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Five questions with Los Campesinos!

Posted by Gabby / April 13, 2010

loscampesinos_041310.jpgToday, I got to chat with a lovely fellow known as Neil Campesinos, live from his Cardiff house, just a few days before the band is set to fly across the pond and play a few shows in the new continent.

What can people expect from your live show?
There's eight of us on stage, which immediately means there's quite a lot going on. We're all genuinely having fun and having quite a good time. We'll probably have a few beers, have a little dance. We're quite a loud band, we're pretty energetic. We like to make it a good pop concert if we can. We like to genuinely just have a really good time, because if we're having a good time and there's good vibes, then everyone's got good vibes, and I think vibes are the most important thing, really.

What would you say is the music of Los Campesinos! all about?
Live, we're all having a good time. We're essentially a pop band. Musically, we have a lot of pop songs. Lyrically, Gareth likes to explore more personal sides of himself, which is inevitably a little bit darker, sometimes quite depressing, but there's a lot of honesty in his lyrics. People often pinpoint us as this one-dimensional pop band, which we're really not, and especially with the last record, we've passed ourselves in that respect. There's a lot more depth and variation. I don't think I can pinpoint our songs.

While the previous albums were about college and post-college life, Romance is Boring is about growing up and becoming an adult. Is there a part of you that wishes you could go back?
I'm not sure, I think yeah. The first album was written when we were still in university, and we graduated like three years ago, which is a long time. I'm quite happy with things right now, if I'm being honest, cause we're getting to come to North America in a few days. I remember very fondly my years at university, before the band started, just having a really good time. I think part of me would look to go back to first year, living in the halls with a load of people you don't know. You could think, oh, I'd do that really differently. But I'm happy right now.

You mention that Gareth likes to explore darker themes in his lyrics, but there's also a lot of screaming - I'm thinking particularly about the track Plan A. Would you say Gareth is a frustrated man?
I think he probably has his moments, I think we all have our moments of frustration though. Probably a bit, but he's a nice guy. He has been my best friend for a really long time, and I don't think he's that frustrated. I think he just likes to write about the things that matter to him. His point is that there's no point when people try to take on bigger problems because they think it has more of an impact. I think the point is people care more about the smaller, personal details. It's easier to relate to, because inevitably, most people our age, their main problems often focus around their love life or perhaps their lack of a love life, or certain situations in their group of friends. I think people can often relate to that more. And it's probably cathartic for him to be able to sing, to have an outlet for these particular feelings and I guess frustrations, yes. But I wouldn't say he's a frustrated person, he's a good guy, a good egg.

Have you ever considered having all your last names changed to "Campesinos"?
We did joke when we did our first ever recordings back in 2006. We were drunk, we went out and we said, "If we ever get to go to America, we should definitely change our names to Campesinos properly". And then a year later, we were headed over to America, and we thought, oh shit, and I think we all kind of decided to forget we ever said that. I don't think I'd ever change my name, cause imagine if we have some massive breakup, and we all hate each other, and we all try and kill each other, in five years or something, and then I'm stuck with that surname and every day I wake up and I look at my post, and I think of those seven horrible people that I hate so much. In the long run, it probably wouldn't be worth it.

Photo courtesy of the band's MySpace. Los Campesinos! will be playing in Laval at the Récréathèque (Maison des Arts) on April 18, 2010.



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