Chloe Lewis

An Interview with The Magic Gang

Lovely indie four-piece The Magic Gang found some time amid supporting Sundara Karma on tour to chat to our music editorial dream team when they visited our very own Guild of Students on Friday night- here’s what they had to say about manatees, The Beatles, and releasing their first album…

Chloe: How’s the tour going so far?

Gus: It’s been great. It’s been really good, all the shows have been really nice, the crowds have been great and it feels like we’re playing to a new fanbase, and we’ve been picking some people up along the way hopefully. Brixton last night was crazy, that was a real milestone for us because it’s such a great venue. It’s been wicked.

Paeris: Very civil actually, very clean.

Kris: Not as wild as we’d like.

Jess: How does supporting compare to headlining your own shows?

Paeris: There’s a lot less pressure.

Kris: So it doesn’t have to be as good!

Paeris: Not in like a throwaway way, just like you don’t have to worry as much about how many people are there, or what the stage looks like and stuff like that. Not that much is expected of you.

Jack: It can also be more fun cos it’s a shorter set, so you can play a more energetic set.

Kris: It’s nice not having to play for an hour, because that can be quite tiresome.

Chloe: Would you say you prefer writing and recording or playing live?

Gus: It’s almost too different to say. They’re so different, there’s great bits of both and really difficult bits of both. Obviously going in the studio and creating, having all that time to try loads of different things out and realise the songs, and the process of almost rewriting it is amazing, but you don’t get the same buzz as you do from playing live. I wouldn’t say I prefer one or the other, I dunno what you guys think.

Jack: I agree, I think they’re very different disciplines. It feels like it’s two different jobs, almost. But I enjoy them probably the same amount.

Kris: I prefer recording.

Gus: That’s Kris’ thing.

Kris: Yeah, it’s just because that’s what I did at university, so I feel more comfortable doing that. Both are equally fun though.

Chloe: You rereleased [2015 single] Alright recently, what’s all that about?

Jack: Do you prefer the older one?

Paeris: You can be completely honest.

Jess: The new one’s quicker, isn’t it?

Paeris: Much quicker. We recorded that so long ago with a guy who was really into shoegaze, so everything was proper slow, and we were just never really that band.

Jack: It just naturally adapted as well, it just got faster every time we played it.

Gus: And we owe it to old fans and new fans to have the best representation of that song. Maybe it might be frustrating for some fans, that it’s not brand new music, but we’ve got a fanbase that’s really really dedicated, so most people have been really positive about it.

Chloe: I think it’s a good idea because it’s a good song, so you want to make it accessible to people who haven’t heard it before.

Jess: It’s good as well because it shows how you’ve developed as a band, from 2015 til now. What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

Jack: When this tour finishes we’re going to do most of the album, and then we’re going to Europe with Wolf Alice, and then do the rest of the album, so we’re going to be pretty busy until like mid-November.

Gus: We feel like it’s about time we released an album, for early next year. Because it’s been how long now?

Paeris: Like four years?

Gus: It’s been cool that we’ve been able to release the EPs, so that we can see the growth of the band up to the debut album. It’ll be nice to get some brand new stuff out, and also re-record some of the older ones, like we did with Alright, and have this really nice body of work that’ll define us.

Jess: Do you think it’s going to mainly be new material on the album?

Jack: I think we’d like to maybe have a go at re-recording one or two of the older songs just to see how it sounds, but we’re really keen to keep it as new as possible.

Gus: We’ll probably keep it like 60:40 or whatever. Because it is a bit unfair when a band release their debut album and it’s all old songs that you’ve heard before.

Chloe: Have you decided on a name for it yet?

Jack: We don’t know yet.

Gus: It could be anything. It could be Bull Shark.

Paeris: Or Face Like A Slapped Arse!

Kris: Or Cobweb.

Gus: It’s gonna be one of those.

Jess: If you had to listen to one band or artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Jack: The Beatles.

Kris: The Beatles, cos they’re the best band ever.

Jack: There’s so much. You’d go f*****g mental, but you’d never need to listen to anything else.

Kris: I’d have no problem listening to The Beatles forever. Everyone likes The Beatles, they just don’t know it yet. If you don’t like The Beatles, you just haven’t heard the right song for you.

Chloe: For people who haven’t heard you guys before, how would you describe yourselves as a band?

Paeris: Adequate.

Kris: Fine.

Paeris: Room for improvement!

Kris: I would say ‘incredibly talented and humble’.

Paeris: That’s like a…

Kris: An oxymoron!

Jack: It’s a difficult one.

Gus: It’s just fun, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Paeris: Let’s ask Greg.

Gus: Yeah Greg, how would you sum us up?

[Greg is the guys’ mate who’s lying on the floor behind one of the sofas. He pokes his head up to look at everyone]

Greg: What would I what sorry?

Gus: Sum us up in a few words.

Greg: Good. Pop. Songs.

Gus: Good pop songs!

Jess: What’s your favourite song to play live?

Gus: I think mine is Your Love.

Kris: Yeah, mine’s Your Love.

Gus: I just love hearing that massive drum fill in the middle!

Paeris: I f*****g hate that! I just have to fully concentrate!

Kris: I like Your Love because it’s the hardest one to play.

Jack: My favourite to play live is All That I Want Is You.

Paeris: Oh yeah!

Jack: It’s fun and we play it last, so it’s like a victory lap, like ‘we’ve gotten through the whole thing, everything’s fine!’

Gus: Although the other day in Nottingham you broke a string…

Jack: Oh yeah, I have f****d that song up a couple of times!

Paeris: When we practice it, in the chorus we sometimes just put one hand up in the air, cos it’s just like one chord the whole way through.

Gus: Maybe we should do it tonight!

Jack: [To Paeris] What’s your favourite song to play live?

Paeris: All That I Want Is You!

Jack: Did you say that?

Paeris: I did say that!

Kris: No he didn’t!

Jess: Is there any song that just annoys you to play live?

Jack: Your Love! I find it really difficult, but I like it, but I find it really difficult!

Jess: We saw it at Sound City!

Chloe: It was like the first time you’d ever played it or something.

Jack: Was it out by that point?

Chloe: Yeah, for like a couple of days.

Paeris: Oh yeah, it was the first time we’d ever played it.

Kris: What was Sound City?

Jess: The really dusty one!

Kris: Oh, that was like, the worst day out I’ve ever had in my entire life!

Paeris: We watched The Hunna getting absolutely covered in dust!

Jack: The show was fun, but the actual day was awful!

Chloe: If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?

Gus: What would we like to be or what do we think we would be?

Kris: I think what we should do, we should pair off and assign animals to one another! Is it what we wanna be or what we think we would be?

Jess: Just do both!

Paeris: A manatee. It’s how I think I’d like us to be perceived in the wider music industry. So people just look at us and go ‘Aww!’

Kris: Just gliding through life, not really doing anything! I think Paeris would be some kind of cat, or like…

Paeris: Rodent! Just like some kind of small thing, a meerkat maybe!

Gus: A meerkat is a good one. They’ve got big families, they stick together…

Paeris: They muck about!

Kris: The other day I was talking to one of my friends, and we were having this same conversation, and she was like ‘if you’re an animal, what animal do you think you are?’ and I thought some kind of wise owl maybe, and she was like ‘no, you’re like a f*****g giraffe!’ So I’d have to be a giraffe, because sometimes you can’t hide from the truth!

Paeris: You’re a Venus flytrap! You wanna be a wolf or something, but you’re actually a Venus flytrap.

Jack: I’d wanna be something that could climb trees, or fly.

Paeris: Why don’t you just be a bird?

Jack: The thing is, I wouldn’t wanna be a bird but I would wanna fly. Is there anything else?

Gus: A flying monkey?

Chloe: A bat?

Jack: Bats don’t get bothered by other animals do they? No one like, eats bats?

Kris: No, but they can’t see!

Jack: Well they can see, but in a weird way. A bat, I’d wanna be a bat. Wait, no I wouldn’t!

Gus: What have we got? Venus flytrap, rodent… I’d be a koala, loved by all.

Paeris: I think as a band, a manatee is the best representation of us.

Jack: As a collective we’d be one manatee!

Jess: Call the album ‘The Manatee!’

Paeris: The new album from The Magic Gang: ‘They’re Just A Manatee!’

Chloe: Anyway, thanks guys!

Paeris: Did you get everything?

Kris: Do you want us to just throw in some buzz words?

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