Kagoule – or Cai Burns, Lucy Hatter and Lawrence English as they are individually known – went to school together and played their first ‘proper’ gig in Nottingham back in 2011. They first ventured to Leicester in April 2013 to support Drenge at the Cookie: They were a fresh faced, raw young band back then but the quality of the songwriting was already evident.
Now signed to Nottingham’s Earache Records, their debut LP ‘Urth’ came out in August 2015 and marked the culmination of their teenage years – a collection of songs that had been around for a long time finally cast in plastic.
Having played a storming set at Handmade Festival last year, the event will welcome them back to the again in 2017, So to get you in the mood we spoke to Cai about the next album, being world famous, and whether or not we’ll ever get to play with Kagoule figurines.
Straight to the point then, when can we expect a follow up to debut album ‘Urth’?
We’re working on it! You’ll be hearing new tunes soon. Album 2, it’s too early in the day to say really but fingers crossed it’ll be out this year some time.
How is the second album sounding?
It’s pretty wonky to be honest. It still sounds like us because I haven’t learned how to play guitar yet and Lawrence hits the drums just as hard but it’s moved on from our debut. You’d think that we would have figured ourselves out by now and the album would be more consistent but we have even less idea what we want to sound like now than ever. So, yeah, there’s quite a mix of styles going on.
There was a limited screen printed, signed vinyl version of Urth, are you planning anything special for the 2nd album?
Yeah we’re always into doing things like that to make it bit more personal. We’ve had a couple of ideas of what we can do with this one but we’ll be keeping them to ourselves for now. Don’t want to spoil the surprise!
‘Urth’ pulled together a set of songs that you’ve been playing live for a long time and therefore had time to develop and mature. The songs on the follow up won’t have this luxury. How are you dealing with this?
Both approaches have their pros and cons. The new record was the first time we really had pressure on finishing it off but in a way it worked for us, focused us. When it came down to recording it I wasn’t set in my way of playing it and was more up for making changes and switching things up. Also it was pretty much written over a year rather than 5 and in my opinion flows much nicer, and the songs are better crafted.
Not all songs from your early live sets made the debut album. Will any appear on the next album or have they now gone forever?
They are gone forever! All the tracks on this record are new. It always feels wrong trying to dig up an old song and use it. We’ve attempted it before but it’s always weirded us out.
A classic example of a song developing over time is ‘Made Of Concrete’. How did Lucy come to sing it rather than you?
Lucy can sing so well! I just thought why the hell would I sing if she can do it? I’d have her singing the rest of the tracks as well if my lyrics weren’t so hard to remember.
Lawrence has done the artwork for every release so far. Is that a thing now, or will you ever break away from this tradition?
It’s up to him really! We love his style and it totally fits with the band so what’s the point in changing it? It’s become our style I guess and sets us apart from others.
Your first gigs outside of the UK were in the US. How did they go? Were you well received?
Yeah they went great. We played Rough Trade NY which was super cool. Our sound is pretty American alt band inspired so it wasn’t all too new for them. They seemed to dig it yeah.
How were your European tours?
Europe is always a pleasure to tour because they treat you like you’re actually doing a job. They respect you and look after you. We don’t ask for much as musicians. Food, water, some beer and enough money to get you there and back and it’s surprising how in the UK you rarely seem to get that. I feel so sorry for any European band that has to tour over here. We recently had the best show in Paris. It did surprise us how into it they were because you can just never really tell what’s happening with your music once it’s out there. We had no idea that we could sell out a venue in France and they thought that we were silly for thinking otherwise.
Does it amaze you that your music is reaching around the globe?
Yeah it’s pretty crazy really. I saw an insights map recently and it freaked me out how some kid in like an island of the coast of Mexico has found our music. I could see how many times he’d listened to it and everything. He really likes our song ‘It Knows It’.
You played a lot of festivals last year and seem to have made it onto the festival circuit. Did you enjoy them? What were your favourite festival moments?
Of course! It’s basically a day of watching loads of other sick music and hanging out with your mates in bands that you never get to see otherwise. Latitude last year was something special, best time of my bloody life.
I’ve read that Lucy’s mum always plays your music in her car. Is that still the case and do you still cringe when you hear yourselves?
I’m kind of numb to it now. Sometimes my work mates stick it on and that’s a bit too much. Any situation where it might be perceived as me listening to my own band is always embarrassing.
The video for Glue has a Game Of Thrones vibe about it. Are you fans of the show?
Yeah we were at the time but my love of anything fantasy / medieval goes way beyond and before that.
How did you feel about the closure of The Music Exchange? Do you feel Rough Trade effected the decision?
We were really sad to see it go. The Music Exchange did a lot for the city and was always a chill place to pop into if you were in town. They were the first store to stock our vinyl and supported us from the beginning. Obviously there are pros to having Rough Trade in town because now we get a whole new bunch of bands touring through Nottingham that we didn’t have before, but yeah, I’m sure the competition put TMX out of business. Joey has opened a new store called Forever Records now though so it’s not all bad!
Do you have any plans for the figurines from the Magnified video to become available to buy so people can set up little Kagoule gigs in their bedrooms?
Haha that would be great. Maybe we’ll do that for the limited edition album 2!
Kagoule play Handmade Festival at O2 Academy Leicester on Saturday 29th April.