This Town Needs Guns
With band members including an ex-librarian, ex-graphic designer, ex-website publisher, and a current school teacher, it's no big surprise that UK newcomers This Town Needs Guns are raising the bar in complex, mind-bending math-rock. Kicking off 2011 with their debut on Australian soil as part of the Soundwave Festival, guitarist Tim Collins says TTNG are on a mission to cover all four corners of the globe by this year's end.
"Last year we went to America for the first time and we were quite frightened to be honest," laughs Collins. "You just don't know what you're going to get when you're going to a place for the first time, and we were actually expecting the worst. We had no expectations for the shows, we figured probably nobody had even really heard of us, we thought we'd get there and nobody would show up for the gigs… But it was awesome! Actually it was quite overwhelming because we ended up having a couple of sold out shows. It was quite a crazy welcome."
Collins hopes the same will apply to the boys' first ever Australian visit this month, but more than anything he admits to his strange fascination with our native wildlife…
"Well, I am a primary school teacher so I really hope I get some time off to go see the traditional wildlife of Australia!" he laughs. "I admit that I've actually quite enjoyed the big break from school especially over Christmas and with touring. I'm not sure how everyone has survived the amount of traveling that we've done but it's been a fun ride so far and it pays the rent! For me, Soundwave is going to be quite a milestone for the band just because we're on the bill with so many big bands. Who wouldn't want to see Iron Maiden? There's a lot of bands that I've never heard of before so hopefully I'll be blown away by some new music too."
Likewise - Aussie crowds are likely to have the same reaction over TTNG's own jaw-dropping brand of complex drumming, emotive melody and dizzying guitar work. First making their mark on the UK underground with debut album Animals two years ago, Collins says the band's follow-up album has been taking a little longer than expected. As the guitarist points out, it's been a case of trial and error.
"With my favourite bands in the past, I've never understood before how you could possibly take so long to release an album," he laughs. "I totally get it now… We've already spent a few years now on this album and we're hoping it will come out later this year, but we'll see. We've been realising how much work actually goes into recording this second time now; we've fallen behind a little bit because there is so much to juggle between just the four of us. Sometimes you hear people talking about that 'dreaded sophomore' album, and now we're kind of getting what they mean - there is so much to live up to, it's the second album that has all the expectations looming."
Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that the music itself has been developing into something a lot more technical ever since Animals' release. Moving away from a focus on distortion and melodies, Collins claims the band are all about the complex time signatures and intricate guitar stylings three years on after their debut.
"Yes, it does get pretty technical at times, but to me, I still see this band as indie more than anything," offers Collins. "When you talk about 'math rock', it makes me think of much heavier bands than us, it makes me think of a lot of progressive stuff too. It's more about the media and making it easier for the public to distinguish between different styles, I guess, I don't think many bands care about the categories or definitions that are given to them by journalists. I'm also not a big fan of people going on about us being particularly 'artistic' because as far as I am concerned, we're making music and not necessarily trying to be geniuses."
Even still, it's hard not to be impressed by TTNG's highly successful debut or get excited about the prospect of a follow up. In fact, according to Collins, Australian audiences will be among the first to get a bit of a taste-test of album number two.
"We've probably got enough new songs so far to play at least half a set with, but I don't think that would be fair to the people who went out and bought Animals then came to see us at Soundwave.
"That's one of the most annoying things you can do to your fans - people pay good money to see their favourite band and they don't hear any of the songs they've come for. It's happened to me. We'll give the fans a little treat though and we might try out only a few of the new songs. It's probably the best thing to do for ourselves as well, if the fans hate it then the new album might take even longer. I definitely hope not."
THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS play SOUNDWAVE along with Iron Maiden, Slash, Slayer, Queens Of The Stone Age, Primus, Melvins and heaps, heaps more at the Melbourne Showgrounds on Friday March 4. It's sold out - but check out all the info at soundwavefestival.com. THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS, however, also play a Sidewave at The Toff In Town on Wednesday March 2 - get your tickets from moshtix.com.au 1300 GET TIX and Moshtix outlets. Animals is out now.