According to Neil Campesinos! - LOST is crap, Eastenders isn't and romance is bullshit as we're all dead anyway. What a gent.
Los Campesinos! – a Welsh indie band that produce bouncy, jangly twee-pop that’ll make you smile and dance in equal doses. Well, that’s what many-a-music rag would have you believe. In truth, LC! are about as Welsh as a schnitzel sandwich, and are only based in Cardiff as they met at uni there and didn’t have the heart to leave. And jangly twee-pop? Well sure, if that’s how you’d pigeon-hole songs about the inevitability of death and romance being a crock of shit. Los Campesinos! then, don’t believe the mis-informed hype.
I caught up with guitarist Neil Campesinos! (the exclamation is compulsory apparently) ahead of the band’s Dot to Dot performances, which will dock in three cities along the way.
Hi Neil, I saw on your website that you were having a LOST party the other night?
Yeah Ellen [bassist] is the LOST fan. Iâ€™ve never been a fan but I did go on Wikipedia last night to see what happened in the last episodeâ€¦it didnâ€™t make any sense.
So instead of wasting six years of your life you set aside about five minutes on the internet?
Yeah last night, but I didnâ€™t really know what it meant and it was just a couple of sentences, just a plot overview from the last episode.
I wouldnâ€™t worry, Iâ€™ve watched every episode and still donâ€™t have a clue.
Yeah, Ellen said she wasnâ€™t sure. Iâ€™m kind of glad I didnâ€™t bother wasting my time, I normally follow Eastenders and Iâ€™ve dropped off on that for the last few months because Iâ€™ve been busy. If I canâ€™t keep even up with Eastenders then thereâ€™s no way Iâ€™d be able to keep up with LOST.
Fair point. Right we should probably talk about music. Youâ€™re playing Dot to Dot this weekend, is it your first time?
Weâ€™ve never played it before so Iâ€™m really excited. Iâ€™ve been before as a punter and it was really great. I went to the one in Bristol last year and it was really awesome, so Iâ€™m really excited to play it and go to three different cities with it as well. We havenâ€™t played in Nottingham or Manchester for a while, so thatâ€™ll be really good.
Will you bring a big crowd from Cardiff?
Itâ€™s often people we know and parents for our Bristol shows, which is nice, as in many ways it feels like a home show. I donâ€™t have anyone in Bristol, so Iâ€™ll justâ€¦sit on my own probably.
Well as itâ€™s the West Country Iâ€™m sure you can at least have a cider.
Ermâ€¦I probably wonâ€™t drink any cider.
I wouldnâ€™t say that to your fans there, cider is a way of life.
Ollie [drummer] might kill me, if anyone. Nah I always forget about that. The other day we were in Liverpool and I saw a sign on the wall in a bar that said â€˜Gaymers is the UKâ€™s number one live music ciderâ€™. And I said â€˜Is that right?â€™ because I donâ€™t know, I donâ€™t drink cider, but if you can claim to be the UKâ€™s number one live music cider then youâ€™ve got something. We said it might be Strongbow, even though it tastes like piss itâ€™s kind of in every single bar ever.
Iâ€™ve never known a drink to shotgun â€˜musicâ€™ before, but never mind. Anyway,Â Los Campesinos! are often called â€˜tweeâ€™, how comfortable are you with that description?
I think itâ€™s probably about three years out of date and not entirely accurate. Undoubtedly with some of the earlier songs on Sticking Fingers Into Sockets and a lot on Hold on Now, Youngsterâ€¦ were a lot poppier and perhaps did have that twee edge, although Iâ€™m not that sure what twee is meant to be anyway.
I think itâ€™s just a really weird thing to be labelled, because weâ€™re not. And itâ€™s not really a good label, it was a good label, perhaps, I donâ€™t know. Itâ€™s so weird now after releasing Romance is Boring that people might still call us a twee band, itâ€™s just like – fuck off, weâ€™re not really. We donâ€™t really sound like that, and hopefully that labelâ€™s probably going to subside and disappear in the next few years.
Right, well the album is called Romance is Boring, is it?
I donâ€™t knowâ€¦probably not right now. Sometimes yes, right now maybe not.
Ok, well that makes no sense. Why not at the moment?
I dunno, I just think weâ€™re having quite a good time at the moment, but I do think the sentiments are really interesting. Gareth came up with the title, it was a title we used for a zine that we put together on a tour a few years ago, and itâ€™s an interesting sentiment isnâ€™t it â€“ the idea of romancing and itâ€™s justâ€¦bullshit, essentially. A lot of Garethâ€™s lyrics have that overriding sentiment of â€˜well it doesnâ€™t matter because weâ€™re all gonna die anywayâ€™.
Not quite â€˜tweeâ€™ then.
Los Campesinos! are playing Dot to Dot Festival, appearing in Bristol (29th), Nottingham (30th) and Manchester (31st). Tickets can be bought here.
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