"I feel like indie music's been hijacked by aristocrats, it's really dull. Nothing says anything to me about my life" – hmv.com talks to Reverend & the Makers
Ahead of the release of their new album Thrity Two, we sat down with Reverend & the Makers' mainman Jon McClure to talk about setting up a Pledge campaign for the record, why he thinks David Guetta and Calvin Harris have no class and his plans for his debut novel…
So the record's out on Monday, are you nervous about it coming out?
"I'm really proud of this record, I think it's a myth that people make their first record on their first go, I think a lot of bands make better records as they get older, that definitely applies to us."
When did you finish this album?
"Didn't take that long to make actually this album. It felt a bit like we were in a rut with the second album, it all went a big druggy and bit political. But last time we did really well with the album, it went top 20, and at festivals and on tour. I keep reading that we've got a cult following and I guess it cemented that."
"We wanted to keep going after the last album, you know how The Beatles made Revolver and Rubber Soul as one session, we almost did that, we didn't stop recording so it's got the same confidence that the last record had."
What kind of record is it?
"We had a lot of fun making it, we had a right laugh, it's a good, upbeat album, it's the right mix of indie and electronics."
You part funded it with a Pledge campaign, why did you decide to do that?
"It was cheating a bit, because we've still got a record label, and they set it up for us. It was great though, I'm always into doing things that are direct to fans, that's why I like Twitter, it's that removal of extra layers and getting directly in touch with your fans."
You worked with James Welsh and Youth, what effect did they have on the album?
"Jimmy's super-respected in that deep house world, he brings a real classiness to the electronics. A lot of chart music just sounds nasty, people like David Guetta and Calvin Harris, it sounds cheap and nasty, we wanted to bring a classiness to it. Youth's a genius too, he makes everything sound massive, big, rock n'roll."
Where did you make it?
"We made some of it in Sheffield, then James has got a place in Majorca so we did some of it there and then we finished it at Youth's place in London. It was important that it started in Sheffield, a lot of people, especially the London media, can't handle the idea of music coming from anywhere other than Manchester, but they forget that electronic music started in Sheffield with Cabaret Voltaire and The Human League, later you've got the whole Warp Records thing and we were quite influenced by that."
"The second Sheffield tradition is the Jarvis thing, Alex has and I have, which is writing lyrics about real life with proper poetry. We try and marry the two."
You said you wanted to try and move away from politics in your lyrics, why did you decide to do that?
"If you continually state the same arguments, then you become a political artist, I don't want to do that. This album is a lot more influenced by little anecdotes, staying in Sheffield is important to us, it influences how you are, you meet proper people and that works into how you right, you wouldn't get the same stories if you were hanging out with Nick Grimshaw. I feel like I'd lose my edge if I left Sheffield."
Why did you pick the title Thirty Two?
"I wanted to knacker Adele out, she's done 19 and 21, so I'm grabbing 32 now, she can't have it. No, I'm joking, it's my age, and I wanted to write from that perspective, a lot of artists try and write from a false perspective, I'm not trying to please anyone anymore, I can sell records and sell out tours without having to please the NME or Radio 1, I've got nothing to prove."
So after the album comes out, what's the plan?
"Loads, we've got a European tour, festivals and then I think I fancy another side project. The problem with being in an indie band is that I don't really listen to indie when I go home, a lot of indie music bores me to tears, I feel like indie music's been hijacked by aristocrats, it's really dull. Nothing says anything to me about my life."
What do you go home and listen to?
"I'm more into Jamaican music and I really like Quito, which is South African and dead exciting. I fancy doing something a bit mad for a laugh, I don't want to get dragged into just touring and making the same records. I've been writing a novel too."
Really? What's that about?
"It's an alternate history novel. I can't tell you the concept because I reckon if someone heard the concept they'd nick it, it's that good. I'm halfway through that and I'm really proud of it."
Reverend and the Makers' new album Thirty Two is released on Monday (February 24).
Reverend & The Makers will also be meeting fans and signing copies of their new album, and also performing a live acoustic set at:
hmv Sheffield High St. - Monday 24th Feb, 5.30pm
hmv Leeds - Tuesday 25th Feb, 5.30pm
hmv Hull - Wednesday 26th Feb, 5.30pm