Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
We’ve been good! Very busy recently with the recording and working out how to play the new songs live, but it’s been enjoyable. We both love playing music and we’ve had a little time off, so it feels great to be back.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Play Your Cards”?
Well, it’s been a long time coming! I started writing it about two years ago and realised I was on to something good, so didn’t want to rush it. I probably rewrote it about five times as I wanted it to be as good as it could be. Hopefully that shows! It’s a bit more ambitious than our previous songs.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not one specific event… I guess growing up a bit. Most of my previous work was written either in my late teens or early twenties, this one was written in my late twenties. So it’s a little bit more reflective, a little bit more mature in the thoughts and feelings conveyed. It explores the idea of being in a position where despite being older and wiser, and knowing what the mistakes look like and what the consequences could be, it’s still easy to make the wrong choices.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
I’m afraid not – we did talk over a couple of ideas but kinda ran out of time. It was going to be tricky logistically, too – we’ll be releasing more songs over the course of this year and we won’t have the time or resources to make videos for all of them, so something had to give.
The single comes off your new EP The Collector – what’s the story behind the title?
The title is a reference to a character namechecked in the single “Play Your Cards”. It’s someone we’ve all met – essentially the type of person we should never, ever fall for (though most, at some point, sadly do) – one who collects peoples’ hearts and feelings before moving on to someone new.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording was very straightforward actually – we have a studio we use regularly, Blueprint in Manchester, it’s a great little space. We know how it works, they know how we operate, so we managed to get most of the recording done in a few days. The writing was harder – apart from “The Morning After”, which is an update of a song I’ve had for a few years, the others were all written since our last EP. I wanted to ensure this was our most mature, professional work to date, so spent a lot of time revisiting and editing the tracks until I was completely happy with them.
What was it like to work with Tim Thomas and how did that relationship develop?
We’ve had a good working relationship with Blueprint for years – Tim is one of the studio’s co-owners. The guy we’d previously worked with left the studio last year as his band took off, so I contacted Blueprint and asked who they’d recommend. I sent the demos up to them and Tim got in touch saying he’d like to work with us, so it was their suggestion, really. They clearly know what they’re doing as it’s worked out very nicely indeed.
How much did he get to influence the EP?
Well, it’s a track shorter than originally planned! Tim listened to the demos of the songs we wanted to record and looked at how much studio time we’d booked and said that, to get the best out of the session, we should drop a track. So we did, which meant we had extra time to dedicate to each of the other songs. It definitely sounds much more polished so we’re glad we followed his advice. Tim’s also an absolute perfectionist with how he sets the microphones up and capturing the absolute best possible raw sounds – there’s very little “fix in the mix” going on. I think he’s captured the live sound of the instruments a bit more authentically as a result.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I find inspiration all over the place. Most of my songs tell stories – while a handful are from first-hand experience, a lot of them are either events I’ve read about or that people have told me about. Other times I’m inspired by other writers. For example, Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys writes a lot of great social commentary, particularly about nights out and drinking too much – I wanted to pen something similar, which is how the song “Desperation” came about.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’re not really that sort of band! We already played an EP preview show in Manchester’s northern quarter over the May bank holiday. We’ll definitely do some summer shows, but we don’t really tour – we’re planning to play in three or four cities around the time we release these new songs. We’ll be announcing the dates and venues shortly.
What else is happening next in Words and Noises’ world?
Oh loads! Obviously we’ve got “The Collector” to release and the summer shows to play. We’re both very busy guys, in and out of the band. I’ve taken up a little media sideline, I write loads of music and culture reviews for various publications; Simon does loads of radio work which he juggles with recently becoming a dad. So, we’re going to have a very busy few months!
1. How would you classify your music? I am a singer-songwriter in the Americana / …