This article originally appeared on the blog at Songeist.com
Next Tuesday, September 2nd at the Sebright Arms in London we have three of the best emerging bands in the UK taking the stage; Echotape, Lion Bark and FARO music. Headliners Echotape play a distinctive, impassioned brand of indie-rock that's been electrifying crowds, and online music listeners, over the last year. With the guys dropping new single 'Whiskey Bar' this week, Barney caught up with Mike from the band to fill us in on what's been going on with Echotape and their thoughts and philosophies on their ascent.
B. Let’s get the basics out of the way. Give us a potted history of Echotape; previous bands, where you’re from and what you guys have done so far.
M. Well, we’ve all know each other since school and college days and been in bands around the area (yes, they all had dodgy band names, Donny Whistle was one of Dan’s old bands). Marc and I are brothers so we have known each other a bit longer! We all live together in our band flat in the depths of Hampshire. Echotape formed a few years ago and decided we’d just enjoy it and have fun. A couple of highlights have been playing in places like The Viper Room in Hollywood on a US tour, and Moscow Stadium in front of 8,000 people. It’s definitely fun!
B. ‘We Should Feel Like We Are In Love’ has been an emerging artist success story in terms of its online popularity and has really got a lot of eyes onto Echotape. In order to kick some knowledge down to other Songeist users, was there anything unique about your approach to publicising the track that you think helped with its success or do you feel that it was simply good tune and video = good response?
M. It’s all been completely organic. Obviously we’ve tried to promote it by setting a release and starting a promotion campaign with a tour around the single release but there’s no special technique we’ve used. We knew it was a great song but have been overwhelmed by the support it’s had. It’s easy to pick up the lyrics and relate to so I think that’s definitely helped.
B. The song also signifies a crystallisation of Echotape’s sound, with you guys bringing a passionate, heart-on-your-sleeve style of indie-rock that’s really unique. Having heard older songs by you guys that were clearly steps on the road to the quintessential Echotape sound, can you speak of this stylistic journey? How did you decide to take your sound the way it went? Was it something completely natural and unspoken or was it something you guys planned and discussed?
M. Thanks for the kind words; glad it comes across that way as that’s what we hoped. It was definitely planned, but it was a natural progression to get there. You have to have a certain sound so people can hear a track for the first time anywhere and be like ‘oh that sounds like Echotape’. Once we found the sound we all knew that was it. 'We Should Feel Like We Are In Love' has become our signature sound and with the success it had its sort of become a yardstick. When we’re writing new songs, if it’s not up to that standard it doesn’t progress. So yeah, it was all planned with how we wanted it to sound! The new single 'Whiskey Bar' is in the same vein as 'We Should Feel Like We Are In Love' so I think we definitely do have a signature sound.
B. The video for ‘We Should Feel Like We Are In Love’ is remarkable for its incorporation of live audio at the start and the way it viscerally presents the band’s live show. It gives off the DIY spirit and personality of the band the way in which a biography or review never could. Was it your idea to have the live show the theme of the video, or did you simply get the right director, at the right time?
M. We try and keep everything as real and honest as possible so decided just to throw a party, invite all our friends round and just film it. We knew we wanted to showcase the live onstage energy we have, and show everyone having a great time, without it looking staged of course. The best way for that was to just have a party. We had our friend Chris Warsop film it for us, who’s helped out with other projects we’ve done and Dan edited it. We noticed it sounded cool with the live audio at the start so tried to blend that in with the recorded audio. I think the vibe of the party comes across and it makes you want to be a part of it. Which people are more than welcome to be!
B. You guys have covered a whole smorgasbord of classic rock; Springsteen, The Small Faces, George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie songs all make appearances. In these days of Live Lounge cover culture - where bands scramble to cover the latest pop tracks in order to get online hits and, the more cynical may say, appear hip - was it a conscious decision on your part to reject this or are you simply rocking the tunes you love? How do you compare classic bands of the 60s, 70s and 80s to current bands?
M. There are a lot of acts on YouTube that cover recent songs, but it seems they do that as it’s the thing to do as it will get them more attention, so I agree totally with what you’re saying. We just wanted to have a bit of fun with it, so picked songs that we think are good and would enjoy playing.
I think it’s hard to compare bands from certain eras as it’s all subjective. There are so many great bands throughout the years that are all completely unique. Hopefully we can help fly the flag for the new generation of bands coming through.
B. Sky News did a feature on you guys, focussing on the DIY aspect of Echotape. Is the DIY culture of jump-in-a-van-and-do-it an important part of Echotape’s ethos? With stories of you guys jamming with Carl Barat, one wonders how bands like The Libertines, and the homespun London indie scene of the early noughties, influenced Echotape?
M. We’re always working and trying to do something to help promote the band. There’s so many bands out there to swim up against and if you’re not working hard you’ll just sink. It was nice for Sky News to pick up on the stuff we’re doing ourselves. There’s still a way to go but we know as long as we keep working at it we’ll get there!
It was a surreal moment playing with Carl. He had a chat to us after and was really complimentary. He’s from Whitchurch which is the town just down the road from us so we had a local connection. He wants to try and help us out too if he can so it’s great to have someone like that on your side. The Libertines are definitely an influence on us. Their shows are always like one big party, which is a vibe we try to create too.
B. You’ve got a new single ‘Whiskey Bar’ dropping this October, streaming on Songeist HERE. Can you let us know a little about the new single and your progress in terms of a full-length album? Do you have a producer on board?
M. It was all recorded in our studio here where we live. We have our friend Undy who lives here too and is our resident producer. He’s pretty much the fifth member of the band. He does the sound for all the live acoustic videos we do too. The single is out on 13th October and have been getting some great responses so far from only having it online a few days. At the time of writing it’s currently top of the indie rock chart on SoundCloud and has been trending with thousands of plays flooding in. We’re hopeful it will do well as it’s another feel-good song.
We’re currently recording and writing our new album with an expected release date early next year so look out for that. We were recording drums last week in a huge wooden shed, which was great fun!
B. What can we expect from you guys at our Songeist Showcase on September 2nd? Any naked stage invasions planned?
That invasion wasn’t planned but everyone attending is welcome to! It’s our singer Marc’s birthday that night too so we’re making it a big celebration night. We’re planning to perform a brand new track in the set too that we’re all excited about. It will definitely be a great show.
B. Did you ever find out what happens to moths when it rains?
M. Yes! We got told they have really strong wings and can deal with the rain easily. For anyone reading this, we asked the question at the start of one of the acoustic videos we did! Thanks for taking the time out to ask us some questions Songeist!
You can stream and purchase tracks by Echotape on Songeist HERE.