Alter The Press!


Interview: Stagecoach

With the recent release of 'Crash My Ride', their third release on Alcopop Records which delivers some of the most eccentric, energetic junk pop you'll hear this year. Alter The Press spoke to grunge-tinged country rockers Stagecoach to discuss the EP, their forthcoming appearance on the BBC Introducing stage at Leeds and Reading, working with producer James Kenosha and more.

Since their formation the five-piece have gone on to play shows with the likes of Phoenix, Frightened Rabbit and Kevin Devine, have their music included on popular TV show, Skins and have received national radio airplay including BBC Radio One and XFM.

Alter The Press: For the readers who perhaps aren’t too familiar with you, could you describe the band and your sound?
Stagecoach: The band's a sort of frankenstein of instruments and influences. If you like pop, metal and folk all being played at the same time on a record which is also being played at the wrong speed you might dig us. Also our guitar player looks a bit like frankenstein which adds to that overall monstrous impression.

ATP: Are you pleased with the reception the '‘Crash My Ride' EP has received?
Stagecoach: No doubt, we’ve been totally surprised by the reviews. The songs are pretty schizophrenic so it could’ve bombed. We love that people are excited by what we’re doing and also confused by it in equal measures. I don’t think we’re too easy to pigeonhole.

ATP: How did you end up working with James Kenosha for the recording of the EP?
Stagecoach: While we were touring our last EP ‘We Got Tazers’ we had a load of compilations in the car and one of them had a song by Dinosaur Pile-Up on it. We all agreed that it sounded great. Another of the tracks was by Pulled Apart By Horses and we loved that too. When we found out the same dude recorded both of them, we simply made it our mission to hunt that handsome bastard down.

ATP: Do you feel it was important to get someone so skilled and experienced involved to help you develop as a band in the studio?
Stagecoach: We’ve co-produced everything we’ve ever done and have our own very definite ideas about how we like things to sound. Luckily James came at it from totally the same place, and knew how to get the best performances out of us. We were amazed by how many of the same bands he was into as us. We were on the same page without even thinking about it. The result was one big happy team (including Heidi the studio bear/dog). James certainly knew how to make us sound beefy, which is what we were hoping he’d bring to the party (along with frozen pizza’s)

ATP: How would you describe the EP to people who perhaps haven’t heard any of your previous releases, and how does it differ from your previous three releases?
Stagecoach: I think of it like a seafood platter. There's all sorts of flavours and textures juiced up in that there platter. There’s something to suit everyone’s palette, unless they don't like fish, which sadly is the case with some people, including our bass player John. I guess our previous records don’t have the same variety as ‘Crash My Ride’. I still love a lot of those older songs but the current EP feels most representative of us as a live band and also the shape of things to come.

ATP: What kind of writing process do you go through to produce such "eccentric and frivolous tunes"?
Stagecoach: We often gather a load of the best riffs, lyrics and ideas from half-written songs and patch them together to create some kind of mutant. Then we hammer the mutant with big pop hooks and shouty vocals until it's dead. Sometimes we get stuck and grumpy, so to relieve the tension we go to the corner shop and buy 3 for £1 cans of Dandelion and Burdock.

ATP: This is your third EP release on Alcopop records, how did you manage to hook up with the label?
Stagecoach: I sent them a home recorded EP ages ago and they liked it. I guess they kept an eye on what we were up to in the following year. We were always keen on Alcopop! as their previous releases were strong. Then we met Jack the label boss and discovered he is like a small and excited child trapped in the body of a terrible booze drenched Viking. How could we not join forces with a monster like that?

ATP: You’re going to be at Reading and Leeds on the BBC Introducing stage, how did this come about?
Stagecoach: It happened through a series of strange events, Huw Stephens (BBC Radio One DJ) somehow saw us at an improbable gig in a barbershop at the Great Escape. I doubt he’d heard of us before, but he loved it and started playing our record, the next thing we knew he'd booked us for the Introducing stage. We haven't met Huw yet, but we love him, and intend to shower him with handjobs at Reading and Leeds.

ATP: Having a summer filled with festivals must be a great feeling. Which are you most looking forward to playing?
Stagecoach: Reading and Leeds are obviously exciting as they're the biggest of the lot, but I’m also very excited about End of the Road. I’ve not been before but I hear they have amazing cider, table tennis and Wilco are playing. That sounds like a stone cold good time to me.

ATP: You have supported the likes of Phoenix, Kevin Devine and Frightened Rabbit, how did you find the reception at shows from their fans?
Stagecoach: We sit nicely with fans of any of those bands, so we had a very welcome reception at all those shows. It's been great to meet a few of our favourite musicians and play shows with them. I hear Kevin Devine particularly enjoyed his midnight Dylan singalong with Tom our mandolin player who drunkenly hijacked KD's guitar. By 'enjoyed' I mean he was terrified.

ATP: Your four EPs in now, is there any chance we could be expecting an album in the near future?
Stagecoach: We’re hoping to begin the album this year. I have an idea for it being a concept album about a metal guitar child prodigy called B.C Rich who loses his fingers in a kiting accident. It’s like The Wizard meets Robocop, I should probably pitch it as a movie. It could just end up as a novel though, we’ll see.

ATP: What are your tour plans after the festival season ends?
Stagecoach: It looks like we’ll be touring in November with a band we’re huge fans of, but we’ll see. There’ll definitely be at least one more tour this year and a load of club shows around the country.

ATP: Thanks for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Stagecoach: Support your local record store! There’s not many left now which makes me sad. Word to Banquet, probably the best shop in the UK.

'Crash My Ride' EP by Stagecoach is available now on Alcopop Records.

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Connor O'Brien

Alter The Press!