Face to face with Straight Lines
Welsh lads Straight Lines are enjoying a relatively quiet period in the band’s life. After releasing a small treat for fans in the shape of EP “Escapology’ at the beginning of 2013, Straight Lines have a few gigs scheduled for the nearest future, including their appearance at Download Festival. Hardly heavy touring, but there’s a reason: the band are planning to start work at their new album – a follow-up to ‘Freaks Like Us’. I caught up with the band’s guitarist James Pugh to find out what Straight Lines have been up to lately.
- The nearest future promises to be quiet tour-wise, but busy for Straight Lines with preparing the third album. How is the work at it going?
- We haven’t done a lot towards it if I’m being honest. We had a very busy end to the year last year, and at the beginning of this year, so we haven’t really had time to sit down and smash ideas around yet. It won’t take us long to get our heads round something soon though.
- How do you usually collect material for your albums? Do you start writing well beforehand or are most of the songs born during writing sessions?
- Tom always has ideas for different bits of songs, whether it be a vocal melody or a chord pattern, so he’ll bring them to a practice and we put a basic structure to a song and then add our own little bits.
- Do you like experimenting with music and sound? Is there anything in particular you’d like to try out in your music?
- When we recorded ‘Freaks Like Us’ we had it in our mind that we wanted a rawer sounding album when compared to ‘Persistence In This Game’ so I guess we experimented a little there. Other than that we have experimented too much yet. I’d like us to have a really thick string section playing on one of our songs one day.
- Generally, how does it feel to take a break from touring? Which aspect of life on the road do you miss most while being locked in the studio?
- It’s a nice change not to have much in the pipeline at the moment. It’s nice to be able to do other things that we like doing, rather than planning our lives around when we have shows. I’m sure it won’t stay like this for very
long. I don’t really think too much about touring whilst recording because my mind is set on the recording. Same as when I’m on tour, I don’t really think about being in the studio. I just enjoy whichever one I’m doing at that time.
- While being on the road for a long time, how do you like to kill the time during journeys from one place to another?
- I watch lots of films. Read the paper and then I watch a few more films.
- If you could perform in any place in the world or out of this world, where would you play and why?
- Playing in a field in Reading and Leeds during the August bank holiday is at the top of my list at the moment. The Reading festival has always held a little place in my heart because it was the first festival I ever went too, saw most of my favourite bands there and it’s just one of them places that I’d like to tick off my list.
- On your recent EP ‘Escapology’ there’s an acoustic version of ‘Ring The Bells’. How do you enjoy stripping your songs back? Would you like to record a fully stripped back album with either acoustic versions of previously released tracks, or especially written acoustic songs?
- Yeh, I would. I was never really into the idea of all that in the past. For instance, when the Foo Fighters did that acoustic album with ‘In Your Honour’, it didn’t do it for me at all, but recently we have been doing a lot of our old stuff acoustically for a few acoustic shows and recordings and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s definitely something I’d be willing to do in the future.
- From your catalogue, which songs, do you think, represent Straight Lines best of all and why?
- All of them. Because we give them 100% every time we play them live.
- What do you think about the current state of music scene in Wales?
- It’s great. There’s a lot of good bands and good music flying about the valleys and you can fault it.
- If you are not making music or playing a show, what can you be found doing?
- Riding a bike or in a swimming pool.
- What’s your biggest ambition for the future?
- To move from a Travelodge to a Premier Inn, while on tour.