Hailing from Aberdeen, The Needles are one of those bands that are preceded by swaths of justified hype. Support slots for Muse, Young Knives and Bloc Party to name but a few have made their name as a dynamic live act, building up a solid fan base before they’d even released an album.
They’ve been bubbling under since their 2004 EP releases sold out, and are now coming into their own with debut album ‘In Search Of The Needles’, a punky, raw and exciting debut, but still found a few minutes to talk to Crossfire about John’s pheromones, rickets, psychedelic windscreen wipers and of course, soup.
The Needles formed at school and have been together ever since – how did the name come about?
We were briefly known as The Invisibles, then The Subvisibles. We did songs about the comedian Frank Skinner on an Amiga computer. It wasn’t very good.
Who were your main influences growing up? Who were your musical heroes?
We’ve all always loved savage Rock’n’roll music be it Little Richard, AC/DC, or whatever reminds you of the existence of your reproductive organs, alongside great pop songs that are like the entire universe coming together in perfect harmonious, lyrical, mathematical order for 2 minutes and 45 seconds, if only to remind you you’ve been dumped. You know the ones.
Do you feel that growing up far away from the London music scene helped or hindered you? [The Needles were based in Aberdeen]
It perhaps meant our heads were filled with less silly rubbish, but then again we probably filled that space with all sorts of parochial nonsense about Londoners being full of silly rubbish.
I’d imagine we’re just as famous as we would have been anywhere with a ginger singer.
You were described by one journalist as sounding like Weezer covering The Buzzcocks, how would you describe your sound?
I always though we sounded like 50’s Cliff after a good bumming, or maybe a bad soup. But then I’m probably the wrong person to ask. Too involved!
Haha! Quote of the Week there! You’ve supported some impressive bands, what’s been your most memorable show so far? Muse must have been amazing!
Muse was good cause we got to go up a ramp to the stage wearing towels around our necks like Elvis.
We also made some Goths so angry they wrote into the internet to complain. Each of these in my book is a measure of success.
And in those love shows – you’re apparently somewhat injury prone? Explain!
The physical world simply isn’t built for our mental and emotional funkiness. End of.
The new record – where did you record it, who produced it?
We recorded “In Search Of the Needles” at Sawmills studio in Cornwall. It was produced between ourselves and Tom Joyce, the engineer down there who is a very rocking gentleman and is almost certainly going to Heaven after putting up with us whingeing, drunken man-children when he could have easily murdered us out there and nobody would have known.
Do you maintain artistic control in the studio? Has the end product ended up sounding exactly how you wanted? Who writes most of your material?
I think it took us a couple of sessions to get cookin’ I think. I think it helped massively that Tom really clicked with how we play as a band and knowing when we had it or didn’t. Although there’s a bit of experimentation sound-wise with backwards this and flanged that what makes the record sound like The Needles is The Needles playing how The Needles play. Ie not Pro-Toolsed to buggery like every damn record these days.
We recorded it over a year ago and I think it’s a good document of those songs at that time. I think the next record will be quite a bit different though. But there wouldn’t be any point in making a next record if it wasn’t would there?
What do you prefer – touring or being in the studio?
I’ll go wherever needs me most. I usually consult my Owls before deciding.
Where were you the first time you heard your single on the radio?
The first time I ever heard the Needles on the radio I was in the bath pretending I was on the telly.
What’s the best part of touring? And the worst?
Worst is hard to choose at the moment but it’s definitely somewhere between the impetigo and the rickets.
Best is, obviously, the good shows.
If you could change one things about yourselves, what would it be?
Either the impetigo or the rickets I thinks.
Many bands have random items on their rider – what’s on yours?
I’d love a nice soup and it’s not often we get one.
What are your hopes for the next 12 months?
To get to make another record and to bring about world peace with guitar solos and cloaks like in Bill and Teds.
What’s been your most memorable experience with the band so far?
Probably King Tut’s gig last week. It was a really good show and it was also last week so it’s easy to remember.
Who smells the worst after a show?
After the show we smell of pheromones which apparently is good. It’s the next day when the bacteria kicks in you’ve got to worry.
Probably John though.
What are 3 essential items to take on tour?
A nice jumper – you might have to stay with an elderly relative. Kaleidescope windscreen covers -turn the M25 into a psychelic thrill ride! These might be illegal, but not as illegal as drugs. A ham sandwich -You’d be surprised how hard these are to find in this day and age.
If you could be asked any question, what would it be?
Would the amount of crisps ever eaten in the world be less than, greater than or equal to what you feel at the exact point of death.
Finally…any words of wisdom for the readers of Crossfire?
Shut up you big weirdos!
‘In Search of The Needles’ is out NOW.