Somojo Magazine

Talk to Angels

Enemies Closer EP - release date set of Monday 18th October.
Debut album This Broken Home to be released 2011

Hi, how are you?
I am very well thank you. We just got back from a tour of Scotland and the north of England and Scotland which was a lot of fun!

Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
I am Craig Kaye, singer and guitar player of Talk To Angels, there's Chris Robbins who plays bass, Mickey Dale who plays keyboards and Jamie who plays the drums.

How long has the current band line up been together?
We have been together for about 3 and a half years now.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn?t yet heard you?
We make a huge noise, loud guitars, fuzzy synths, lots of big ideas! We are very passionate about the music and I think that comes across when people hear us. We're quite intense musically and as people.
Recently people have been singing along with us at shows which is amazing considering we have yet to release the EP!

What have you been up to recently?
We have just been on tour which is always loads of fun getting to play to a new audience every night. We finished mixing our debut EP a couple of months back which comes out on the 18th of October on our very own Warp Speed Carousel label. We are very excited about that and the way things are going generally.

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
We plan to play live as much as possible up and down the country, and we are adding final touches to our debut album which we will release in 2011. And we are already writing songs for the second album, so it's all go in our world.

How did you meet each other?
I met Chris and Jamie at School. We formed a band there and I met Mickey at his Christmas house party in late 2006. Once everyone had left and gone home, Mickey and I stayed up drinking and talking about the bands we both love like Weezer, Bunnymen and Nirvana. I had heard that Mickey has a recording studio under his house and asked if I could have a look. We both wandered into his basement to be faced with a load of car parts, lawnmowers and the usual basement crap. We battled into the control room and found this huge old mixing desk gathering dust. he'd been so busy with his other band Embrace that he never got chance to use it. I made an offer to help tidy up the studio in return for some time in there, which Mickey accepted. A few weeks later we began recording and we never stopped! The studio is now used almost everyday. It's our home really.

How did you come up with your name for the band?
Once we had recorded the first batch of songs with Mickey, we decided to build a new myspace to show people what we had done, and Mickey suggested we find a new name. It was inspired by the Black Crowes song, She Talks To Angels, which I adore.

Did you always want to be in a band?
I have wanted to be in a band for as long as I can remember, growing up listening to The Pixies, Nirvana and The Clash. I always loved music and I love writing it. For me that's the best part of being in a band, the writing process.

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Lots of different music. my Mum and Dad were punks so I listened to bands like The Clash, The Jam, The Pixies. And I listened to bands like Alkaline Trio, Blink 182, Brand New and Weezer... as well as some cheesy pop! Hanson's first album!

How long have you been involved with writing & performing music?
About 7 years. I learnt how to play guitar and I was instantly in love with performing and writing music. I play my guitar and write as often as I can.

What were your first music making experiences?
I performed with Jamie and Chris playing covers at school and any local pub that would have us.

Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
I taught myself, and I learn a lot from my band members too!

What is your current equipment?
I use a line six POD XT live foot-pedal for the effects, a Fender Telecaster and a Fender Jaguar as well as an Epiphone Les Paul. We have a range of amps but the one I use the most is Mickey's old 1970's Orange head with a Hayden 2 x 12 cabinet.

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Everything I already have like the guitars I use are perfect for the sound I want. Maybe I would get some extra pedals and I would love to have somebody make me a super dirt pedal just with one big button on it that says DIRT!

Talk to Angels

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?

In the studio its more of a place to experiment and try new things, so we try to stay outside the norm when recording.

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
Each track brings out different ideas and emotions in me which leads the song down its own unique path. We try to keep things as varied as possible in both the writing and recording. It means we stay fresh and excited, and also it means people cannot easily pigeon-hole us!

Which software/recording process do you use?
We use a huge old 70's analogue mixing desk and some old compressors etc, but the main device is Pro Tools. It's very flexible and allows us to try a wide range of ideas and song structures. We have discussed recording on tape too, but that's as far as we got, just talking about it.

Would you sign with a major record company?
I think with the way the industry is now, you don't have to sign to anything. It's in our hands now. The harder we work, the more we will get out of it, so no I don't think I would, unless the deal was very carefully put together, allowing us creative freedom and reflecting the fact that we pay for all the recordings as we have our own studio.

Do you have any new recordings planned?
Yeah we have a new song that we plan to record soon called "I am King Here". We played it on our recent tour and it went down a storm each night. The support bands were walking around singing it constantly! It's a shiny 4 minute pop gem with a lot of balls and attitude too. Looking forward to recording it soon!

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
Mickey is the driving force in the studio, and out of the studio too. As producer, he knows what he wants and how to get it coming from the speakers. We all throw in our ideas for overdubs and how the song is structured. It's a free for all, with Mickey having overall say of the final piece of work. He has the most experience.

Is the production side of things something you?d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
I don't think I would. I like to just pick up my acoustic guitar and write songs, I don't have the ears for mixing or producing.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
It does get easier for sure. The studio can be like a magnifying glass and so things have to be more precise than they are when we play live. When everything is precise, the recordings sound a lot bigger and the more time you spend in the studio, the more you know what's required in terms of quality of playing and singing. It's not always enjoyable. It's a process. It can be fun, but I don't enjoy the studio like Mickey or Chris do. They are like mad scientists in there!

Do you try to capture your 'live' sound on recordings or do you think that the 'live' sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
I think they should be different experiences. I like shows when people can see something go wrong or something out the norm happens. When the unexpected happens, then that show is more memorable, whether it's interaction with the audience, or something breaks... In any case, I think the studio is a wonderful place to let your imagination run wild, and so we don't worry about how we may not be able to recreate a particular studio effect or overdub on stage. There's a ton of gear out there to make that possible anyway, or we can just do a different version of that song.

Do you have any favourite tracks from your album?
This Broken Home is the last track and I think that is my favourite song. It's the one I am most proud of.

Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Mickey and I do most of the writing, either at the piano with an acoustic, or in the studio where there's a bigger range of sounds and toys to play with. The most recent of the new songs have been mostly Mickey and I making demos, and then adding bass and drums to them, but sometimes when we are all together rehearsing, we'll start jamming our ideas. This Broken Home was written that way. Either way, once the music is written, I then go and lock myself away to write the lyrics.

Do you have a method for writing songs?
Always music first, then words. We're just looking for music which has a strong mood. If it feels as though it's taking us somewhere, then we'll pursue it to a conclusion, then decide if it's good enough. We are strong critics of ourselves!


Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Yes, always. It has to be something you feel to write it.

Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Both. I think I find it easy the more personal the song is because it's like an outlet for emotions.

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Kurt Cobain if he was still with us. And Robert Smith of The Cure.

Who are your favourite songwriters?
Kurt Cobain, Jesse Lacy of Brand New, and Joe Strummer.

Which countries have you gigged in?
All over, USA, France, England, Scotland.

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
USA again! It's an amazing country.

Who would you like to tour with?
Weezer! I recently saw them live at Leeds festival and they blew me away.

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Apart from playing live, which is still the fun way to do it, we have a website, a Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Bandcamp, Last FM, etc etc.

Which music promotion websites do you use and do you have a favourite?
See above...

Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
I think they can be, but there are so many bands out there all trying to be noticed, it's like everyone is screaming.

How do you relax?
Usually in my bedroom sitting back with my acoustic guitar and watching a film.

Have you ever entered any 'battle of the bands' competitions?
Yeah when I was 15 years old. I don't like them now, even although we did win ;-)

What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
I think my best was at a hometown show hearing the whole room sing our song back to us. Worst? not sure really. I don't think I've had one so far, touch wood.

Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Yeah, every show! I think it's good to be nervous, and I don't do anything to calm down. Deep breath and GO!!!

What are your day jobs if you have them?
I don't have a job at the moment. I concentrate on the band full time and the rest of the boys are the same. Jamie is at Liverpool university.

Would you like to be full time working musicians or are you happy with things as they are?
We are full time working musicians, just not earning a living from it at the moment.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Not that I am aware of but I would love it to be. We all love how music can have such a big impact within a film, and we'd like to think that some of our music would work very well in film or TV. Mickey does string arranging and has worked on a soundtrack before, conducting the orchestra for the closing piece of music, which is pretty cool!

Is composing for film or TV something you?d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
I would love to.

Is there anything you'd like to add?
Only to say thank you for asking us these questions, and we hope your readers will check out Talk To Angels, either on the internet or better still at a live show.

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