Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Proctors interview

The Proctors arent like any other indie pop band. In fact, they formed in 1993, broke up and came back with a performance in Cambridge in April 2011... looking and well, sounding fresher than ever. Gavin Priest, singer of the band, shared some lovely thoughts with me.

You were originally formed in 1993, out of the ashes of the Cudgels. You broke up in 1997 and then came back in 2009 with the cloudberry release. Was it something that you were planning or was it the indie pop revival that drove you to reform?
I bumped into Stephen who was also in the Cudgels and it was he convinced me. He gave me confidence, there were a bunch of songs I had recorded years ago during the period we were signed with sunday records that had never seen the light of day including 'perfect world' sp we felt there was unfinished business!

You mix 90s indie pop with 60s sounds, sth between sarah records and Byrds-esque melodic guitars. which era do you feel you are most inspired of?
My musical influences are very varied! I will listen to Simon and Garfunkel next to Felt, early Primal Scream and The Sex Pistols! Throw 80s synth pop too! The era that most influences me is 1986 to 1992 i would say. During this era I felt a strong connection with Sarah bands like The Sea Urchins from our part of the world who knew their music, and The Field Mice, being a big Joy Division and New Order Fan, I could hear they loved that too, but loved their fragile 'bedroom' approach to it. The Proctors was a recording project at that time, something i really want to get back to, though we have enjoyed playing live. I also got into bands like Love, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks and The Byrds during this era. Prior to this I got into early punk and new wave while at school! Anything from Xray Spex to The Jam, Siouxsie etc etc. I'm drawn to bands with a femininity and would even include The Pistols in that.

You mentioned in an interview that you write "melancolic pop songs" - what are the ingredients of a perfect melancolic pop song?
Well listen to 'New Dawn Fades' by Joy Division, 'Letting Go' by the field Mice or 'The sound of silence' by Simon and Garfunkel, and whatever's in there they are the ingredients! If I were a musiclogist I would say sad chords, weeping guitars and honest lyrics!

"Everlasting Light" album was released last september. in which ways was it different from the releases more than a decade ago?
Well the previous album/singles involved absolute zero rehearsal. We literally booked studio time the Adrian, Christina and myself showed up in my clapped out Mini and just jammed along. Pete Williams from Dexy's Midnight runners actually engineered it and played harmonica and keyboard here and there He just happened to be working at the studio. With this one we have the benefit of new technology! Nowadays My sister christina is no longer involved and we have Margaret Calleja on vocals. We are all very close, and i think that helps, we are very honest with one another!

How is the collaboration with shelflife records?
Great! Fantastic to get to work with Terry Bickers from House Of Love, absolute hero of mine as a guitarist, and one of the nicest people you could wish to meet. He had a genuine respect for what we do, and was great to spend a weekend with him. Shelflife have been brilliant.They have been really supportive, and Ed from the Label even bought his own guitar pedals for me to use at New York Popfest

Is indie pop still alive? What do you think of the current indie pop scene? 
Very much alive, this interview and your fanzine is the evidence! I like the scene and all the popfests most people I've met have been lovely. I think most people's hearts are in the right places! I'm looking forward very much to Bobby Wratten's new project, and loving Burning Hearts, Azure Blue, Watoo Watoo at the moment, though the list could go on and on!

Youve got a new EP coming in a few weeks. Could you tell me a few things about it?
Its called 'the Kaleidoscope Ep' after the Ray Bradbury short story. Its 3 songs about breaking up. They are 3 new songs, quite personal I hope people will like it, but each release is a leap of faith. There is a lyric about being 'scared to fly' in there and that has a double meaning!

You are playing the birmingham popfest next month (what an amazing lineup!!). any more gig/festival plans for the summer?
Yes playing Hamburg april 4th, Berlin April 5th, Rome May 9th, Milan May 10th, Copenhagen May 16th. We are also playing the brilliant 'going up The Country in Congleton UK June 7th

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