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Band vs Band: Bruising and Los Campesinos!

We’ve got a lot on in the brand new Upset bunker at the moment. Stuff to write, shelves to put up, things to drill into other things – so much, so boring. That means we need a hand interviewing our favourite bands. ‘Why not cut out the middle man’, we thought. ‘Get them to do it themselves.’

So, that’s exactly what we’ve done. The latest edition of Band vs Band features Leeds’ Bruising and Cardiff’s Los Campesinos!, who head out on the Old n Gross Tour this evening. Right now, they’re interviewing each other for your reading pleasure. What could possibly go wrong?

Los Campesinos!
Gareth answers questions from Bruising

First off I feel I should note how surreal this is for me, LC were a majorly important band for me in my late teens and I was definitely a mega fan, so much so that I have an LC tattoo… something I feel you should know before tour…
Haha, I had no idea of that, though it might explain why I’d seen some ribbing from MJ (Hookworms) in your direction about “tour tattoos”. My main reaction to that is one of guilt. Things like that get a much different reaction these days, than they did a few years ago. It’s sort of…validation now. Obviously I want to know what the tattoo is, but I’m going to save that awkward question for when we’re face to face.

Something I’ve noticed is that with your fans are super hardcore and dedicated, whenever you mention something on twitter there seems to always be a massive response, how does that feel? To have such a cultish following, so much so that people get tattoos of your band?
Yeh, our fans aren’t particularly great in number (compared to most bands who’ve been knocking around as long as us) but those that do like us really seem to like us. Some times it can be overwhelming, but in a totally positive way. There’s a lot of people come to our shows who have been doing so since 2008 or even earlier, and to have grown up with them, catching up every 6 months, has been a real gift. We all work boring day jobs these days, which makes us appreciate it more than we ever have. On the other hand, every tour we do the front row is still a line of 15 year old kids, excitedly watching us live for the first time, and that’s a great feeling.
Perhaps more amusingly, there’s a small handful of people who were MASSIVE fans as a teen when we started out, and have since become embarrassed by their fandom and turned that into uncontrollable hatred, particularly of me.
We’ve always attempted to ensure there’s no barrier between us and our fans. Tried to make sure we’re approachable and that there’s no hierarchy between those on the stage and those off it, and we’ve been lucky to make some brilliant, lasting friendships from this.

What have been your biggest influences (musically) starting out through to now? I remember your myspace (yep) page saying Pavement and Deerhoof as influences and I should probably credit some of my love for those bands to that.
One of the best things, back in those days, was being able to be vocal about bands we loved and fans of ours getting into those bands as a result. Pavement was the massive one that united us all at the beginning. Deerhoof was never particularly one of mine, but Tom was a big fan. Bands like Sonic Youth and then things very much of that time, like the Decemberists, the Shins, loads of American bands that were poppy but kind of arch, or that we perceived to be kind of arch.
I find it really hard to pinpoint influences by now. I feel like, as a lyricist, I know what I want to do and what areas I want to occupy thematically, or perhaps what I’m even capable of doing, and so rather than being influenced by others I am just trying to perfect what it is that I consider myself to be good at. Anyone who’s ever read an LC! interview before likely knows how much of a Beautiful South fan I am. After that it’s people like Nick Cave, Why?, Half Man Half Biscuit.

You’re a football fan, I’m a football fan. What’s your earliest memories of being a fan? I remember going to a SheffieldWednesday (I’m Sheff Utd, my dad and brother are Wednesday) Vs Tottenham match when I was about 6 and being terrified and pretty traumatised by the whole thing. Not sure I’d ever seen people be so passionate about anything until that point.
I am indeed a football fan. My earliest memories of football are watching my team, the mighty Welton Rovers week in week out of a Saturday afternoon, while mostly playing football with mates on an adjacent pitch. We were far more interested in playing than watching, and the only thing that could really pique our interest was a penalty or a red card. My first memory of Premier League football is a lot later than I would expect it to be. I recall kicking around with a football in my back garden with my Dad as the last day of the 1994/95 Premier League season unfolded.
I’m really happy you’re a football fan. Most bands who knock around aren’t.

Favourite band you’ve ever toured with?
Parenthetical Girls. The first tour we did with them massively changed me as a person, and I really do think they’re one of the greatest bands of all time

Favourite venue to play?
Brudenell is one of them, for sure. And the Metro in Chicago. We seem to be bigger in Chicago than anywhere else in the world, and whenever we play there we end up signing autographs after the show for hours and then get drinks bought for us all night at the bar next door, while playing pool.

Favourite service station?
Not that one on the way to Scotland that everybody goes on and on about. Give me a Moto any day. (NB. The real answer to this is Leicester Forest East, Ben).

Best van reading/watching/listening?
One US Tour we did, the van had an X-Box and a copy of Tiger Woods golf. None of us are golf fans but competing against each other on that was maybe the closest we’ve ever come to breaking up. Probably Blink 182 singalongs in the van.

Ben answers questions from Los Campesinos!

The “they met because he was wearing a Perfect Pussy t-shirt” anecdote is obviously going to feature in your band’s biog for a while, whether you like it or not. Did you do any outfit changes prior to going out that night? Was it a sliding doors moment where a sartorial change could have stopped yourself and Naomi from meeting, or would you have crossed paths sooner or later anyway?
Well, I’m a larger fella, I like to wear black t-shirts, nice and slimming, this one is a white t-shirt so the thought process was either ‘I’m out of black shirts’ or ‘I want to wear a “cool” band shirt’, both are really great stories! We met at The Cockpit (RIP) where I was working at the time so I imagine our paths would’ve crossed at some point, but we may never have known about each others music tastes, so it is pretty serendipitous I guess. Pretty glad I wore it! I now don’t know where it is, I have a pile of unwashed white t-shirts, probably some real gems in there, just never enough to constitute a full wash.

By day, Ben, you work in live music promotions. You are the guy that tells bands they drank their allocated amount of beer and can’t have any more. You are the man that knows the wi-fi password. Which of these traits do you take with you when you’re out on tour? Are you a killjoy, or the man with the answers?
Aha, I’ve now graduated to being the guy who tells they guy how much beer he is allowed to give the band. Moving up in the world. I’m definitely tour dad, I’m the one who drives and knows where we’re going most of the time so I guess I carry across the organisational part of that? I’d like to think I’m not a killjoy but you’d have to ask the others, I’m always fair with the car stereo and if anything am probably the one most likely to want to stay out a bit longer (cool guy). This tour is the first where I think I won’t be driving so we will see what happens there!

Bruising is a really good band name. Ours is terrible. What was the closest you came to a different name before settling with this really good one?
I’m not sure how we came up with Bruising actually. I know that I had wanted to call a band Cruising but then thought it sounded a bit too suggestive, so it might have been a bastardisation of that. I was very close to starting a band called ‘Royal Male’ at one point, I like the wordplay, but that’s probably a reasonably problematic name so best avoided. The first band I ever played in was called The Speakeasy, I played drums, we were 16 and sounded like Arctic Monkeys, you don’t get much better than that!

What’s the best thing to do when playing live a song that fades out on record? No, seriously how are you meant to deal with that?
Obviously everybody gradually play quieter and quieter until the song is no more. Alternatively I’d go for a nice half time final repeat of whatever the refrain is then let it ring out, New Found Glory style.

Item of backline/gear you try to avoid loading out?
We have barely any backline to be honest, but I used to play with Menace Beach and would always avoid the bass cab, never the bass cab.

Worst etiquette from a band you’ve shared a bill with? (gonna consider the answer to this one as a gauntlet being laid down)
We usually drink everyone’s beers and eat their humous so we’re the ones with bad etiquette, enjoy that. We once played a show with a band where the guitarist told me our set was great when we hadn’t even played yet, at least he was trying to be nice.

Naomi asks for a “bag of crisps and a bottle of pop” from the garage when you nip in to pay for petrol… what do you get her?
Naomi loves her crisps so this is a very good question, I’d go for a standard Walker’s Cheese and Onion or a nice posh bag of kettle chips. Full fat coke all the way, or a Dr Pepper.

One song you always DJ that always seems to kill the vibe.
I like to intentionally kill the vibe, don’t want people getting too carried away. There’s nothing like playing Elliott Smith at 1amto a bunch of teenagers partying to Destiny’s Child.

Bruising’s new single ‘Emo Friends’ / ‘Honey’ will be released on 20th November. The Old n Gross Tour will visit: Bristol Exchange (18th November), Glasgow Stereo (19th), Leeds Brudenell Social Club (20th), Brighton Hope & Ruin (21st), London Scala (22nd).