Sometimes bands are contacted via conventional means for these gigs; email, Facebook, mailing pigeon etc. Sometimes however arrangements are made a little bit left of the field. One of my Daughter’s friends Parent’s mentioned that they were involved with a band and could they play at Youth Anthems. Once I heard it was The Seven Inches I couldn’t believe my luck. I’m sure most of you know the band but if not then get on over to a little website called Google and find the Seven Inches’ page to fill your ears with wonder, joy, hope, the spirit of rebellion and hooks, hooks, hooks galore!
Now give us a proper history. I mean how does a band like The Seven Inches come to be?
Ian: Well, it’s no unusual story. Most music fans want to be in a band, and if you find enough people who want to be in a band with you, you can do it. We were a trio who had a member who was good at putting on gigs, and when people liked our songs, they asked to join and so we gradually got more personnel. We’ve had some lineup changes over the years. People wonder why we don’t break up and start a new band, but if we did we’d just be mostly the same people again playing the same kind of songs so we might as well keep calling it the Seven Inches. Even though it’s an awful name (sorry about that).
For people not familiar with the term ‘Indie-Pop’ what does it mean to you? Who would you consider to be your peers in the Leeds scene?
Ian: All bands hate being asked what type of music they play because all bands privately think they are unique and unclassifiable. We have latched onto the term “indiepop” (hyphenated or no) because we have played with a lot of indiepop bands and indiepop fans tend to like us. We have some softer numbers with major seventh chords (that’s that really blissed-out sounding chord) and some melodica, a cliché of a certain period of indiepop. The style originated in the 1980s I understand. I think I know it when I hear it but I can’t define it. We play in lots of different styles, though it probably all sounds the same to people who don’t like us. Finnmark! is another ace Leeds indiepop band (conflict of interest alert!).
Whenever we tell people that you’re playing a Youth Anthems gig, the main consistent response is ‘Oooo that’ll be interesting’. Should we be worried?
Ian: We are flattered to have name recognition, though they may be confusing us with someone else? We are very nice and child friendly. If fact we’d probably be more popular with children than adults due to our primary-colour unsubtlety. Maybe these people mean it’ll be interesting because they’ll be seeing us live for the first time, because we’re not very good at getting gigs booked.
Music aside, the main attraction at Youth Anthems’ gigs is That Old Chestnut’s cakes so what are the cakes of choice for the members of The Seven Inches?
Ian: I like any but lemon.
Owen: I’m quite partial to anything with ginger in it, or a nice rich Guinness cake. Or battenberg. Pretty much anything actually. Cake.
Bryn: Mine would be a Black Forest gateau. Mmmm cherries and cream…… Mmmm. Bugger. Now I want cake.
Emily: Carrot! All the way! X
Emil: APPLE CIDER SPICE CAKE
Shaun: Chocolate cake, wash down with a red wine
It strikes me that you all have quite some experience of being in bands and there also seems to be a few members of the band who also have Children so what advice would you give to young people looking to play some music for the first time?
Ian: There is in fact only one Seven Inch baby, and she is playing drums already! Our advice is just pick up an instrument and express yourself and see what happens. Without breaking the grown ups’ important rules of course!
The term D.I.Y music crops up a lot in bands we put on but what does it mean to you?
Ian: It means avoiding all the trappings of the music industry whose tales we have all heard around the campfire, how they are exploitative crass sexist boors who will remove every bit of joy and fun from your music and the band experience. And not playing those horrible battle of the band showcases where you beg all your friends to come so you’ll get paid, even though you know they’ll hate all the other bands on the bill and have a rubbish time. It’s a bit of a misnomer though, because it’s hard to do everything yourself. You always have a bit of help, and you don’t want to seem ungrateful.
Any parting words before we all meet you on Nov 1st?
Ian: We love Youth Anthems! We can’t wait! Our second album “The Seven Inches Test Their Mettle” is out shortly, details to be confirmed. And we don’t use an actual keytar, that’s just one of our cardboard props.