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. I’ve never been a fan but I did go on Wikipedia last night to see what happened in the last episode…it didn’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 didn’t really know what it meant and it was just a couple of sentences, just a plot overview from the last episode.
I wouldn’t worry, I’ve watched every episode and still don’t have a clue.
Yeah, Ellen said she wasn’t sure. I’m kind of glad I didn’t bother wasting my time, I normally follow Eastenders and I’ve dropped off on that for the last few months because I’ve been busy. If I can’t keep even up with Eastenders then there’s no way I’d be able to keep up with LOST.
Fair point. Right we should probably talk about music. You’re playing Dot to Dot this weekend, is it your first time?
We’ve never played it before so I’m really excited. I’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 I’m really excited to play it and go to three different cities with it as well. We haven’t played in Nottingham or Manchester for a while, so that’ll be really good.
Will you bring a big crowd from Cardiff?
It’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 don’t have anyone in Bristol, so I’ll just…sit on my own probably.
Well as it’s the West Country I’m sure you can at least have a cider.
Erm…I probably won’t drink any cider.
I wouldn’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 ‘Gaymers is the UK’s number one live music cider’. And I said ‘Is that right?’ because I don’t know, I don’t drink cider, but if you can claim to be the UK’s number one live music cider then you’ve got something. We said it might be Strongbow, even though it tastes like piss it’s kind of in every single bar ever.
I’ve never known a drink to shotgun ‘music’ before, but never mind. Anyway, Los Campesinos! are often called ‘twee’, how comfortable are you with that description?
I think it’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, Youngster… were a lot poppier and perhaps did have that twee edge, although I’m not that sure what twee is meant to be anyway.
I think it’s just a really weird thing to be labelled, because we’re not. And it’s not really a good label, it was a good label, perhaps, I don’t know. It’s so weird now after releasing Romance is Boring that people might still call us a twee band, it’s just like - fuck off, we’re not really. We don’t really sound like that, and hopefully that label’s probably going to subside and disappear in the next few years.
Right, well the album is called Romance is Boring, is it?
I don’t know…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 we’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 it’s an interesting sentiment isn’t it – the idea of romancing and it’s just…bullshit, essentially. A lot of Gareth’s lyrics have that overriding sentiment of ‘well it doesn’t matter because we’re all gonna die anyway’.
Not quite ‘twee’ then.
Los Campesinos! are playing Dot to Dot Festival, appearing in Bristol (29th), Nottingham (30th) and Manchester (31st). Tickets can be bought here.