Hailing from Manchester, The Longcut are a new breed of band. Picking and choosing the best elements of wide range of genres, from punk through to electronica and even hardcore jazz, they simply cannot be pigeonholed. Having signed to Deltasonic, they’re stepping up the pace with their debut album ‘A Call and A Response’, out now. Combining atmospheric instrumentals with exciting melodies, they’re a band that are constantly evolving with every track.
Drummer/singer Stuart Ogilvie took some time out to chat about life, festivals, the new records, and update Crossfire’s Dee Massey on what’s going down in the land of ‘The Longcut’…
Right where shall we start? You guys have just finished a tour?
Yeah we finished on the 25th May. It was really good, we played more shows than we’ve ever done, there were 20 dates on it and it was quite hard going sometimes. But we were seeing more people turning up for the gigs and stuff, which was good, and the Manchester gig were amazing.
That’s your home town right?
And you guys all met at university right? How did that all come about.
I was looking for a band when I first moved to Manchester and…oh hang on..I’m going to go to a quieter room, there’s someone playing drums next door .. Anyway..so I looked around for a year or so ..and eventually met this guy who wanted to sing in a band, so we were said we’d get a band together. Then one of the girls I lived with at uni knew someone off her course who played guitar and that was Lee [Gale]. So I listened to his demo tape and thought it was brilliant. And the singer knew John [Fearon] through working at Student Direct, the newspaper. So that’s how we all got together and eventually Mark our singer left, and we were left as a three piece. We started playing instrumentals and after a few months I started singing..
And you’re the drummer too? So you just have a mic over your drum kit?
The mic’s at the front of the stage..
And you run backwards and forwards?
[laughs] Yeah, basically!
Keeps you fit! Where did the name The Longcut come from?
It’s from a song a song title from another band actually. Do you know a band called Uncle Tupelo? I was listening to their album quite a bit, their ‘Best of’ and we booked this gig, out first even gig, like a battle of the bands type thing. We only had to play two songs, and we didn’t have a name, so we chose that one just as a temporary name, and we just forgot to change it afterwards [laughs].
You’re now signed to Deltasonic? How did that all come about?
Basically we’d done the demo up at John’s house in Cumbria, over the holidays one time. A couple of our mates, the guy who produced it and the guy who did the art work for it – I mean we weren’t trying to get a deal with it, we were just trying to get more gigs! But [they]..sent it out to a load of labels for us because they thought we’d never do it ourselves, and they were probably right! So we got a phone call off Deltasonic one day and it was really surprising as we didn’t know they’d even heard of us. They asked if they could come down to the rehearsal room. They came down one day and we’d just finished writing ‘Quietly‘, so we played that for them first and that was the first time anyone’s ever heard it apart from us, and they were bouncing around the room really getting into it..and it’s just been really good since then! We were actually working with them for a year and a half before we even signed the deal, it’s a really good kind of relationship that we have with them, we were free to walk away at any time, but of course we chose not to [laughs]
And you’ve got your new album coming out on Monday? [12th June – out NOW!]
Now..you started recording that with Craig Silvey? So without putting you in an awkward situation, why did you end up going with Jonny Dollar and not using Craig’s mixes?
Um..I think that the mixes that Craig did were really..um…..I think what he does when he mixes is he makes everything a lot more clinical than how we’d recorded it. For a lot of bands that works and it’s great, but it didn’t really work for our album, so that’s why we got Dave Sitek, because he generally tends to make things sound a lot dirtier [laughs]
So you guys must’ve got really involved with the mixing and the production? That’s great that Deltasonic let you keep so much artistic control.
Oh absolutely – that’s always been the great thing about doing stuff with them.
And do you prefer being in the studio or on tour?
Um..I think they both have their ups and their downs to be honest. I can’t say I prefer either of them. It’s always get to get used to being on tour and it’s always good to go out on tour when you’ve been stuck in the studio so I just really enjoy everything about being in a band, I really do. I can’t really say that one part’s more enjoyable than the other.
I got a listen of your album yesterday and it’s different to anything else out there, there’s strains of Fugazi, Mogwai and these stunning instrumentals – how would you describe your sound?
Oooh. Difficult one. We listen to a lot of different types of music, I think it’s all ripped off into what we do [laughs]. I think if I was going to describe our music I’d say that it’s more about… the attitude we take, we try not to do anything half-arsed basically. I think that’s the most important thing about recording and everything, writing for us, and I think that’s us..as well as being rock music with drum..vocals..sometimes instrumentals…and some keyboards. so yeah..we’re not half arsed! [laughs]
So how was South by South West this year?
It was great. It was the second time we’ve been, we went the year before.
Aaw..I so want to go there next year..I hear it’s great fun..
Oh you should..it’s amazing. We didn’t actually do much partying this year, last year we went and it we had such a great time all the time, going to different parties and going out to do loads of different stuff. This year was more about playing really good gigs and doing the best we could while we were out there. We…played our main gig and it was pretty amazing for us, we playing in exactly the same place as we did last year, and the year before there were a few people there, a few people were getting into it but it wasn’t that exciting. This year it seemed like everyone who was there last year had come back with about five mates, and it was absolutely rammed.
Do you find UK and American audiences very different?
It’s hard to tell right now because at the moment because no one really knows us in America. I think the few times we have played in America, apart from the SXSW show the American audience have been like the audiences at the first few British gigs that we did. When people don’t really know you that well and they’re hesitant to really get into something when they don’t know the songs, it’s a bit more like that. I mean we did have quite a few positive reviews and a lot of people came up to us after the shows, but it’s still quieter than UK at the moment, but hopefully that’ll change the more time we spend over there.
So what’s been your most memorable show?
Most memorable..it’s so hard to choose. Thinking about the big ones I never thought we’d do, I think last year’s festivals – like Glastonbury was amazing. We were there for the whole weekend and we managed to avoid the rain. We got there the day after so we got a spot for our tents quite high up..we were there the whole weekend..
So you were camping as well?
That’s so cool..you camp for a while..go off, play your set and come back to your tent!
It was alright actually [laughs] We hung out with loads of other bands from Manchester, Nine Black Alps and The Earlies were there as well, so we just hung out with them at the bar backstage..and then the gig was pretty good too [laughs].
That’s so rock star! Camping with the crowds and hanging out backstage!
[laughs] Nooo…not really!
You’ve changed you have..
[laughs]No I haven’t!
Did you always want to be in a band?
Yeah, since I was about twelve..
What kind of bands did you listen to then, and when you were growing up?
The first band that I really listened to were Nirvana, they were the band who really got me into rock music, and then I went through a dodgy grunge stage, and a bit of a dodgy metal stage…
I’m still in my dodgy metal stage, I saw Guns n Roses last night and I’m still on a high!
[laughs] Well I was never a Guns n Roses fan funnily enough but yeah…[laughs] when I got a bit older, about 16 /17 I started getting away from all the super heavy stuff, and starting listening to more bands like Sonic Youth and bands that still had that heaviness to them, but used it in different ways. It had more of an emotional core to it and that got me more into American indie like The Shins, which is similar to the kind of stuff I listen to now.
What bands do you listen to on the tour bus now?
This morning I got up and put Boris on [laughs] But we listen to loads of different stuff, stuff like Boris, DJ Shadow, The Shins, Sonic Youth, sometimes jazz…actually no..I never listen to jazz! I don’t know why I said that..
Well it sounds intellectual…
[laughs] Yeah..actually have you heard of a band called Acoustic Ladyland? They’re like the closest thing that I listen to that’s like jazz. I think they’re from London and they all have jazz backgrounds but they all got into rock music, and it’s really really like hardcore jazz, which takes about three or four listens to really get into it, but I’m a huge fan of theirs.
I’ll have to look them up …..So what’re you hopes for the next year or so?
I think we want to be making our next album this time next year.
Do you think you’ll stay in England for it or escape abroad and do a residential somewhere?
It’d be fun to go to America and do something there but it really depends on how well the albums sell, and how much money the record company will give us to do that..but it’d be really nice to go somewhere else, get out of the country for a bit and see how that works out. I’m sure it’ll be fun wherever we do it!
Right – I’ve got some totally random questions now..
As a drummer, who’s your favourite drummer of all time?
I’d have to say…..well one of my favourite drummers growing up was Dave Grohl by miles and miles and miles..
Were you at Reading last year? He played drums..
Last summer I walked past him about four times and never got brave enough to talk to him! [laughs] I saw him so much last summer and I just never got the guts to say anything to him. I’d have probably just been a little fan boy and started kissing his feet..and be really embarrassing..[laughs]
What is your favourite pizza topping?
Pepperoni and mushroom.
Who’s the most annoying member of the band on the tour bus?
Erm..probably me. I’ll say that to avoid arguments.
If you were turned into an animal..what would it be?
I’d have to say a monkey..[laughs]
Any particular reason?
Erm..I don’t think I should go into it!
Ok ok..let’s not even go there! What’s the most embarrassing thing to even happen to you on stage?
I almost fell off the back of a stage once when I was drunk and dancing! That was in transition when I got up to sing. Also at another gig I just forgot the words completely [laughs]
What’s been your freakiest fan experience? Have you been stalked yet?
Yeah – when we were in Japan we had a couple of fans outside the hotel in the morning which was really weird. Another weird one was when we were at Fuji last year, Japanese people seem to be really into taking fans with famous people, and there was this one guy who saw that we had band passes on, he was actually some American guy who was filming a documentary, he was just filming and because he was filming us we had about 20 Japanese people come up and ask us to take photos with them and stuff. So we were doing all that and there was this one girl, after she’d had about ten photos taken with us, she asked us who we were. So I got my pass out and showed her and gave a little scream and jumped about five feet in the air, and pulled both of our EPs our of her bag! She was a big fan, she had our EPs but she had no idea what we looked like..she just had them on her incase she bumped into us [laughs] So then we had like another fifty photos taken with her and signed everything she had!
What’s your favourite festival?
Either Glastonbury or Fuji last year. Glastonbury because it was just so much fun all weekend, but Fuji was just something else completely, it was just beautiful everywhere, and there was no litter, even after two days of festivals. There were all these beautiful fields and little streams, the sort of stuff you expect to see in films.
Are you going to head back there this year?
This year no, but hopefully next year.
Are you playing any festivals this summer?
Um..we’re doing Latitude Festival in Sussex, and we’re doing D-Percussion in Manchester, and Kill All Hippies in London. But other than that, we missed out on Reading and Leeds this year which was quite disappointing.
Are you going to head down anyway?
I don’t know..its sold out now, and no one I know can really afford a ticket!
But you’re in a band! Can’t you blag your way in?
You’d think so! But it’s difficult!
And lastly..what is your guilty pleasure..keep it clean..
[laughs] Erm…ok then..Mars Delights!