Photo: Shaun Gordon

Last week, our Artist of the Month for August – KAGOULE, released their debut album “Urth“, on local label Earache Records. Cai, vocalist/guitarist of the band was kind enough to answer some questions for us, and told us all about how milkshake machines have inspired his songwriting, and his love for Peter Andre… kinda.

Can you tell us a bit about yourselves; who are KAGOULE?
Well, we’re all from Nottingham. We’ve lived here for our whole lives so far and we met in school. Its hard to remember exactly when you became friends with people, but I guess we just had similar interests. I thought Lucy was really cool and Lawrence had some good gel in his hair. We just bonded and started a band in school times. Our first shows were like… not talent shows but playing the school hall kinda thing. So that’s where we started and we’ve just been gigging more and more since then.

How would you describe your music to those unfamiliar with it?
Uhh… that’s actually really hard. Like a petrol powered horse and cart. I think that’s kinda spot on. I’ve obviously thought about that one long and hard.

What were your main influences when making Urth?
Well I guess the influences are constantly changing. But when we first started it was all just whatever was new at the time, whatever was in NME. We started off as like a covers band and we’d just cover all that kinda thing. Then after we started playing our first few gigs and writing our own songs we got compared to stuff like Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins. None of us had really been into that kinda thing before but then we gave it a listen and thought how excellent it all was and that was our first kind of, as a group anyway, our obsession with a certain genre of music, that sort of 90s alt rock kinda thing. And that’s probably played the biggest part, sort of influence wise. It changes, you know, you hear 10 seconds of a Peter Andre song and that can inspire you or just a nice chord change in anything. A police siren or a milkshake machine.

Has that helped your song writing – listening to the 90s bands?
Music was getting kinda complicated and it helped me realize that you can literally write three chords and sing over them and it is acceptable. I think 90s music has this simplicity towards it that really clicked with us. Maybe it’s just because we weren’t that good at our instruments at that point and it was easier to play. But it definitely helped me with dynamics and interesting lyrics ‘cause lyrics just got really terrible in the past like fifteen years or something. Yeah it definitely helped me out.

Do you have a favourite track from the album?
I think I’ve gone through periods of all of them being my favourite track at some point. But I really like “Open Mouth“. Maybe its just because we don’t play it live very often and not many people have heard it before. But I think that sort of sums up my music taste more than the others. I remember being really happy when I wrote that one. Quite proud of that. So Yeah all of them at different points and I’m sure all of us as a band have different favourites. Do you have a favourite?

I really like “Glue“…
Glue” is definitely one of mine. I don’t remember writing that guitar riff but yeah I’m really pleased that I did! I just found it on a demo and thought what the hell did I do there? And then used it…

Has Nottingham helped you when writing the album? (musically and non-musically)
When we were doing our first few gigs in Nottingham. And I was saying before how we got introduced to all like the 90s music that’s through a load of Nottingham bands who saw us or we were playing with and said oh you sound like this. And all the guys from Gringo and the older lot like GREY HAIRS. They’ve been like uncles to us and have always given us cool new music to listen to and kind of guided our taste. I guess everyone’s been very nice and supportive here and being like a self conscious fifteen year old when we started, I think if we’d had any aggression of people taking the piss out of us we probably would have given up so yeah thank you to everyone in Nottingham for being so nice to us and letting us grow.

As you’ve said, you’ve all been really close for a long time, does that help or hinder you when you need to make a decision?
People don’t hesitate to shout their opinion. It can get quite heated but I think its really good that everyone feels like they can be honest with each other. I couldn’t imagine being in a band where you don’t feel like you have a voice. I’d hate that. Its hard to compare it to anything cause this is the only band I’ve ever been in. But I’m sure it’s a lot easier for you than it is for some bands that don’t really know each other. But at the same time being uncomfortable leads you to work a bit harder to try and impress everyone else. People don’t feel the need to try and impress people anymore so it can get kind of lazy at a lot of points. But I’d rather it be like this.

As you said you have lots of friends within the Notts music scene, but are there are new bands you’ve been liking at the minute?
My friend Josh has just started a band called BAD ALCHEMY and he’s always really good at writing sort of Stoner Rock based riffs. I’m quite excited to hear that. We had a show at Dot to Dot and we had a bunch of bands that we liked from Nottingham play that like MANNEQUIN and CROSA ROSA and things. Oh yeah and BLUEBIRD, they are really good! There’s loads more I’m probably missing but yeah.

You played Rough Trade earlier this month, how was it?
It was really good! I think it was about fifteen minutes before we were meant to go on stage and it was pretty empty and we were kind of worrying like ‘oh no one has bought our album, we’ve failed” but then it filled up really quickly and it sounded great. We had a lot of fun. It was really strange having people come up after and asking for our signature and stuff. I’ve decided that my signature is this man in sunglasses doing this kind of, saucy pose. And it gets really tiring to draw it every single time I sign something. But I’m too far into it now to turn back. I’ve started doing it on the back of my credit cards, people don’t believe its real.

Have you got any more Notts gigs lined up in the near future?
Yeah, we’re playing with SLEAFORD MODS on the 9th October at Rock City. They asked us to play with them again after the Rescue Rooms show we did with them in January, which is very lovely of them. Then we’ve got a UK tour in November and I can’t say any of the dates yet but we’ll definitely be playing Nottingham on there. We’re planning on going to a lot of cities, ones that maybe don’t often get bands touring through.

Is there anything else you wanted to say to Nusic readers?
Buy our album. Make sure you buy it and buy every single copy of it and all the t shirts. And then all the CDS to get the full Kagoule experience. And secondly, make sure you buy our album and then lastly; buy our album. BUY OUUURRRR ALBUM. Just make sure you buy our album. Oh yeah and buy our T-Shirts too. Just give us some money so we can live and eat and make more music because we don’t have a bass guitar at the moment and we need some money for one.

We’d like to thank Cai for taking the time to answer these questions!

You can read our review of the album HERE, watch a mini-doc all about their journey HERE, and find out where you can buy the album HERE.

Yours in Love of New Music,
Katie Beard x