In Issue 3.3 an article taken from an interview with James Smith from Post War Glamour Girls will / has appeared. The subjects we broached were far and wide and we simply could not fit everything into the issue. Here, James talks about the band’s run in with Green Day at Reading Festival three days prior, his approach to lyric writing and his love of
James: Everyone thinks Post War Glamour Girls is a secret name for Green Day now. Technically Green Day supported us in
Reading. A couple of days before I started
getting these Twitter things off strangers saying, y’know “what time Green Day
are on on Saturday?” I’m like, what you on about? And then Zane Lowe announced
it and then our slot got removed on the site for Reading. And so we thought, we’re gonna be on
earlier and Green Day will be on in our slot. “This int gonna bode well” we
thought. There’s gonna be all these angry, angst ridden teens wanting to rock
out to Green Day and we’re gonna come on and spoil it. But then they went on
first, so it was much better. A lot of people stuck around. We played to a
bigger crowd in Reading.
But Leeds was better fun coz it was Leeds, it
Rhubarb Bomb: Did you see Green Day around, did you meet em?
James: Decoys. They have a decoy bus. This is backstage. Bare in mind it was like 11 in the morning. There was us and a couple of staff stood around, not really interested in seeing Green Day. We were sorta looking over and this bus comes in, no-one gets off. Then suddenly these black Mercedes (arrive), four of em, band member out of each with a security guard, running up to the stage and the security is like that (arms crossed) guarding them and it’s like: we’re not gonna mob Green Day are we?!
They announced on their first song “we’ve only got an hour slot but don’t worry, we’re going into overtime.” And they went on for forty minutes over schedule so we didn’t even get a linecheck. We just had to run on with the gear and play and we had to cut a song. But even two bands after us were cutting songs aswell. And the
security had tried to take ‘em off stage. Not grabbing em but saying “come on,
you’ve got to go” and they were like No! No! And then Green Day’s security took
security away! Marched em off! It was funny. It was a surreal experience, but
Rhubarb Bomb: It seems like the stuff you are writing about in the lyrics are a bit different to the usual Indie stuff, is there any particular approach you have?
James: The lyrics come from me. Musically it comes from the band. I sorta write a scrappy demo, some chords, maybe a lead line. But lyrics are the thing that really interests me. I mean the music too, but I trust the band to do that, because between the three of them, they’re so fucking smart, they get that sound and I just wanna write the lyrics. I have a lot of time for lyrics in songs and I put a lot of time into mine. Early on in a band’s career and especially live people tend not to pick up on it as much. I don’t like to write about myself and how it feels, I like to write about bigger things and a general consensus on them. So rather than writing a political song and trying to change the world, you can write a song that is political but is just saying what’s happening, you’re not saying what’s right and what’s wrong or what you can do or what you can’t do. Coz that’s preaching and no-one wants to do that. I think subject matter in songs is so boring to what it can be for a lot of bands. And you don’t need to be self centred and write about yourself, you can still get your personality across. Did you know the EP was a concept?
Rhubarb Bomb: I got an impression of it…
James: I like it all to be quite abstract. tBut here is an underlying theme. But the (in progress) album is a concept about a Russian delivery driver who delivers a message to me, in Meanwood. I don’t wanna give too much away actually. It’s not telling a story about him tootling along in his van like, there’s just pocketed lyrics that have been placed there. Whilst he’s driving this van he’s got this turbulent relationship with his family. It’s just about cycles. No matter how much anything means anything, things keep on turning. It’s not like Yes doing Nights Of The Round Table or anything, its really subtle.
Rhubarb Bomb: And what point do you present that to the band? And do they just go ‘Ok’?
James: (laughs) Sometimes they say no. Sometimes they draw the line on me. It was about a month ago we discussed that, coz we had about 5 or 6 tracks written and I could sorta work out from the subject matter where it was going. Like, we’ve got this song, Service Station Blues, which is about this trucker that almost has sex with an underage prostitute and… this is the thing right, everyone thinks we are trying to be really dark and that but its just something to write about! We’re not going out and doing… that! So that’s become sort of the centrepiece of the album. For me its really important that a record flows. I think we are planning for this album to release separate singles and then the album. So they aren’t within the confined album. I love albums! I like good albums and that’s what I want to get out of it. So it’s not Yes… it’s…. what’s a good example of a concept that‘s not a concept?
Rhubarb Bomb: Well SGT Peppers is but it isn’t…
James: Yeah, we are writing Sgt Peppers 2.0. It doesn’t dwell on that. But I’ve changed certain lyrics in songs so they relate. So there’s a line that mentions, in passing, the fisherman from the Tragic Loss EP. It’s just one line and you wouldn’t even clock it unless I’ve sat here and told you that at 38 seconds you’ll hear it. But that’s just fun for me, puzzles of my own that no-one is listening to.
Rhubarb Bomb: I did wanna ask you about Sturdy Records. Is there only so far that label can take you, how is that relationship going to develop?
James: We’ve been completely honest with (Mark) Sturdy since things picked up and we’ve had this attention. And a couple of labels have been in touch but I don’t even wanna acknowledge it until… they lay a contract down on the table, and it works in our favour artistically. I wouldn’t even be interested. But we’ve said to Sturdy, we wanna keep releasing. We’re not gonna be waiting around for something to happen, we’re gonna keep on at our quite fast pace and keep doing it. Sturdy has been amazing, he’s just a music nerd, but he’s a hero. He’s brilliant in everyway, such a smart man. It’s just nice to have someone to do the numbers. I’ve sort of learned from him about the workings of a very small independent label. And maybe one day if I find a band I’ll start a label and help them out.
The main reason I wanted to do it with him was that he came up to us after our first gig he came up to us and said he’d like to do something. And after 5 or 6 gigs he kept coming up. And then the main reason for me was The Wind Up Birds. I wanna be on the same label as The Wind Up Birds, which means nothing to 99% of people in the world, but I think they are the best band in the country. And that’s a bold statement to make but if you want subject matter in your lyrics, they are the band. And they write these beltin’ little pop songs. And the fact Sturdy was persistent. And there was no pretence. And I love the man to pieces. And he’ll turn round and say we are shit if we are shit. And you need that!