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Scout Beck

The Talks

Scout Beck, Editor

Firing up the music scene with their energetic mash of two tone, ska, hip hop and punk are one of Hull's most exciting exports.

Rejuvenating and thrilling with a fresh musical take and dynamic live shows The Talks have exploded onto the scene and marked themselves down as ones to watch on their impressive festival run this year.

Just back from Kendal Calling and Humber Street Sesh, the band will kick off Rebellion Fest in Blackpool tonight.

With plans for an autumn venue tour and an album to come, The Talks are only at the start of what promises to be a lively and exciting career.

We caught up with the band on a rare and brief break from performing to find out just why people are talking about The Talks.

Hi how and where are you all?

"We're all fine and dandy thank you. We're at home at the moment just recovering from the mayhem of a bunch of UK festivals.. that's until we do it all again in few days time anyway."

What is the band up to at the moment?

"Festival season is in full swing now, so we're doing the rounds up and down the UK and around Europe. We did a 14-date German club show tour in April which got us ready and warmed up nicely for festival touring. We've had some great shows so far including Nozstock, Corbridge Festival, East Summer Festival (FR), Hafengeburtstag (DE) and Kulturzentrum Faust (DE).

"This weekend we've just played Monmouth Festival, Humber Street Sesh Festival and Kendal Calling, three absolutely great festivals. Humber Street Sesh was our big home town show of the year and it was so heart warming to headline it, such a humbling feeling. That was one of the highlights of the year."

Can you tell me some of your background? How did you all get together?

"The Talks is made up from Patrick on Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Jody on Lead Guitar/Vocals, Iain on Bass and Titch on Drums. The band was originally formed by lead singer Pat and guitarist Jody who had a bunch of demo tracks that they'd recorded in Pat's tiny bedroom, with no specific intention at the time other than to see how they turned out. They saw something in it and drafted in Iain and Titch to form the rhythm section, wrote more songs and started touring."

What kind of musical backgrounds do you come from?

"Each band member really comes from quite a different musical background. We had all played in different bands of different genres before forming The Talks - Patrick and Jody coming from the more punk end of things and a few reggae bands, Iain from the Indie area and Titch had played with various Blues and Metal bands.

"As time has gone on we have obviously formed similar interests where influences are concerned when it comes to writing and even what we listen to leisurely, but we don't agree on everything, we still have our own little gems which other members just don't get."

Did you know from the start what kind of music you would play?

"No, not really, we had a rough theme and a style of song writing, but it really was just a case of bringing together our influences and trying channel them into something.

"Just thrashing it out really, we've never been ones for just sitting back and waiting for things to happen, or labouring over a bunch of songs within an inch of their life before going out and gigging them, we'd much rather let the people decide."

Why those influences? What took you in the direction of Ska?

"I wouldn't really say that we've fully dedicated the band to Ska music; it's true that a big chunk of our influences come from the English 2-tone Ska bands, but our style is really set within a cross over of a lot of indie, punk, hip hop and more, which is what really fuels what we do. The new album 'Commoners, Piers, Drunks and Thieves' is a good example of this. We listen to lots of stuff, always on the search for something new."

Was it something that you were all into previously?

"Yeah, I suppose Ska was a style that we all loosely had in common when we started the band, not that we started out as a Ska band though; it was just in there with a lot of other influences which was a full mix of what we were trying to get across."

How have you been received?

"Really well. The shows and touring schedule is getting bigger and better all the time. We've got our live show at a good point now where we can further engage with an audience to really build a raucous atmosphere and get the energy levels going hell for leather, which is what our music really requires."

How is it to be a musician in Hull at the moment? It has quite a heritage...

"It's a great time to be a musician in Hull. There is so much going on across the city in so many different genres. There's the back bone of Hulls amped up community with the weekly gig night The Sesh along with the Humber Street Sesh Festival which is one of the best things to happen to Hull for years, some really positive acoustic, folk inspired stuff with the Speak Easy shows, and then Warren Records that are doing some fantastic things with developing up and coming bands.

"A few bands that people should really check out are Counting Coins, Young Jack, End of Level Baddie, Jody McKenna, and Tom Skelly and The Salty Beards, but that's just the tip of the iceberg."

Do you see Ska as being revived, or are you out there pretty much on your own?

"Yeah, there's a really healthy scene at the moment that's getting stronger and stronger all the time. There are so many great bands that are on the up.

"The one thing that sets this scene apart from other movements is that the bands are really evolving the genre, taking the energy and the approach of the more traditional forms and cross breeding it with all kinds of sounds, there are some really interesting things happening at the minute."

Who influenced/influences your sound?

"Our influences come from all sorts of areas and different genres, we listen to a lot music. Artists that we always come back to and that really inspired the creation of the band are The Clash, The Specials, Blur, Supergrass, Capdown, Elvis Costello, to name just a few.

"I wouldn't say we take any one thing from any certain area, that's not the way we write, we have certain artists that may inspire us lyrically and others melodically, but not one thing from one place, it just all goes into the stew."

What inspires you lyrically?

"Lot's of different topics and subject matters. A lot of social and political issues, whether it be the fabrications and intrusions of the right wing press, the dodgy goings on of MP's in the UK, or propaganda fuelled wars where innocent people are being killed at the hands of socially detached Etonites.

"We also explore more sentimental subjects like relationships, friendships and certain personal trials and tribulations. To sum it up I'd say 'life' inspires us lyrically, and everything that it throws at you."

How was it to perform with Neville Staple? How did that come about?

"Neville is a good friend that we've known for many years and also a man that has been influential to us since the start, and it just seemed obvious to have him perform on the track 'Can Stand The Rain' with us. The nature of the track just lent itself to his vocal style really well."

Who would you most like to perform with next?

"Ahh, there are way too many people to mention that we'd like to perform with. Maybe someone like Tim Armstrong, Damon Albarn, Elvis Costello. I think the people that we'd like to perform with the most are probably all deceased, so that might be a little tricky."

What have been the band highlights so far?

"We've been lucky enough to play alongside a tonne of great bands and we've played some incredible festivals including Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading Festival, Mighty Sounds (CZ), Fusion Festival (DE), so that is all up there.

"But also touring different parts of the world, developing new experiences all the time and seeing this map of your bands life unfolding before you, it's just so organic. And seeing places you most certainly would never go to if you didn't gig there."

What are you looking forward to next?

"Lots more summer festivals followed by autumn venue show tours, all the while trying to squeeze the writing of a new album somewhere into this."

Finally, what are your plans for the future of the band?

"To keep listening to and discovering new genres and styles and to keep drawing from experience. Another great thing about touring is the people you meet and the bands that you play with, and although it may sound like a cliché these really are the some of biggest things that fuel you're inspiration and urge to write.

"Also to not be type cast and pigeon holed for what we do, I think reinvention is one of best things to keep a band alive."

The Talks and who else to watch at Rebellion Fest here

Full tour dates here