Before playing to Newcastle for the first time, Faye recently caught up with Will Gould, frontman of Our Time Down Here for a chat about their new record and direction, becoming a full-time touring band, the UK punk scene and wrestling.
Faye: Can you tell me a bit of history about Our Time Down Here?
Will: Our Time Down Here started about four years ago and I was singing in another local band, and they had another singer, then they kicked the singer out for some reason at the last minute. I think his voice was fucking up every time they played, so they asked me to fill in and it kind of went from there. Then we did an EP, we put that out ourselves and then we were on Punktastic Records, but that fell apart, then Jon Tolley from Banquet was really interested in us and re-released our EP, so we did a couple more tracks, repackaged it and did a video. Then we did an album last year and that’s probably the best thing we’ve done.
Faye: Weren’t you originally a four-piece, and now you’re a five-piece?
Will: Yeah, we’ve been trying to do different things recently, like try to expand on our sound a little bit more and do different stuff. Ian’s one of our best friends, he’s playing bass tonight, because our actual bassist is away on holiday, so we’re a four piece tonight. It’s been great being a five-piece and having someone else to work with, and he’s actually really good at music, the rest of us are really shit at music. [laughs]
Faye: I’ve seen you a couple of times before, supporting H2O in Kingston, what is it that makes Kingston so special for shows?
Will: That H2O show at the Fighting Cocks was so hot! It was so horrible, I didn’t want to move. It’s weird, because in other cities like Southampton, metalcore bands outnumber the punk bands like 10-1, and in Kingston, it’s the opposite. They’ve got like ten punk bands for every one metalcore band, it’s awesome.
Faye: You weren’t originally supposed to be on this tour with A Loss For Words and LYU, how’s it been going?
Will: Yeah, we were just on tour with an American band called Hit The Switch in Europe and we got an email asking if we wanted to jump on it, and we jumped on because we had a gap. It’s been really cool, A Loss For Words are really good, it’s not normally the crowd we’d play to, but it’s been really good, there’s so much variation. Every band on this tour like LYU, us and A Loss For Words all sound completely different. It’s cool, but there’s some nights you play to really young kids because they’re a pop-punk band and they look at you kind of strangely.
Faye: It seems like you’re touring more and more now, are you aiming to become a full band?
Will: Yeah, about four months ago, we made the decision to pack in all of our shit and start to make music, we have no idea how long it’s going to last for, but we’re just going to try have fun. It’s the only time in our life where we can do what we want to do, and not have to worry about anything else. I’m only 22, so I’ve got a few years left before I have to think about career stuff, but Chris and Gary are a bit older, they’re like 27/28 and had careers, and packed it in and moved all their shit into their parents houses.
Faye: What makes you want to pack everything in and do it full-time?
Will: I don’t know, I just feel empty when we’re not creating something, it’s a little void. I think it’s the reason I started going to shows in the first place, to fill in that gap and now the longer I spend away from not doing this, the more miserable I become, so doing it more and more keeps me positive and it keeps me creating. It’s awesome. It’s hard, though, when I go home, I haven’t got a bedroom, I haven’t got anywhere to stay, I just sofa-surf at my dad’s house. All of my possession are in my dad’s garage and I’ve been trying to sell my CDs on tour to make some more money. It’s not horrible, it’s really, really good, I get to perform every night and I’m with my best friends, so I can’t complain, I’m having a great time at the moment. It could fall apart at any minute, but at the moment, we’re making it work somehow.
Faye: I recently read on your Facebook that you’ve finished your next record.
Will: Yeah, we’ve just done a new record called Last Light, we had to do some tweaks yesterday, but it’s all done. It’s a bit different to what we’ve done before, we’ve totally sold out… [laughs] Honestly, sometimes I feel in a genre like punk, it can have more rules to it than anything else, and sometimes it can box you in, and I just didn’t want to get to that point where we were writing songs for other people. I wanted to write songs that were relevant to us, so instead of drawing on bands we’ve got into the last five years, we started drawing on bands we got into originally. I think it sounds a lot like Alkaline Trio, Bouncing Souls, AFI and even like Taking Back Sunday [laughs], than it sounds like bands like Kid Dynamite, Lifetime or Shook Ones and stuff like that. It wouldn’t be honest of me to write something anything other like that, so all of us are really, really excited about the record, but at the same time, we know some people are going to be like, “This isn’t hardcore!” But all my favourite bands, like The Damned, constantly make fresh and invigorating records each time and AFI, they’re constantly making different records.
Faye: When’s the new record going to be released?
Will: Well, at the moment, we’re in a difficult position, we don’t really know what to do, because I’m not sure how excited we are about releasing an EP again, which is going to happen because that’s that we’ve recorded, but we wanted to do a full-length. This is like a stepping stone to get to where we wanted to be, I think this will help us to progress and help us to learn dynamics and techniques, it’s just a big stepping stone for our next release. We might release it for free download and I was thinking of maybe having a Southampton or Kingston release show and having a certain amount of physical copies, like when you buy a ticket, you get a copy, like a collectors type-of-thing. Then whatever label we end up on, because Banquet is pretty much going to disband, but I think we’re going to be alright, we’ve been speaking to other people. I’m excited, every single time you record something and you’re real proud of, you just get real excited and as of late, I’ve just been so fucking stoked.
Faye: You only released your debut album last September, what made you want to write and record something else so quickly?
Will: I’m really happy with Live, Love, Let Go and really proud of it, but it was kind of a document of a real sad point in my life. It took a year-and-a-half to write those short songs [laughs], it shouldn’t have, but we cared about the songs so much, so by the time we had released it and played them, they were really old to us. I always want to write and progress, I think it’s really good to always keep moving forward, I’d like to be a band that constantly does that.
Faye: Is it still as posi as Live, Love, Let Go?
Will: Yeah, we’re never going to escape from that, we’re positive guys. I don’t really know how to explain it, it’s strange, I’ve been trying to work on my voice and be a better singer, and some of the things I’ve been singing about are sadder this time round. It’s quite a sad record, I guess. It begins sad and it closes sad, but there’s positive bits to it too, I don’t know. For me, it’s a concept record in a sense that I wrote it about nights out where you over think things. We were at a stage where we’d go out every night and we’d go to the same club with the same people that I didn’t really want to be seeing and I just kind of ended there in a rut, doing the same thing, going to work, going to the same club, the music was shit and I was drinking myself into oblivion just thinking about stuff, so I wrote all these songs in that hour. It’s sort of reflective for me. It’s important still, if anything, it’s more important than the last record.
Faye: What are your thoughts on the current UK punk scene?
Will: The UK punk scene is better than it’s ever been right now with bands like Bangers, Break The Habit, The Don Ramos Players – their new record is great and I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys, they’re awesome. Leagues Apart are fucking sick, Calvinball are awesome as well and we played with a really good bands the other night, I’d never heard of them before, they’re called Losing Streak. Pacer, obviously, and The Ghost of a Thousand, fucking hell, awesome band. There’s so many good bands right now in the UK punk scene, it’s a really good time in UK punk rock. I just hope it continues and doesn’t drop off the map again.
Faye: Haven’t you just started your own webzine?
Will: Yeah, I’ve literally just started it, I’m really bad at it, every one’s telling me how to do it still. I think I’ve got too much time on my hands, like right now, sitting around doing nothing. We’ve been on tour for like three months or something now pretty much consistently and had five days off, so I just want to fill my spare time with something productive and started to interview people I know and bands I like from overseas, help give them exposure while I’m doing nothing.
Faye: I remember Our Time Down Here once having a Hulkamania rip-off t-shirt, but with ‘OTDHmania‘ printed on, are you a fan of wrestling?
Will: I’m a huge wrestling fan, I go online everyday and read about it. I watched Night of Champions the other night which was cool. Right now, WWE is the shit, it’s so good. I watched SmackDown the other night at my dad’s, he records it when I get back, the Undertaker and Kane feud is great, but when they showed a promo for the feud, like their whole history from the nineties and wrestling was so much better then. Weirdly enough, one of the reasons why I connected with A Loss For Words so well is because their bassist, Mikey, he’s a massive wrestling fan. I keep up-to-date with Fighting Spirit Magazine and Power Slam magazine, I love pro-wrestling so much. It’s the worst thing though, because I remember when my last girlfriend first came over to my house for the first time and there was all my wrestling stuff, and it’s really not cool for a girl to see. [laughs] NXT is the best thing they’ve done in a long time, but I’m not sure on the divas one. There’s certain things I don’t like about wrestling, the sexism in wrestling is pretty ridiculous, with the divas all having boob jobs and they’re not really wrestlers, they’ll have a pillow fight while the men will have a cage match. I liked it back in the day when they had Sable, Lita, Chyna and Trish Stratus, she was fucking sick.
Faye: Back to band stuff, what do you have planned after this tour?
Will: We’re touring until the end of the year and since we don’t have jobs, we’re trying to stay on the road as much as we can, so after this tour we go on tour and the worst thing is I can remember the name of the band we’re touring with. We’re doing UK tours up to December and then we go back to mainland Europe and the last time we went there, it was so humbling, everyone had learned the words and helped us sing a long. We were over in 2004, and it was cool, but no one knew who you were, but this time round, kids were helping us out so that was cool.
Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Will: The band I’m listening to the most right now is a band called Energy on Bridge Nine, they’re fucking awesome. They have an EP coming over Walk Into The Fire and I’ve heard a demo of one of the songs and it’s awesome, it’s going to be great. They’re friends with A Loss For Words as well, so we’ve been trying to get them to come over and hopefully we can get them to come tour with us. I’ve emailed them a bunch of times emailing them personally and I did an interview with Tank the singer for my webzine, and he’s a cool guy, so hopefully we can get them over. I’ve been listening to a lot of old bands right now, like the Dead Boys. I like The Wonder Years a lot as well, they’re really, really cool and I think their lyrics are great. Their new record The Upsides is great, I listen to it every day when I wake up to posi up. A band from Southampton called Kerouac, who are fucking rad, and also a band from Soupthampton called the The Long Haul, who are real good. My friend Giles has been doing something really good under the name Cynics, I got his record the other day, even though it’s been out for a while, it’s really good.
– Faye Turnbull.
Catch Our Time Down Here on their upcoming tour with Fighting Fiction, for dates, visit their MySpace: www.myspace.com/ourtimedownhereuk
To read Will’s new webzine, check it out here: http://privateradioblog.tumblr.com/