Thursday, September 20, 2018

"It was a really fun time"

It's hard to believe, personally speaking, that Los Campesinos!'s first two records - Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed - are now a decade old. While the band - or at least frontman Gareth - disowned the former for years, they're now reissuing them to mark the anniversary.

Reading Stereogum's recent interview with Gareth looking back on those early days, it struck me that - despite having been there almost from the beginning, including at the 2006 Broken Social Scene gig that proved so critical to their subsequent career - I didn't really know much about the circumstances of their formation. However, you could have guessed that Gareth and bassist Neil might have bonded over a mutual love of Sonic Youth, Pavement, Weezer and Dinosaur Jr and that Neil and guitarist Tom "met at a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah gig because Tom overheard Neil talking about the Decemberists". Given this, their love of ATP and the fact that they blew up online through MySpace, they really were the archetypal mid-Noughties indie band (apart from not hailing from Brooklyn).

Gareth remains critical of Hold On Now, Youngster - "a lot of that record was me reacting to what I thought people wanted the band to be, rather than what we wanted it to be" - but, pleasingly, admits to being able to take more enjoyment from listening to it now than he has been able to since it was released. He had (and perhaps even actively cultivated) an indier-than-thou image that rubbed some people up the wrong way, so it's to his credit that, with the benefit of perspective, he can recognise and laugh at himself for having been "far too smug and self-aggrandising for my own good".

The interview also reminded me of the Shred Yr Face tour that Los Campesinos! embarked on in 2008, which gave me my first ever glimpse of No Age. Chuck Times New Viking into the mix too and you had a superb bill that was well worth the schoolnight trip to London.

It's great to note that they're off to North America to tour in support of the reissues, given that not so long ago Gareth was fearing they may never get to go again, on account of economics and logistics. Here's to the next ten years - and to hoping that they can last until then without losing any more original members...

(Thanks to Ian for the link.)

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