If you pay attention to the U.K. music press, the next best indie acts are born hourly and every one is better than than the last. It’s all covered at such an insane rate you’d swear there couldn’t be instruments left to play, but Let’s Go Safari show they have the old school pop sensibilities to guide us into the modern age.
Batman, heads exploding, Mexican beer and terrible offers in Nashville: such is the life of Let’s Go Safari
Clive, one-quarter of LGS, sat down and responded to the questions I shot off. Having received my questions first, he won and opened up a little about the creative process, life on the road and the lads favourite post-gig drinks.
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): Born as a duo, forming eventually into the lineup that is known now, what made you and Ryan seek out other members?
Clive: Myself and Ryan formed Let’s Go Safari in 2010. Our original plan was to start out as a two-piece, playing the rest of our music through a laptop and eventually expand as we went along. About this time last year, we new that it was time to increase our numbers, so we set about finding a drummer and a bass player. The real reason was we were writing new material that was better suited to live drums and bass, and that playing with a laptop seemed to confuse audience members!
RMM: What’s the dynamic of a group of four as opposed to two?
Clive: Well, Ryan always used to say that he felt a bit lost just the two of us. Myself and Ryan are best mates, but now it feels like a gang! We all get along really well, and we’ve grown used to each other now and there’s a lot of piss-taking going around!
RMM: What are some must haves on the road? And, of course, some mustn’t haves?
Clive:When you’re properly on the road, a must have is a pillow! Sleeping on floors is bad, but it’s even worse without a pillow. But, generally, driving to gigs then driving home, as long as there’s an iPod we’re all happy. A mustn’t have is anything wrong with the car. First of all, for obvious reasons, second of all because certain drummers who really like cars don’t shut up about the strange noises going on!
RMM: Changing it up, we hear a lot of bands cite their favourite guitarists or singers, but what outside influences – obscure or not (if any) keep the band going?
Clive: For myself and Ryan, probably Batman. The build-up and the aftermath of the Dark Knight Rises was a massive talking point for us this year, and we’re always swapping books and comics. Oli had a bouncy ball collection as a kid, don’t know if that counts. . . .
RMM: Favourite post-gig eats?
Clive: Whatever we can get! If it’s local, probably be a Subway or Mac-ey D’s, but if we have to drive it’ll normally be some overpriced petrol station junk.
RMM: Your new single ‘BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer)’ was released last week; so, keeping that in mind – favourite post-gig drinks?
Clive:Well, pre-gig or post-gig it doesn’t really change much. Oli is still in the alchopop stage (he’s only 18 so he’s on the training-wheel drinks). James loves a good Budlight, Ryan is a JD-and-coke man and the occasional Crabbies Ginger Ale, and I’ll generally go for Spanish or Mexican beers, Desperados being the preferred choice. Failing that, a good Captain Morgan and coke.
RMM: Obviously our site is big on promoting up and coming acts, and indie bands. What are some wise words if you’re a kid and want to make being in a band your full time job?
Clive: I would say, first of all take our advice with a pinch of salt because none of us have ever made music our full-time job. But I would say practice. Make sure you’re either good at your instrument or good at songwriting. Very few people want to hear half-baked songs played in a half-baked way. If you seriously want to make being in a band your full-time job, then make sure that you know who you’re catering for. The only reason that some people make money playing music is because people buy that music. So as uncool as it sounds, you need to make music that people want to hear, and put as much of yourself into that as you can.
RMM: What was the first album you bought? And do you still hold it dear?
Clive: The first album that I bought was Robbie Williams I’ve been Expecting You when I was about ten. I don’t much care for Robbie anymore but I’ll still sing along to the songs if I hear them. The first album I remember buying that I still love is Warning by Green Day. So different from their other material, and I think it’s by far their best album.
RMM: Getting to the music: how’s that work? Who writes what, how much is impulsive, how much is planned?
Clive: Generally myself and Ryan write the tunes, although Oli is starting to chip in a bit. It’s almost always impulsive. American poet and author Charles Bukowski summed it up perfectly when he said, “You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more.” When you try to write something, it feels forced; but when it comes naturally, the excitement just takes over and it’s much easier.
RMM: Who is the U.K.’s top music genius?
Clive: The band Pete and the Pirates. Great songwriters – they make me incredibly jealous!
RMM: The nicest compliment the band’s received?
Clive: The best one I can remember for me, was a blog that said “Let’s Go Safari write simple, catchy tunes in a frighteningly complicated way,” and I was like, Yes! That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do! Day to day, I find the best thing is when people you know actually listen to your music, and they’re like, “Hey, I liked that, It’s pretty good,” and you know that they already wrote you off in advance, because people assume that their friends can’t possibly do anything good a lot of the time. So, when I hear something like that it always makes my day!
RMM: Any pre-gig warm ups? Yoga? Fist fights? Smashing mirrors? Truth or dare Madonna-style shenanigans?
Clive: Traditionally it’s me and Ryan’s multiple fag breaks, and the other two tag along for some reason though they don’t smoke! We really should warm up though. . . . Truth or dare sounds like a fun idea, but there would be dares flying around to do unseemly things on stage . . . .
RMM: Who’s the ultimate opening act? The marquee reads Let’s Go Safari with. . . .?
Clive: Jesus, that’s a hard question. We’re at the stage at the moment where we’re talking about our dream support slots not who we’d love to support us. But I’ll treat it the same way. For our own fanboyishness, playing with Pete and the Pirates, Born Ruffians or Maps and Atlases would be a dream come true. If we played with the Strokes, Ryan’s head might just explode!
RMM: Any plans to play North America any time soon?
Clive: If only – we’d love to come to North America. James is in love with the States, and Ryan spent a year in Canada, but currently there’s not enough demand! We did get asked to come and play in Nashville, but they were gonna pay us $70 which wouldn’t really cover the flights. . . .
And of course to end it all….
RMM: The bands presented a plaque, 12 white roses, and a bottle of 200-year-old scotch post – 2012 WORLD DOMINATION*. Smiling, the members look at the hefty piece of engraved brass: What does it read?
Clive: “They came, they saw, they got a little lost, took a wrong turning somewhere on the M-25, consulted the sat-nav, argued a bit about the condition of the vehicle they were driving, stopped for a coffee, they conquered.”
*As planned by the band on their official blog.