Gigwise begins the countdown to this year's Get Loaded In The Park festival in London with an exclusive interview with British Sea Power.
Here frontman Jan Scott Wilkinson, better known as Yan, talks us through their festival preparations, the band's longevity and where he sees himself being in ten years time.
Given the cycle of hype, stagnation and collapse that many new bands seem to suffer, it seems British Sea Power have had one of the most stable musical careers of recent years. Does it surprise you to see so many bands come and go so quickly?
“Not really. Music especially pop has always been somewhat disposable. We’ve always been interested in the long game though. I guess we just don’t feel like we’re done yet. We’re still getting better.”
Despite the epic nature of your sound you’re often thought of as a lyrical band, attached to a certain politics. On your new album you (perhaps flippantly) wish for a world were protesting is seen as sexy. Do you reckon music has a role to play in increasing political participation?
“We take full responsibility for the short lived student protests and also the arab spring, its amazing how powerful the sex tag is. I mean gardening was sexy for a bit, then cooking, and even bloody well buying a house had a go. Thought we may as well give protesting a go to. In reality I do like it when music interacts a little with the brain as well as the feelings.”
Your using four guitars in the line up at the moment. Is Glenn Branca an influence at all? Would you consider a guitar orchestra project?
“It's not really necessary. One of the four is a bass. You don’t really need more than two really is my opinion. But we let Phil have a go because it makes him very excited and happy and he is a good lad.”
British Sea Power have a reputation for playing in unusual places. How does playing festivals compare?
“I like festivals. We don’t go out of our way to play 'unusual' places. We get interested by beautiful, special and meaningful places. I like straight forward gigs too. In fact we just like playing. I suppose Jodrell Bank would be considered unusual but we’re playing there 'cause we get to beam messages into space and radio satellite dishes are cool.”
Your going to be playing Jodrell Bank soon. If you could have any of your songs beamed into space and listened to by aliens what would you pick?
“Something friendly I guess. Never know who you might piss off. An early rare one called 'Heavenly Waters'.”
You recently celebrated the ten year anniversary of your first single being released. What do you think the biggest change affecting British Sea Power has been in that time?
“Losing Eamon and finding Phil and Abi.”
You marked the above mentioned anniversary by playing a string of intimate gigs. Do you find it easier to feed off the energy of a small room, or a huge festival audience, such as at Get Loaded?
“It s probably easier in a small room. People buy you drinks while you play. I find big ones more exciting though. More of a challenge with greater possibility. I like the sound of big crowds singing too.”
At the risk of sounding like a job interview, where do you see yourself being in another ten years time?
“I ll probably f*ck off to Bulgaria or Jamaica or something. Either that or homeless.”
Where would you like to play that you haven’t been able to yet?
Your last album 'Valhalla Dancehall' has a certain transcendental feel to it. How would you spend the after life given the choice?
“An eternal massive piss up with my friends I guess. Drinking, singing and playing games and plenty of fresh air. It’d be similar to life without any responsibility. Or flying at huge speed around the galaxy.”
Get Loaded In The Park takes place at Clapham Common on June 12 and will be headlined by Razorlight. The festival will also feature a Gigwise Arena headlined by Darwin Deez.
For more information, check out the Gigwise Festival Guide.