Interview: Adelaide’s Cape

This interview was originally published in Issue #12, May 2010.

I’ve just finished work and it’s raining – so much so that people crowd under the usually deserted Broadgreen train station, edging towards the box office and shade, away from the sleet. I’m here to hop a train to Manchester, and then trudge from Victoria to The Deaf Institute, a quant and favoured venue that tonight will house Adelaide’s Cape, a Bath based band purveying in acoustic and luscious soundscapes.

As I approach the BBC Buildings and the venue, the sleet dissolves to an atmospheric rain - the kind that clings to your hair and face without ever forming a drop. It’s pretty dismal weather, but little could thwart my mood. As I enter the Institute, previously used as just that, there’s a nervous atmosphere of anticipation – staff wander aimlessly around the soon to be crowded floor, while the band recline on the auditorium seats at the back.

Sam Taylor and his band – on this particular evening consisting of Paul Hopkins, Danny Hurley and Aaron Gouldthorpe – are the least daunting musicians I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. Far from the norm, I get the feeling that I’m the intimidating party, but things quickly relax into a comfortable routine, as they answer my questions, deny the possession of a nearby spliff (“evidence of another band!”) and genuinely convince me that music means everything to them:

First of all, how did you get into music?

Paul Hopkins: I started off in a school band - we used to go around different schools and teach kids how to play bass guitar, and it caught on from there.

Danny Hurley: I started playing classical piano and a drum kit, and then I taught drums at a school in my gap year. I met these guys at University.

Aaron Gouldthorpe: Mine’s the same as Danny’s - I started playing drums with a steel band, like Caribbean music. It grew from there, I went to college, and I did seven different A-Levels in music!

Sam Taylor: I did GCSE and A-Level music at school.

Aaron: We all live in the same halls, and there’s quite a lot of musical talent around us…

Was that in Norwich?

Aaron: No, Bath Spa Uni.

Is that why you moved back to Bath, because it’s a base you have in common?

Sam: We’re still at Uni. We moved in together at the end of September.

How do you think Bath compares to the Norwich music scene?

Sam: Bristol is better than Bath. Bath isn’t bad, but it’s only really got two venues – Chameleon and Moles. Norwich has got loads, it’s got so much going on, it’s brilliant – it’s really similar to Bristol, and it’s got a river as well! I don’t dislike either of them, but I prefer Norwich, there’s more going on.

Which Bristol musicians do you get along with?

Sam: Rachael Dadd’s probably the person I’ve played with the most from Bristol, and Pete Roe, and we played with a band on Friday called Pepino.

Have you played any Bristol venues that you really like?

Sam: Yeah we did the Cube cinema with Rachael and Alessi’s Ark, and we did the Green Barge on Friday night. We’ve done that twice now, and the Louisiana and Mr Wolf’s for the Communion launch!

I tried to get to that, but it was on Mother’s day!

Sam: I got into a bit of trouble with my Mum for not phoning her that day.

You’ve recently been on support tours with Rachael Dadd, Alessi’s Ark and First Aid Kit – which was your favourite?

Sam: Rachael was probably my favourite.

Did you play those shows as a full band?

Sam: No, it was just me. I did a few shows with First Aid Kit - that was cool - in Norwich and Southampton, and the band and I went right across the country with Alessi. It was our first time touring, so it was good!

Where are you next playing on this tour, and what dates are you most looking forward to?

Sam: The next one is Glasgow tomorrow, and then we’re off to Belfast and Dublin on the weekend. That’s just me [playing solo] though, and then York and Leeds, and the whole of the South of England and Wales.

So it’s not full band on every date?

Aaron: We’re doing a mix of some of us, and all of us, and some of them are just Sam.

Sam: The last show is going to be at Moles in Bath, that’s a full band show, and we’re going to be doing a full band tour in June, I think.

Aaron: It’s coming on nicely anyway.

Would you make the full line up constant in the future, or is it solo intentionally?

Sam: It’s unintentionally, definitely.

Aaron: It’s kind of just happening as well, any chance we get to play full band, we will. I mean we’re missing two people right now, percussion and banjo…

Sam: We’ll hopefully get some more people involved in the band as well.

Aaron: Paul didn’t know we were playing until yesterday!

Paul: Yeah I was sick this morning, tummy ache!

Sam: We’re going to do festivals with everyone.

Which festivals have you got lined up at the moment?

Sam: The Tree House Festival, Secret Garden Party, amongst other ones that are being confirmed at the moment, and then Edinburgh Fringe Festival and things like that.

Is there any chance of you playing the Folk Festival in Bristol?

Sam: That’s quite far away! There’s a lot of stuff being confirmed at the moment. I think Secret Garden Party is the one we’re quite excited about, in Cambridge.

Would you prefer to play a festival rather than a small venue - which translates best with your music?

Paul: I really like the small packed out rooms.

Aaron: I think we’re all from such different backgrounds, and we haven’t played any festivals yet, so we don’t know!

Are you not all from a folk background, then?

Paul: I’m from Reading, so…

Aaron: I’m from Basingstoke, that’s even worse!

Paul: …I’ve been brought up in a rock scene which is now turning in to a big metal thing!

What do you think about the nu-folk label?

Aaron: I don’t really know what it means, so I can’t say. If I knew what it meant, then…I think it’s just a label at the time, you know, there are a lot of bands that try to do something new, but it’s actually a similar vibe [to what’s already going on]. I think that happens naturally.

Sam: It doesn’t really bother me.

Paul: We’re all too laid back!

Sam: I think we’re just acoustic, really. We’re doing some traditional songs on record in May, but we’re doing stuff of our own at the moment.

What inspires you to write the songs that you write?

Sam: I’m a creative writing student, so there are a few songs that were short stories and poems that turned into songs. I used to be far more politically active but I really can’t be bothered with that at the moment! A lot of the songs we’re playing now, as a band, I wrote quite a long time ago.

Do you have any new material lined up?

Sam: Yeah, we’re aiming to do another two EPs this year and hopefully do a full album next year. We haven’t written too much stuff together, but we’ve arranged it all together.

Aaron: There’s a musical influence, rather than a lyrical. But I think lyrics are what strikes the audience most.

Where do you prefer to record?

Sam: We record in our flat.

Aaron: We basically live in a cupboard each, and we’ve just recorded our whole EP in there.

What would be your ideal venue to record in?

Aaron: I own a studio back home in Basingstoke, but that’s a nice not-too-serious studio; it’s quite laid back. We want it to sound well produced, but we don’t want it too polished, we want to appeal to the folk scene with regards to production, so, something that’s not too posh and not too crap pretty much!

So you like to appeal, rather than going off and doing your own thing?

Sam: I think we’re interested in doing what we want to do, but the last EP was done fairly quickly - we recorded it in a week.

Aaron: …And there are loads of musicians around where we live. They would drop in and record a bit-

-like a collective?

Aaron: Yeah definitely!

Sam: Rory Gilmore, he sang on some of the songs, and he did a show with us. He’s going to play in Bath.

How will your future releases differ?

Sam: I want the next EP to be completely different - traditional, and stripped down - it’s literally different musically.

Danny: I think with the last EP we knew what we wanted to record, but we don’t really know what we want to do with this one yet.

Aaron: We allowed the recording [on Last Sleep in Albion] to change the songs.

Sam: The EP after the traditional one is going to be a full band EP, and it’s going to be quite different again.

Were you please with the critical reception that Last Sleep in Albion received? Were there any bad reviews?

Sam: Yeah I was, and I haven’t read any!

Aaron: There’s negative points, but in a positive way! I’m really happy that no one has noticed it was recorded in a cupboard.

Sam: One thing that was negative was about one of the tracks, but we all agreed on that anyway.

Did the launch night go okay?

Sam: Yeah it did. We had Hannah [Richardson, occasional percussionist] come on stage with us and she was really, really drunk.

Aaron: It set the mood though! When we went on stage everyone was sat on the floor, enjoying the folk - we got them to stand up which was a good thing.

They do that in here [The Deaf Institute] sometimes with the seats at the back.

Sam: Every gig we do now is completely different, because the line up changes so much.

Aaron: I think we’re all good musicians, we make it work!

Have you played Manchester before now?

Sam: This is the first time.

Aaron: I don’t think I’ve even been to Manchester before…

Will you ever do something completely different, like metal?

Aaron: I’d quite like to play something completely different in a different band.

Paul: I’d quite like to play drums in a band.

Aaron: We should actually do something, the fact that we’re all drummers…but we don’t.

Are there any other plans for the future?

Sam: I should definitely do some Uni work at some point!


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