Interview With... The Family Rain

Having been a fan of The Family Rain for just over 18 months now and their popularity increasing day by day recently, I sat down with the bath-born band at a bar in Camden to discuss the last year and a half of their career and everything in between.

So, you're playing Dingwalls tonight which is essentially a gateway for new artists and Foo Fighters and Coldplay have played here too. Does that make you feel more excited or does that stuff not matter as much?

Oh really? We didn't know that! To us, obviously, those kind of things are great but we always try and give the same performance wherever we are. Hopefully it will add something to it though. Maybe it's a sign of things to come.

You played Bath last night (11.06) and lots of other big important venues, does that put pressure on you or is it a situation it getting you more pumped up to play?

It's actually all dependent, like we have learnt on this tour that you can really never read a city before you get there. All the cities that we thought were going to be the quietest have actually been the loudest. The main difference is that if you go out and the crowd is on your side then you are instantly at ease and everything else becomes easy. If you have a stiff crowd then your job becomes tougher. Obviously there's the home town one which is always going to be a bit easier because you know in the crowd are all your old mates and London ones you always get more music industry folk hanging around. We try not to let it effect us really.

On the last headline tour in November 2013, you played album material plus songs that didn't even make it on to the debut, have you been doing the same thing on this tour?

The set we have been doing is basically the album which is great because it's our first tour since the album came out so the kids know the tunes. But we've got that single [You Should Be Glad You've Got A Man] we released last week which we play and a couple more tracks from the Hunger Sauce EP. So it's the album and the EP mainly but we do have a couple of others in there as well – songs that are just kind of floating around.

In November 2012, you released Trust Me...I'm A Genius and since then you have released a debut album, several singles and EPs, 3 headline tours and a lot of record store gigs, at least 6 support slots on tours, numerous appearances at festivals and loads of unreleased material. I'd say you're one of the most hard-working bands in the UK right now, would you agree?

I don't know really, we just do what we do. When we're not doing anything, we get bored really quickly. I think it's just a way of keeping ourselves busy and luckily it interprets itself as hard work because we're definitely not, we're really lazy.

You recently announced the Hunger Sauce EP which comes out in July, that's 4 months after your debut. Did you want to release fresh material that soon or did it just happen?

The album took a year to be released after recording, which meant that we had a lot of time to write after. So the whole point of the Hunger Sauce is just us wanting to get our brand new stuff out there. We're going to try and do another two 4-tracks by the end of the summer because if we have material, we're just going to stick it out there.  

You Should Be Glad You've Got A Man is the first single from Hunger Sauce, and the pace in that picks up – was that a natural occurrence or a conscious thing because I know at the end of Under The Volcano, you're album released in February, you kind of left it wide open in terms of your sound on the closing track.

I think we were just aware that we wanted to change it slightly, sonically, so we got that little drum machine in and stuff. We were thinking if we want to do that, we just want to do a heavy, thumper tone to open that bracket. So we ended up going with that. We're happy with it and it's been going down real well on tour so that's good.

Is there already material that might make it to the second album for next year, if you decide to release one then?

Yeah, going in to this four-track EP, we had probably about 20 songs and that's from writing in January and it's better over a long period of time because you know if they're any good because you will hold on to them and then when it gets to recording, it makes the process easier of cutting tracks out and seeing which ones are shit and which ones are good.

You released Trust Me... as a single twice, what made you choose that one for re-release?

Basically, the label wanted to release it right next to the album and they said to us “would you like to do another video for it? We'll pay for it.” and we love the thing about making music videos because it just helps people understand where you're coming from, musically and visually. We just decided to have fun with it and made a mini, epic version of what our home life is like.

So you've also had an interactive music video which won an award, was that your choice to do that?

That idea actually came from a good friend of ours at the label and he had that idea. Him and the company we worked with were just looking for the right band and the right song to come along. When our friend, Charlie, put it to us during talks about marketing and it sounded like a great idea. It's becoming harder and harder to do something which nobody has done before and it was presented to us as a fresh idea, so we just thought we would go for it.

Going back to the live aspect of your job, I saw a band a few weeks ago who had someone crowd surf on to the stage and they completely stopped the show because they didn't like it. Do you enjoy that sort of stuff or does it make you nervous?

We embrace it fully. It's the maximum praise that you can have for people to be like 'I want to get on stage with them.' It's beyond cheering, that's [Stage invasions] the next thing. We take it as part of the job. It's a really good compliment. The gig we had in Leeds the other day, the last song Trust Me... could barely be heard because pedals were coming out and drums were being knocked over. It's all part of it though, them people are going to go away from the show and find it mad.

Would you say that connection between you and the audience makes you thrive during your live performances?

Yeah, definitely. For example, at the Leeds show, we could feel the energy from the crowd even before we went on. It probably shouldn't because you should just go out and do your thing but it does sort of push you even more. It makes our job easier, anyway, if people are up for it.

You mentioned earlier you might released 2 more EPs by the end of the Summer, after that will you be taking a break or do you just carry on?

We've booked a villa in Majorca for a week in August with our mates. We have one week off this year and we'll get there, turn our phones off, log out of emails and just do fuck all for a week. Then we'll just start all over again, like last time. The worst thing about that is we're all going together so we can't even get away from each other.

Do you ever want to get away from each other then?

Yeah, we try at the end of every tour. We kind of just say “for the weekend, lets just not see each other.” But some people will contact us and ask “what do you think of this poster?” or “what do you think of this idea?” so we're never switched off completely, even when you want it to be.

For the Bad Weather tour, you got to choose the t-shirt design. What made you choose that one?

We initially thought we'll get about 3 designs in and one will drawn with Biro, one will be done with some Crayola things and the other someone has pissed on it and gone “fuck you” or something like that. We actually had a massive load of entries in though. It's just overwhelming and so many of them were really good as well which we just weren't expecting. A lot of our fans have obviously got skills. We just like how much effort had gone in to it and how personal it was to the album, it wasn't an easy choice but in the end, it came down to about picking out the top 5 or so and then just choosing one at random, kind of like picking a name out of the hat. That's the only way we could do it – which is a great position to be in.

 Would you ever consider collaborating with fans on a bigger scale, like more than just a t-shirt?

Yeah, I think so. We had an idea of sending out some songs, one of our unreleased tracks, and someone to do a remix of it before it was even released. Also, we're really interested in getting an animated video but like an old hand-drawn one and thinking about putting it out there for the fans because then we've got a fan made music video, it would be nuts when it comes from a personal point of view.

Finally, about 12 months ago you told me to listen to Wolf Alice. Who are you recommending me this time?

Gengahr, definitely. They supported on 2 dates of this tour and they've just got a sweet sound. Actually, the guys who are on first tonight, Tigercub. They're our hot tips!  

Follow / [TWITTER]