Francesca Gardner caught up with Leeds’ Sky Larkin ahead of their Sŵn set.
How have you found the festival so far?
Kate: Yeah it’s a shame we have to leave because Sŵn is such a great festival and Cardiff is such a great city that it’s a match made in heaven, really. We played the first year so it’s really nice to come back, it felt like a family affair.
You drew in a good crowd, as well!
Kate: Yeah it was full – for the first night as well, on a school night, you’re not expecting it!
Michael: Watching each band on each floor was great, because it’s all people that we know, so it was like a giant party – Kate was saying she’d happily join any of the bands.
Kate: You don’t normally go to a festival where for every single band you’re like, ‘Yeah, I could play this music forever!’
You’re soon to be playing at All Years Leaving festival in Birmingham alongside Frankie and the Heartstrings – are you looking forward to it?
Kate: Definitely. Michael’s from Sunderland so we know the Frankie and the Heartstrings lot too well! Michael’s toured with them before, so we’ve got some information…
Michael: We know their ins, we know their outs… Probably more outs than ins.
As a “suburb” festival, how important do you think it is to bring live music outside of the city?
Michael: I think it’s really important, because these places are out of the limelight, so they’re ‘allowed’ to develop their own ideas and micro-climates of music. Bringing in music from the city puts a spotlight on these places which perhaps aren’t getting the attention they deserve. It’s a win-win situation, really, ’cause people from these places get to see these bands that aren’t from round there and also the bands that are from there get to play music.
Kate: And equally, it brings music back into the city centres eventually. There was a venue in Cardiff that got shut down for noise complaints, but that was one of the reasons why it was so cool to live in that area. So our friends Frankie and the Heartstrings have opened a record shop in Sunderland and they’ve got the old Tourist Information centre on the high street, and so, for a band to take music back onto the high street – because that’s the problem, record shops aren’t on high streets anymore, so it’s almost inevitable that people are getting driven out to the suburbs because the centre is almost homogenizing.
You’ve been on the scene for the past eight years now; how do you think you’ve progressed?
Kate: When we formed I was at Uni so it when I finished that we went on tour, five years ago.
Michael: We had a bit of a break after the second record as well, so we’ve just started touring again. For me it feels like starting all over again, but with the benefit of touring before, so it’s new and yet the same, which is reassuring. So we’re playing all these venues that we know and love, so that’s really nice to look forward to and you’ve also got this kind of nervous feeling because it’s fresh and exciting again, so… Yeah, it’s new but also comforting.
Kate: I think that because all three of us have a lot of touring experience, but we all value it. In the best way possible, it’s taken the drama out of it and means that we’re all good at coping in a crisis! But it also means that we don’t all have some sort sense of entitlement – you know what touring is and the best part of it is that you get to tour around and make friends and then see those friends again.
Michael: Then you can deal with the down times and find fun things to do.
Kate: As long as you’ve got a cereal bar, you’ll be fine.
Michael: Can’t go wrong.
How would you describe your sound?
Kate: With this record I had kind of set goalposts of wanting to make something that was arresting but not aggressive, and beautiful but not permissive, because those were my parameters for music that I like and music that aggravates me.
Michael: I think it’s direct but not rushed, not hurried, not forced.
Kate: It’s hard to be direct and not seem forced. And it’s hard to be beautiful and not seem whimsical.
We’re anticipating some new material from you – what can we expect?
Kate: Just getting excited to do shows with Dutch Uncles and tour again. We’re doing a lot of remixes for people.
Michael: Making a lot of noise.
Sky Larkin’s full-length album ‘Motto’ is available for download now.