MUSIC INTERVIEW: Life On The Road With…Area 11
Today marks the release of Area 11’s new album Modern Synthesis and the band hit the road later this month to celebrate. In the run up the quartet have shared their stories from the road and trust us, there are some good ones in there!
Favourite thing about touring:
Getting to do what you love for people who also get some sort of emotion out of it, whether that’s pleasure, sadness, curiosity, anger, whatever. Everyone’s affected in different ways, they all go away having had a different experience. I’d gives you a huge sense of freedom as well, it’s kind of like living on the edge of society, as strange as that sounds. It’s definitely the best thing about being in a band for me.
Least favourite thing about touring:
It’s close between the lack of sleep and the travelling, but I’ll go with sleep. Getting something like 5 or 6 hours a night, then having to get up early, get to the next place, load all the gear, do the checks, play the show, finish late, etc. It wears you down a bit over a long time. Everyone gets a bit grumpy too, ’cause they haven’t been able to have their home comforts; although I’ve claimed plenty of tiny soaps in my time, so my room’s starting to look something like a hotel.
Five essentials for the road:
– Always have water in the van, dehydration’s a real nightmare.
– Take a day off partying every now and then. It really lowers your standards after a few days of it.
– A butler. I always have my faithful servant “you there” to dab my forehead with a wet towel.
– Warm clothes. If you end up in the van at night, it can be cold no matter what time of year. Nothing worse than cold.
– Make sure you take your iPod. It’s good to get away for a second and keep yourself from brutally killing everyone (Joking! Or am I…)
Your favourite way to pass the time:
Our bassist Kogie is an incessant questioner, which always brings up light hearted discussions/highly aggressive arguments that can go on for hours, which helps. Also, the Spongebob Movie’s a good one.
The first gig we played at The Exchange in Bristol is definitely up there. I think it was our first gig in Bristol that we’d properly advertised, and we didn’t really know what to expect. But it ended up selling out! We couldn’t believe how many people were waiting outside, and how nuts they all went when we got on stage. It was the first time we’d had that sort of reaction, and just made us want it more.
We were playing in London on what was our biggest show to date, and about 20 second into the first song, I accidentally stepped on our electronics controller, which just cut everything out of the entire song. In front of all our friends and parents as well. Pretty embarrassing! And talking of embarrassing…
The last date of one of our first tours was at a venue that had a capacity of something like 800, and we knew it was WAY too big for us, considering we were playing to about 150 people maximum at that point. Especially in a city that we weren’t expecting a lot of people would buy tickets. So of course we ended up playing to this huge room to about 50 people. They gave it their all and we really appreciated that, but it was pretty embarrassing for us from a performing point of view.
I wouldn’t call it outrageous, but once after we played a gig, the promoter said he was “really impressed” with us, so he gave us some free entry cards for the strip club he owned. Naturally, as curious young men, in we went. It was a Tuesday night, and there wasn’t a single other person about. We started a conversation with one of the…staff members, that lasted for about 45 minutes or so, we bought our camera guy a lap dance, then went on our way. It was all a pretty bizarre experience. I think I’ve still got that free entry card somewhere…
On the last show of the San Tour, we played at The Corporation in Sheffield. During the show I was pretty much being bottle fed Captain Morgans by our mate. At the end of the gig I was definitely tripping over my own feet. Then after we’d played and loaded out, we went back into the venue for the club night and carried on as before. Fast forward about 5 hours later and our driver is having to pull over into a services for me to expel some of the devils I’d ingested. Sorry!
When we played at the Camden Underworld on our last tour. It was our first time playing that venue (which has such a prestige about about it) and pretty much sold out. The crowd was insane for us, and I think we even managed to get a wall of death at some point! But yeah, it was some of a watershed moment for us where we just sort of went “maybe we’re a proper band?”
Catch Area 11 on tour at one of the following dates:
Mon 4th – LONDON – Borderline
Tue 19th – LIVERPOOL – Arts Club Loft
Wed 20th – EDINBURGH – Mash House
Fri 22nd – SCARBOROUGH – Chapter 3
Sat 23rd – NEWCASTLE – Think Tank
Sun 24th – HUDDERSFIELD – The Parish
Tue 26th – TUNBRIDGE WELLS – The Forum
Wed 27th – PLYMOUTH – Underground
Thu 28th – WOLVERHAMPTON – Slade Rooms
Fri 29th – CHESTER – The Live Rooms
Sat 30th – LEICESTER – The Cookie
Modern Synthesis is out now on Cooking Vinyl, check out the band’s latest single The Contract here: