard at production. I’m really excited about the continuation of what the band is about, but with something new in there this time.

Do you feel any pressure in being known as something of a “buzz band”? 
In all honestly, all the nice words  about us are amazing. We’re not writing music for this sort of thing, but it’s great that people are into it and excited about the band. It’s all down to the music really; we spend a lot of time writing songs and it’s so exciting to get this sort of exposure.

How was the recent your with your pals, Wolf Alice? 
We really enjoyed the Wolf Alice tour because we knew those guys beforehand. It’s always nice to go into a tour knowing the band you’re touring with aren’t total dicks! We also just toured with Spring King, who are really lovely guys and we like what they are doing too. Support slots are fun and no pressure, but headline shows are when we really try to step up our game. People know all the words and sometimes we can hear them singing over us lot. It’s an amazing feeling hearing your songs sung back at you! Our last headline tour, we headlined Scala in London and sold it out and it was just mad seeing 800 people there. We’re going ion tour in May with Abattoir Blues and that’s going to be absolute carnage!

And you’re making a return to Sheffield soon. What do you lads think of our humble city? 
We’ve played a couple of times in Sheffield and Leadmill should be wicked. We supported Wolf Alice there and we are doing Tramlines this year which we are really excited about. Sheffield is great, man! I think if I was going to move anywhere it would be there; I know a lot of great people who live there and it’s a beautiful place.

D’awh, shucks. We look forward to catching you here soon! 

The Magic Gang play The Leadmill on May 1st. Get tickets and more info here.

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