AlunaGeorge talks exclusively to eFestivals

Liverpool Sound City interview

By Sean Tizzard | Published: Fri 10th May 2013

Liverpool Sound City 2013 - AlunaGeorge
Photo credit: Alison Scott

Liverpool Sound City 2013

Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th May 2013
Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 6RR, England MAP
£45 for festival wristband
Daily capacity: 25,000

eFestivals met up with AlunaGeorge on the Friday lunchtime after their triumphant set late on the Thursday night of Liverpool Sound City. Led downstairs into a dark room within their hotel, it's fair to say that Aluna Francis seemed perky, confident and full of life whereas George Reid seemed more laidback though equally confident. They answered the questions I threw at them with ease, each one seeming to know when to dip in and out of the interview. Their excitement about what the summer will hold came across but they appeared grounded throughout - this was a thoroughly pleasant chat with a band of the moment....

So - last night – a good show?
Aluna: Yeah – it was completely packed and....
George: We got a lot more people than we thought.
Aluna: Everyone was in a pretty good mood by the end.

Why lots more people than you thought?
Aluna: It's a big room. There's plenty of other bands playing. So you just never know when you turn up somewhere if people are going to come to your room.

I was there last night. It was a fine show? Did you see anything else out and about?
Aluna: I saw Bastille. But that wasn't really going around and about. That was staying there.

Did you enjoy it?
Aluna: Yeah, I like Dan and the boys. They're fun.

So, What other festivals are looking forward to playing?
Aluna: Glastonbury definitely. T In the Park is going to be pretty exciting. That's one we don't really have any frame of reference for because we've never been there.
George: A lot of them we're going back to like Benacassim. We're going back to Hultsfred in Sweden. We played there last year.
Aluna: Do you cover all European festivals as well?

Yeah, I'm going to Sonar.
Aluna:Yeah, we're going to do Sonar – that's a pretty exciting one. That's a big, exciting one.
George:We're pretty lucky we're going to loads of festivals this summer.
Aluna:I'm intrigued by the small European one in Norway. What's that one?

Do you know where you're playing this summer then or is it a bit of a blur?
Aluna:There is a lot of them, some of them we've never heard of.

Have you been to lots of festivals outside of this?
George:Yeah, Aluna more so than me.
Aluna:Yeah, I've been to quite a few. I've been to Glastonbury, I've been to Latitude and I've been to(long pause) Shambala.

Shambala's great isn't it?
Aluna:Yeah. Last year, we discovered In the Woods festival.. We played but we got to stay for a day or so. So cute. And I loved it.

And of course Swn last year in Cardiff you played?
Aluna: Yeah – that was a wicked night. A really packed little room.
George: A bit unreal on stage. Where the fuck's Aluna? . There was one route to the stage from the back.
Aluna: I had to come from the back of the stage.
George: We were up there. Where's Aluna?
Aluna: I was like, 'Scuse me I just have to get up there?'

Who's your must see of the summer at these festivals?
George: Depends who's on the nights that we're playing.
Aluna: We don't know who's on. We play the albums but we don't know who's showcasing their album. I'd really go mad if The Knife were on at a festival. That would be so good if they were on at Hultsfred.
George: Is James Blake doing a few?
Aluna: He must be. He can't put out an album and not be out and about.
George: We saw him last year at the Pitchfork festival and I was properly impressed with his live sound and show.
Aluna: He was so excellent.

We break whilst water gets brought in in coffee cups. We think it's free coffee from the lobby for everyone - it's not.

So - you're at a dinner party and you can invite 4 guests. Who would it be?
Aluna: What - famous guests?

Yeah – for the sake of this probably famous people, not your best mate..
Aluna: (to George) Ha. I'd bring Martin.
Aluna: Can they be dead or alive?

Alive or Dead yeah?
Aluna: I think because it's a dinner party and I want it to go terribly wrong - I think Jarvis Cocker and for the opposite to him – who would I bring... I think Jarvis Cocker and Beyonce would be a real social experiment - no wait - Gwen Stefani. She's even more prim...

So who are you dropping?
Aluna: So I'm dropping Beyonce and having Jarvis Cocker and Gwen Stefani.

Who would you add to that George?
George: I don't know – Everyones got to have Stephen Fry surely . He'd make you feel so stupid. Um – who else would I really want to talk to.
Aluna: Cheryl Cole?
George: No, not in the slightest....
Aluna: Natalie Portman?
Aluna: Natalie Imbruglia (laughter)....
George: She does have a lovely accent....
Aluna: Yeah (in a jubilant and playful way)

I now proceed to tell a story about when I took a photo of Jarvis asleep on a train and added it to FB. Aluna is shocked at me telling me how evil this is. George responds with a tale about Tom Hanks, a guy asleep at a bar and photos being taken. Much laughter all around.

So your albums coming out in June?
Aluna: July. It's a slippery fish that album. (giggles)

What are you aspirations before and after that?
Aluna: Well – do you know what - after last night, I just really want everyone to know all the songs. It's a really basic thing but there isn't anyway for people to know all the songs before they hear the album. We haven't released them yet. Even people who know who we are, some of them will only know three songs. Some of them know one song. It would be nice for them to enjoy the whole set instead of waiting for the ones they know.

George: It's kind of weird because we've been given longer slots than the actual releases have caught up. The amount of material out for how long our sets are is a bit off at the moment.

Is the Montell Jordan cover on the album?
Aluna: It won't be on the album but we do like to play it live.

Influences? – I know you've been asked this many times.
George: All sorts. I really like instrumental hip hop stuff – I used to be really into glitchy soundscapey stuff – It's what I was trying to emulate for years and failing to do that – So where I've landed, what I'm doing, is some way off that but drawing from that side of things...
Aluna: I think we meet in the middle. Radiohead is a big, massive influence that we share. And then vocalist stuff - anyone from PJ Harvey, to CocoRosie, to Bjork, Jeff Buckley. Varied stuff.. I'm a massive Jeff Buckley fan.

Are you sticking around today or having to head straight off?
Aluna:Yeah – we're here for the day so we might be able to go to the Beatles museum.
George:Oh really?

You don't sound impressed by that George?
George: No – it's fine. It's a shame the sun's gone today. Yesterday was lovely.
Aluna: In the van – from the van it was lovely.

Will you see anyone else today?
George: I might this evening. I had to cut my wristband off last night. It was so itchy. We didn't actually get our AAA passes in the end.
Aluna:We don't need to go backstage to see anyone.
George:(jokingly) I want to hobnob.
Aluna:Do you know what though. Mount Kimbie is playing tomorrow. Don't know who's on today?
George:Yeah, who's on today? Who's the headliner today?

Everything Everything are on today – In the garage there's Darwin Deez. Dutch Uncles are on...

At this point we get the excellent daily Liverpool Sound City Bido Lito paper out to refer to their schedule. There's an AlunaGeorge review from their gig just 12 hours previous. We're all impressed by the turnaround time but neither of them seem to keen to read it.

Aluna: Oh wow – there's a picture.
George: Yeah I might do that actually. I might go and catch some live music.

Is that a frustration of touring, not getting to see the cities you're playing in?
George: Sometimes but it's to be expected to be fair. You do your thing, you do the next thing. I actually haven't caught that much live music at all recently. Quite often when you're playing your thing you have to be quite focused– It'd be quite nice to chill out, have fun watching some music today, see some new music, the new cool things.

Do you see yourself as the new cool things?
George: We seem to have ended up in that kind of place but I've never considered myself to be a cool guy. Who does? Do you know what I mean?
Aluna: I think it's reflected in our audiences. Our audiences are pretty easy going, open people. They're not cool people, well they are cool but not as in super trendy. It's really nice to know because although you can be a hypey bloggy band, your fans can still be like, 'hey I'm just going to dance like a silly'. Yeah.

My sixteen year old who isn't hyper cool is ever so jealous that I'm doing this today.
George: Oh really.
Aluna:Say hi to him. Temples are here again. Wow, who are the Pukes?
Oh yeah. They play Punk rock ukulele.
George: There was some Guardian thing five cool guitar bands – one of them is Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs which I thought was a brilliant name.

At this point, Ross, the tour manager returns and we wrap up the interview saying that we're done.
We leave the paper with Aluna.

George: We're just planning out who we're going to see today.
Aluna: This is a really, confusing thing.. I really don't understand it...
interview by: Sean Tizzard

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