Friday, 24 July 2015

An Interview with Peasant's King guitarist Josh Bowles

We have been covering Peasant's King a lot lately. The Welsh indie band are gearing up for the release of their debut album and have just released their catchy (like ridiculously catchy) single 'Give A Little Love'. They are basically doing awesome things at the moment and we love it so we caught up with guitarist Josh Bowles to get a bit of background on the band and a run-down of what's going on.

So where did the name Peasant's King come from? Does it mean anything special to you guys?

Well we actually had an EP and a show ready before we even had a band name, so we had to come up with something to mark our place on the gig poster! A few shocking names were thrown around, including ‘L’Escargot’ at one point, which we didn’t choose thank God! Dan had been watching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves so that’s basically where it originated from.

The new video single for 'Give A Little Love' has just been released. How does it feel to be able to release a single that has such a personal meaning?

Our singer Dan is probably better at explaining this as the whole album is based around the life experiences of his Grandfather, and how it parallels his life too, so it’s very personal to him lyrically. ’Give A Little Love’ is the story of a man looking back to being a young boy at school. He has no idea of what love is or what it means. The lyrics follow him around the school yard where he falls in love for the first time but again, he’s ‘too young to realise’ what’s going on. I think being able to release a record with such a personal and creative concept could hopefully create a good first impression for the album overall, big songs with honest meaning.

What goes into your songwriting process? And did you do anything different for the new album? 

With the majority of the album, one of us would come to the rest of the band with an idea of some sort - whether that be our singer Dan with a basic song idea or myself with a riff for instance - before trying to build up each song as a band. We try to get a bit of everyone’s influences across in the music which can take its time because of how eclectic our individual influences are, but it’s what makes our sound.

We did experiment a bit more this time with string parts in a few of the songs. We worked with Andrew Walters from the Vulcan String Quartet to arrange parts for the album who was amazing to work with. We actually had a quintet on the album in the end and the double bass player was actually my old guitar teacher, that was pretty bizarre! We normally write pretty big sounding, upbeat songs but we also brought it right down for some of the tracks; there’s one with just piano and vocals which is the most simply arranged track we’ve ever done.

At what point did you decide it was time to release an album?

After releasing our first two EPs, we felt we really needed to push ourselves and strive for our debut album. Soon after recording our second EP ‘Four Walls Are Home’ in 2013, we began writing a lot as a band, particularly over the summer, and it just felt right to go for an album because of how much we were writing.

How did the songs on the upcoming album come together?

Just before we got fully into writing the album, Dan was noticing a lot of similarities between his life and his grandfather’s, even though he had sadly passed away before he was born. So from this a concept was made for the album where all of the stories would follow the journey of a man around the 1940s, starting from a child and then progress through his life with his family, friends, relationships and other ventures. Once this idea was decided on, the majority of the songs came together pretty naturally.

What do you hope to achieve with the album? What's the plan leading up to and after its release?

We really want to show people how ambitious we are sonically as a band with this album. We’ve worked with so many people over the course of this album - from our producer Todd Campbell who’s produced everything we’ve done so far, to mixing with Clint Murphy and Greg Haver who’s worked with the likes of the Manics - so we think that just the amount of people we’ve worked with on the album shows how much we and these people believe in this as well. We hope to tour and promote ourselves a lot more in the run up to the album’s release; we’ve already got some plans in the pipeline ready to be announced in the next few months which is really exciting for us!

So you guys are part of the BBC Wales Horizons Programme. For those who have no idea, what is it and what is your involvement in it?

The Horizons scheme is a partnership between BBC Wales and the Wales Arts Council. It’s into its second year now but each year its main purpose is to promote twelve Welsh artists through a number of different opportunities, including major festival spots, radio play, etc. They also help out other artists outside of the main twelve which all helps to push the Welsh music scene, not only in Wales but throughout the UK and even globally sometimes. It’s a great thing for us to be a part of as it gives us more chances for people to hear our music!

If you had to describe your band to someone who hadn't heard of you, what would you say?

We’ve settled on a term of ‘indie-soul’ to describe our music but the album definitely encompasses a lot more of our wider influences. Big rock sounds similar to people like Biffy Clyro and even Thin Lizzy can definitely be heard but more subdued influences from the like of Explosions In The Sky can also be heard on some of the songs.

Finally, if your band was a plate of food/meal, what would it be?

It would probably be some weird blend of foods that really just shouldn’t work but somehow does in some freaky way, that’s kind of how we work as individuals in a band. Something like ice cream and anchovies with a topping of ketchup.


So there it is! The guys have been working hard and you will understand why when the album is finally released. Until then, get your ears around the newest single to get a solid idea of why to be excited.

Facebook: /peasantsking
Twitter: @peasantsking

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