How would you describe your music for people who don’t know you?
Andy Clutterbuck: ‘In the genre sense, some people have called it kind of electronic soul, or futuristic soul. To me, it’s warm, it’s romantic, and something that you might listen to at home on a cold night.
You’re just about to release your debut album! Are you excited?
Andy: ‘Yeah, we can’t wait to have it out. It’s kind of a collection of songs that we wrote over the last year or two, and we’re both really, really proud of it. It took a long time for us to decide which songs we wanted to put on it, but we’re just excited for people to hear it.
What’s your favourite song from the album?
James Hatcher: ‘That’s always a tricky question… In fact, that’s why it was so hard to decide which songs were going to be on the album!
Andy: ‘I’m going to pick one that nobody’s heard yet, and it’s a song called Treat You Right. What’s it like? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see…
Is the album the same style as your previous EPs, or is it a little different?
James: ‘Our whole thing with the album was that we wanted it to have a bit of a variety. We wanted it to have upbeat songs, and downbeat songs, and to just generally have some ups and downs. Some are a bit jazzier than others, some are a bit dancier, and some are a bit more electronic… There’s definitely a few curveballs on there. There’s one called FHKD that’s a lot more electronic and dancier than anything we’ve done before, so it’ll be interesting to see how people react to that one.
‘If you keep the elements that make you who you are – like Andy’s voice, for example, or some of the keyboard sounds – then you can pretty much do what you want.
‘We’ve obviously got to think about the listeners, but we wanted to make sure that the music we were making for the album was keeping us interested. We didn’t want to write the same song over and over again, so we tried to mix it up a little bit.
You’re playing shows all over the place throughout this year – are there any you’re particularly excited about?
Andy: ‘We’re going to Japan for the first time later this year, which is really exciting. Our name is actually a Japanese word, so it’ll be nice for us to go over there and play some shows.
Strangely, as well, we actually have quite a big following in South Korea, so we’re doing two quite big gigs in Seoul.
‘It’s the same kind of following as we’ve got in London, which is crazy! By the time we actually do the gig, it might be in a stadium…
What’s your favourite thing about playing live?
James: ‘It’s just watching people react to the music, really. People dancing, and singing along… I think that’s the best bit.
Andy: ‘It’s such a release. You spend so much time writing these songs in your bedroom, or in a studio… It’s so nice just to be able to get out there and see people’s reactions to them. When we play live, we also have a drummer, a bass player, and a backing vocalist, so it’s just great to be able to see the songs open up and play them with those fantastic musicians.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
Andy: ‘For me, it’s another song from our album, and it’s called Til The Evening. It’s a song about forgetting your worries and escaping, but it’s just a really nice song to listen to and just forget about everything.
Out of every song ever recorded, which do you wish you’d written?
Andy: ‘Mine’s a weird one, because it was written by Leonard Cohen…
James: ‘I was going to say that!
Andy: ‘…but my favourite version of it is Jeff Buckley’s version. It’s a song called Hallelujah. When I first heard that, I was floored. I just couldn’t believe it. Apparently he was just in the studio, set the tape rolling, and just recorded it over and over again until he got it right.
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
James: ‘It’s just a lot of gigs! Two US tours… When you go to the US, you sort of thing of New York and Los Angeles, but we’re going to be playing a lot of gigs in the middle of nowhere. It’ll be good.
Andy: We’re playing the Roundhouse in London in October, too, which we’re really looking forward to.
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Andy: ‘My favourite things are always the little stories we get told after the gigs. If it’s not too big a gig, we’ll go out and speak to people, and they sometimes tell us little stories about how our music has played a part in their lives.
‘One guy in Germany said that he used to play our music – in particular, a song called The Night – up against his girlfriend’s tummy when she was pregnant.
‘When the baby was born, they would play The Night, and the baby would stop crying. I love that.
James: ‘We always get ones about people in long-distance relationships, too. One guy in Germany – they’re not all in Germany, I promise! – was really drunk, and he was all like ‘I SWEAR COASTAL LOVE WAS WRITTEN ABOUT ME AND MY GIRLFRIEND!’. He was so insistent…
Describe each other in three words?
James: ‘Empathetic. That’s why he’s good at writing the lyrics. When someone tells him a story, he can listen to them and completely understand where they’re coming from and what they’re going through.
Andy: ‘Talented is the first one that comes to mind. He’s just the best multi-instrumentalist live. I’d also say annoying, though, because he can just pick everything up so quickly.
James: ‘Having said that: the first thing I ever heard of Andy was a whole album that he’d written and recorded when he was sixteen, and he’d played every instrument on it.
Andy: ‘Another word… Joker! James is just constantly joking. I find it hard to believe how constantly upbeat he is all the time.