Last weekend, British group “We Have Band” performed at the Usine a Gaz in Nyon, so Jonas Parson (a.k.a. “the barefoot writer” and one of Living in Nyon’s music reviewers), went down to chat to the band before their concert. This summer Jonas wrote several reviews for this site of concerts during the Paléo festival and you can read these and more about him here.
For details of all concerts coming up at the Usine a Gaz check out their website.
Photo above courtesy Jonas Parson – ” We Have Band” back stage in Nyon
Skinny Dipping, Iggy Pop and Venue Vibes – “We have Band” talk to Jonas Parson
The barefoot writer is back again- but with his boots on this time. And there’s nothing better than a nice concert to warm up in this cold and drizzly weather. So off to see “We Have Band” at the Usine A Gaz, Nyon’s main music venue.
I was planning on trying to get an interview with the band at some point before or after the concert, and ended up spending nearly an hour with them in their dressing room before the concert, chatting with them about what it was like to play in Switzerland, their plans for the future, and dolphins (yes, dolphins).
Jonas: So you’re back in Nyon for the second time this year, in a totally different venue. (n:b they played at the Paleo Festival this summer) So how do you feel about tonight’s concert?
Dede: Well I’m excited, although this time I won’t be swimming in the lake like I did last time – actually I went literally five minutes from here. (Darren: With your Mum!) – Yeah with my mum. All of us including my mum swam in the lake.
J:So you’re not planning on going for a swim after the concert…
Darren: Skinny dipping in the night time!
Dede: No I don’t plan to… (Darren: The thing is you never plan to skinny dip! You have too much to drink and next thing you know, Yahoooooooooooo!)
Dede: Anyway… So yes, we are expecting it to be a bit of a different night, because obviously we played at the festival which was in the afternoon, and it was very nice (J: and open air) yes, and open air and it was extremely hot. (J: you played in the chapiteau right? The second biggest stage of the festival. ) Darren: yeah, that’s right! Not the fourth or third biggest, the second biggest!
Dede: Iggy Pop was on the biggest one we went and watched him.
Darren: There isn’t enough room on that stage for Iggy and us- too much ego!
J :So tonight you’re playing in a closed venue, less people obviously. But then probably more people who really know you and are fans.
Darren: Yeah, yeah I guess so…
Dede: Yes well obviously festivals are always, you know, a bit different to you own shows anyway and there’s good things in a festival and against your own gig, and vice-versa, so you sort of just get different things out of your own gig than out of a festival (Darren: Totally!) You know, it’s nice to meet new people at a festival, but when you play at your own gig it’s nice to see people who have come to see you so- it’s always a bit different anyway- but we are looking forward to tonight! We like playing in Switzerland a lot.
J :Yeah I saw you had quite a few dates in Switzerland.
Darren: Eight!!! Like Zürich, here, Chur, Basel, Wil… Anyway, the bottom line is it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been quite crazy actually! The thing is, we’ve had a couple of big years- I mean, Paleo was big, and we did the Montreux Jazz festival the year before, so yeah I guess we’ve been, dunno, knocking around this place for quite a long time really, so feels really good! It’s exciting.
J: Ok, and so what are your plans for the future?
Darren: Oh god, we just try to get through the day… No well we’re going to start writing a second album and we aim to bring it out quite quickly. Just because obviously our first album came out in April, but we’d been writing it for over two years. We don’t want to hang around, our plan is to write quickly- who knows what will happen, but our plan is to write a second album and then start touring again.
Dede: Yeah you know, sort of bring out a second album and hopefully come back and play, and develop the show more, and making it more enjoyable for people to watch the show. So basically it’s developing ourselves and the show. So that’s the sort of plan for 2011 and onwards.
J : Now the interesting thing about We Have Band is that you started touring before your first album came out, so your concerts are quite an important part of your success. -More than just bringing out an album and being really cool in the studio and being crap on stage.
Darren: Yeah well some bands do a few demos and then sign a big record deal and you just see posters of them everywhere, and you think, I’ve heard of that band but I haven’t heard a note. Which is what it is, but it’s not our style. Who knows, maybe we could have gone that way and we would have been fine with it, but I’m just really happy about the way it did go, because it’s really important to know what’s real and what isn’t really.
Dede: We felt like we were a bit more old fashioned, a bit more traditional, where you play a lot, and then bring out an album, as opposed to people knowing you, and you’ve never played, and you’ve got an album or a something, but you can only play for twenty minutes, because you’ve only got four songs, and you have quite a lot of hype about you. But anyway, I just think it’s about choice, either way, if whatever suits the band and the person, I mean we went that way because it suited us better, but you can do whatever you want!
Darren: Yeah, and once again, we don’t support war….
After the interview, it was time to go and mingle with the crowd waiting to see the concert, leaving the band to get ready before they came on stage. The room was quite full, the people having come to see the concert mostly between twenty-five and thirty years old. Not exactly the type of people I was used to seeing at the Usine A Gaz, but it was a nice and varied audience for the concert.
The supporting band for this concert, MY Heart belongs to Cecilia Winter, had been cancelled (one of the musicians was apparently sick in bed), so the evening didn’t start till eleven o’clock, but a DJ was brought on to mix some music for the people having come for the first part and therefore too early for We Have Band.
We Have Band were playing in a slightly different configuration from their last concert in Nyon, drummer Mark Pell having joined the trio for their tour. Mark plays with a band called Micachu and the Shapes, an experimental pop band worth listening to.
We Have Band didn’t waste any time and soon got everybody in the vibe, dancing and singing along with the band. On stage, they were really energetic and it was really enjoyable to see them play. You could see they were giving everything they had for Nyon, not playing half-heartedly but with all their energy. And what a concert it was! Their explosive energy was highly contagious, and on songs like Oh! and Divisive, everyone was dancing about on the music. There were also “calmer” moments, with songs like Hero Knows, the mesmerizing beats and voices of the band gently rocking the whole venue. But the concert was soon over, Darren Dede and Thomas having run out of songs to play. But they were soon called back by their fans, and giving us another helping of Oh!, with even more enthusiasm from the audience.
After the concert, it was the trio who sold their merchandise to the people grouping around them to get CDs and T-shirts signed by the band. It’s nice to see artists who are still close to their audience and don’t just lock themselves up away after the show!
All in all, a very nice evening, We Have Band having managed to make us forget that outside it was still November…