Interview: Tall Ships

Stephen Springate interviews Ric Phethean of Tall Ships

Photo by Chris Beynon

You had some sound problems tonight, what went wrong?

Every time we go to Cardiff something fucks up. We had issues with our microphone and being able to loop the vocals, and that’s integral to the majority of our songs so it was pretty hard play- ing some of the songs without it, but we just decided to play what we could anyway and I hope that was alright.

Often you get described as ‘math-rock’, would you agree with that or is that just a term the press has labelled you as?

I think it’s quite a lazy term, it does a huge injustice to true math-rock bands who write incredibly complex music and all our songs are in 4/4! I think it’s because we use electronics and the sounds we use are quite varied. But yeah, we’re not overly happy with being called math-rock. I also think the term sounds quite cold as well, and I think we’ve got a bit more to it than that.

You’ve said before that your influences include Explosions in the Sky, would you say you’re a bit post-rocky as well?

Yeah I think that’s very fair, we definitely have our post-rock moments. The biggest influence for us is Sigur Ros, they completely transformed how I thought about music.

How long have you guys been playing?

Me and the drummer have been in various bands since we were kids, but Tall Ships have been going 4 years since we all met at Falmouth University.

So how would you say you’ve changed since you’ve first started? Some of your older songs seem to have been retouched a bit for your new album.

It’s a funny one, with the new album…

We are interrupted by a man selling roses who is very insistent on Rick buying a glittery hat off of him, despite politely insisting that he doesn’t have his wallet on him. This scene goes on for a few minutes…

Anyway, I think we just grew confident into what our sound is. We were just writing songs to play to our friends in Falmouth, and we take our stuff a lot more seriously now, but I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing! We feel like we can take old songs in a different direction, towards how they were meant to be.

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