By Andrea WarnerWhen you were touring with We Started Nothing, you were on the road a lot and you hit a wall pretty hard at the end of 2009. Did that influence how you began writing Nowheresville? Yeah, I do think we're quite an organic band. Anything we write has to be real ― ah, that sounds weird, but it's very difficult for us to sit down in a studio and be like, "Let's write a song! You go on piano, I'll go on guitar." It doesn't work like that with us. We have to be spontaneous, we have to be influenced. Just like when I was in college doing fine art, you can't think, "Oh, I have to paint a picture." Where I studied, you aren't tested by having to paint a picture in 25 minutes, It's not that kind of degree. The whole concept of studying fine art was finding out about artists and styles and fabrics and textures and formats and experimenting with them. Your grade is basically determined over the course of the year or two, depending on what you're doing, your commitment to art, your portfolio. And Katie's very much the same. Neither of us can actually wake up in the morning and say, "Okay, we need to get to work." We're blessed. As much as this is really finicky, hard work, being on tour, it takes its toll, we don't treat it like a job. If we did, we couldn't be creative. Each day something drives us to write a new song, to play the guitar differently and to try something new with the audience that night and to want people to feel that energy. If we don't have that when we perform or when we write, than we can't write. Our tour manager says to us each day, "You're the weirdest band I ever worked with. You get so much done and yet you don't have a schedule!" We don't have a piece of paper up on the wall telling us where we need to be. Imagine as artists that you had ten notes that you have be here, you have to be here, you'd never write! You'd never feel the freedom to be creative! So as much as we do interviews and stuff like that, phoners, that's great. If I'm writing a song and have to put the guitar down, that's great, you're going to get a better interview out of me and Katie than if we're sitting at a table with 20 phoners, one after the back of each other.
Obviously everyone asks about scrapping six of the ten original recordings. Did you feel that was about crafting something more creatively true to you guys or were in a bit of self destructive phase? Umm, I don't know. At the time we were getting a bit frustrated about the position that we found ourselves in. People have to appreciate that the first record was ― once you sell a couple million albums and you have so many singles and we toured for two years with audiences going crazy ― the problem is that your record company and everyone you work with multiplies. It's no longer just us two in the studio. Suddenly you have 25 people who seem to know you better than you do. (Laughs) It's just part of the process and we love and adore a lot of the people we work with, but unfortunately, it's really hard to tell people, "This is what we do and this is the way we do it. We don't need limousines. I've got my own studio with Katie. This is the way we work. It's shambles and it's chaotic and it's crazy, but this is the way we work. I'm sorry to say, but no." And they don't like that. Nobody likes being told, "No."
We left the U.K. because we couldn't deal with explaining to people what kind of record we were making. We just couldn't. We shouldn't have to explain the record. Why do we have to tell anybody what song we're recording today? It was just bizarre. We never did that with the first record. We just wanted to create music and we wanted to do that again. When we went to Berlin, it was the first real move we made to, well, I wouldn't say escape, but to get some distance. We couldn't stay in Manchester anymore because things had changed and that's really sad, but when we got to Berlin, we felt free and liberated. There were still record companies and management at your heels and flying in and taking you to dinner and loving you, and again, they're beautiful and lovely people, but at the end of the day it's about finances and selling records for them and nothing else. Nothing else counts. And for us it's about being creative. There's a slight difference between selling records and being creative. If we can sell records because we've been creative, then that's an amazing situation. If we're selling records without being creative, then we're in a problem zone and that is we're doing music we don't want to do. The tour's finished, the band's finished, our career's over even with hits. It means we're going to start arguing and doing songs we can't perform live because they've been produced in a studio with writers and producers that just have a hit, so we had to get over that stumbling block. The only only way we could do that was the way we work. We listened to the songs that we had and everyone was going crazy, like they'll be our biggest hits for radio and everyone's going to love them because it's, like, dance music that everyone is going crazy about. We just laughed. We looked at each other and said, "It's not what we do." We're just not into having to make music in this way, so we erased it. That's what we do. When we make decisions like that about pressing the button, that's me and Katie at our best. We can live and die by the sword and we're not ashamed or frightened at all. We're on the bus going across the States, we have luxuries, but it's chaotic and we rock every night and that's how we like it.