Interview: Great British Weather
Originally published in the Nottingham Post.
It might still be early days for Great British Weather – recently described, and with good reason, as “Nottingham’s best kept secret” – but the band’s seventeen year-old singer Andrew Tucker already has the air of a natural front man. Armed with a sharp haircut, a good leather jacket and a ready wit, he takes to being interviewed like a duck to water.
Sitting beside him, bassist Lewis Belle offers a gentler, more grounded presence. “You’re more reserved, aren’t you”, Andrew muses. “You’re the cool bass player; you’re redefining the stereotype. But when you do speak, it’s useful. It’s just measured.”
“I don’t want to come out with reams of bullshit”, says Lewis. It’s kindly meant.
Andrew considers the personalities of the other two members of the band: Tom the guitarist and the other Tom, who drums. Tom the guitarist is “a man of extremes. His feelings will spike and dip all over the place. He’ll either really love something, or he’ll just go: no, don’t want to do it.”
As for Tom the drummer, “He’s very assertive. It’s not a flaw. But whereas Lewis and I try to be a bit more diplomatic, [Tom and Tom] speak their emotions.”
It’s a combination which seems to be working. With each band member bringing different influences to the table, Great British Weather have forged a sound which is distinctly their own, fusing post-punk, math-rock and psychedelia with chiming guitar runs, funky basslines and inventive drumming which occasionally nods towards hip hop.
“I still like that angular stuff, like Gang Of Four, A Certain Ratio and Orange Juice” says Andrew. “In terms of lyrics, I like good songwriters like Morrissey and Elvis Costello. My dad used to be in the folk scene, but I’ve not really inherited that. I think I’ve gone away from that totally. But I listen to a bit of Bob Dylan.”
When you’re in your teens, getting some distance from your parents is all part of the process. To this end, Great British Weather have recently graduated from the Tucker family living room to a dedicated rehearsal space, above The Maze on Mansfield Road. “You don’t feel like an edgy band when your mum’s making meatballs”, says Andrew. “That’s not a complaint, by any means”, he adds, with telling haste.
As for the new space, “It’s a sick little place. We’ve got fairy lights on the ceiling, and there’s a spotlight with multi-colours. So we turn the main lights off and get a bit of an atmosphere going. You can see the lights from your pedals, and you go into a little trance.”
Although an EP was recorded in the band’s early days, almost two years ago, Andrew would rather it was forgotten about. “We listened to it in the car on the way back, and I thought: if this cropped up on the radio, I would turn it off. And you shouldn’t think that about your own music.”
“You should be your own favourite band”, agrees Lewis. “So please get rid of it now!”
Work has already begun on a new EP, with two tracks recorded at Confetti studios. It’s evidence of the band’s renewed focus, after a fairly quiet 2012. Their most recent gig, at the Dot To Dot Festival, became one of the talking points of the day, and expectations are running high for next Tuesday’s gig at the Rescue Rooms, supporting OneGirlOneBoy.
Talk turns to Andrew’s lyrics. He doesn’t discuss them much with the rest of the band – “I try to ignore them myself”, says Lewis – but he acknowledges that this can cause confusion. Take their latest track, for instance.
“We’ve just written a song that’s currently named Phil Taylor. Even though it’s a criticism of organised religion, it’s named after a darts player. So there’s been a bit of a miscommunication.”
“It does sound more like a darts song”, Lewis mutters.
The band’s current set closer is a powerful track, centred round a chanted refrain: “I wish I was alive in the space age”. There’s less room for confusion here, as Andrew explains.
“If I was being pretentious – and I will be, because I never miss an opportunity – I was watching some old videos at college, from the Fifties and Sixties, showing what they thought the world was going to be like in the 21st century: oh, we’ll be living on the moon. So it’s a nostalgia for a future that was promised, but never happened. We’ve got smartphones, and we were promised jetpacks. Larger than that, it’s disenchantment with everyday mundane life. There you go: pretention over, I’m done. It’s a tune. What more does it matter?”