INTERVIEW: The Weeks | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Since signing to Kings of Leon’s Serpents and Snakes records, Nashville residents The Weeks have become a hot topic. The five-piece omit growling vocals, dirty realist lyrics and grungy soul, that paints a beautifully bleak picture of the Southern States, which they keep buried deep in their hearts, brazenly on their sleeves. This month sees them releasing a new four-track EP and jetting off across the Atlantic for their third UK tour. I spoke to Alex “Admiral” Collier (who plays keyboards) ahead of their trip to Newcastle as part of their UK tour.

It’s the third time you have been to the UK. Do you see any differences between here and the US?

Certainly with the crowds. The shows are a lot earlier. Having a show end with a curfew at eleven is pretty awesome. And in terms of the food, obviously there’s a big difference. Aside from that, I think it is pretty diverse. In the South there’s a lot of diversity, so it’s cool to come across the pond and find that here too.

You will be joined by Apache Relay on the tour. Tell us about them.

Those guys are great, they’re brilliant musicians, great guys in general and fun to hang out with. It’s a pretty good pairing, and they put on a really good show. They toured over here with Mumford & Sons. They have this kinda folky thing, sorta like Bright Eyes with that brilliance to it.

It will be interesting to see how that goes down in the tighter venues, with a smaller capacity.

I can’t wait to see their faces when we get to Hull. That’s usually an interesting venue [The New Adelphi Club, Hull]. People just love us there. It’s like a little social club! All these venues are pretty small. I love the idea of having that sort of intimacy.

And what do you think of Newcastle?

I remember it was really cold… When you tour, there’s two things that happen: you either stay in one place for a decent amount of time, or you get to a place and don’t spend any amount of time. I think we must’ve just gone to the bar and planted ourselves there. This tour is so much different because we are sharing the bus with the Apache Relay guys, so we play one town that night, then the bus moves to another town, so we get the entire day to hang out.

I’ve heard the Buttons EP; I wanted to ask about the redux of Buttons and Hold It, Kid, originally from your debut Comeback Cadillac. What was the motivation behind this revamp?

I’m the newest member of the band, which I think was a huge part if it. I would wrap around what I did on the piano and try and integrate that with some of the older stuff. Bring it back to life, recreating it with a newer sound.

You joined around 2011. How have you fit in to the band?

It seems like it was yesterday. We pretty much live on the road, so time goes past so fast. Driving to the border force and the guy was asking when we were last in the UK. I was like “last year” – I was certain – but it was actually the back end of 2013. It is so hard to fathom we are already in 2015. When I look at my calendar I already think it’s 2016! But I knew those guys well before: we were all working in bands, we were all friends, so it was really natural coming in to the band, to be honest. There was none of this “oh I’m an outsider.” It all worked, musically, and we were all able to adapt. I will say that there’s the difference of me not been from Mississippi, and being from Charleston, South Carolina. But I’m also the oldest in the band. I’m 28.


“We pretty much live on the road, so time goes past so fast. Driving to the border force and the guy was asking when we were last in the UK”

Could you be called the father of the band?

I do try to man, as much as a father can keep a toddler at his hand! It’s always funny to watch the bass player [Damien Bone] and our singer [Cyle Barnes] with their instruments or microphone jumping in to the crowd, it just seems so natural, like they’re jumping on to a bed. But really they’re jumping in to the hands of people watching their show. Some of them are surprised.

You don’t want potential lawsuits or injuries.

Exactly! It’s like “you better pick up my bass player and lead singer ‘cos they’re really good.”

The band has pitched for a fan made video for Mercury [from the Buttons EP].

Yeah, there’s some really creative videos that have come through. It’s actually becoming a really hard decision to make and to figure out who’s is going to be the right one. It’s not that there are bad ones, it’s about one that actually fits with what we are about, and to make that happen visually as we do with our music, sonically. There were some animated ones, which are really cool, and there was one of some guys going around on motorcycles, and it has this Southern feel, a grungy quality to it. I think the one… yeah, I don’t wanna give away too much.

What does the future hold?

We are going to spend some time writing, then go out with the J Roddy [Walston & The Business] guys at some time this year. It seems to be a lot more touring, but with the writing process integrated in to the schedule.

Then back to the studio with the Followills [of Kings of Leon, and Serpents and Snakes Records]. How’re those guys treating you?

We haven’t seen much of them in a while, but we are going to do a Sports Illustrated show with them after we get back. They’re curating this whole performance for Sports Illustrated, it’s going to happen in Nashville and there’s going to be like 20 bands over two days, where everyone has a 45 minutes set.

Finally, how do you respond to the debate that guitar music is dead?

I don’t think so. A lot of the synth stuff has some through. A really good friend of the band is Cage the Elephant, who are up for a Grammy. I think that will change the stope of where radio have taken things in the last couple of years. Guitar music will always have a place in everyone’s hearts. I don’t think it is necessarily dead, and I don’t think it is a focal point, but it will come back around. I think it is evolving. It’s at that tipping point.

The Weeks’ Buttons EP will be released on January 26th via Caroline/Serpents and Snakes, and they will be at Think Tank, Newcastle on Tuesday 27th January.

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