“You’re hanging out with a rock band, you’ve got to have a drink.” So, cider in hand, I sit down, expecting to be regaled with tales of hardcore revelling and extreme living. They are, in fact, all hungover from the previous night, which one informs me was in Cardiff and another strongly asserts was a Bristol gig.
After a show with an energy they drew from “who knows where” – judging from the numerous plasters and multitude of bruises Dave is sporting, it was indeed an intense gig – the story, which includes a member of the support band getting himself stuck in the tour bus luggage hold, culminates in Dave, InMe’s vocalist and guitarist, falling out of the bus in his pyjamas, and wrestling Greg, the bassist, to the ground, to get him out of the road. As it transpires, however, this was one of few nights out for the band, who have to maintain their energy as they rattle their way through a non-stop 22 date tour. Dave explains that, as frontman, he feels obliged to take better care of himself than the others do. “If the audience give 110%, the band should give 120%.” This sparks a heated debate over whether you can give more than 100%, resulting in a low-blow regarding “110% vomit” the night before.
According to Gazz, a qualified radiotherapist and “ultimate superfan” who left medicine to join the band last year, the band are fun guys, but “the opposite of cool”. The lyrics to their heavy grunge rock records are inspired by a combination of daily life and poetry such as Wordsworth, Plath and the current American laureate, Kay Ryan. Dave tells me of his love for the English countryside, and how he hopes that belying the cynicism and themes of adversity of most recent album Herald Moth there is a message about making the most of life.
His newest concept is a “palindrome song”, the second half of a line mirroring the first, and the music doing the same. An experiment for which, perhaps, we shouldn’t hold our breath, but an intriguing idea nonetheless.
When touring, they entertain themselves watching films – most recently The Mist: “dark but brilliant” – and whiling hours away on Facebook. The most important items on their rider are Haribo Tangfastics, Pot Noodles and, new addition, Fisherman’s Friend, washed down with a healthy dose of Gazz’s non-alcoholic lager. Their pre-show ritual stretches from “dancing like idiots” to dub-step.
Dave, Greg and Gazz agree that their ideal collaboration would be Muse’s Matt Bellamy, who could teach them much about orchestral techiniques within rock songs, and whom they admire for his ability to work incredible hooks into unpredictable melodies.
They recently played gigs in Europe with Fightstar, a band they feel they have a lot in common with, as both groups strive to maintain a foundation of melody to their noise – and also because they both battle against the “boy-band images” that haunt their past.
As a reasonably underground band, they have other jobs in their downtime. Greg runs his own poker hall, Gazz DJs in Brighton, and Dave, alongside acoustic gigs, does gardening for a little old lady. “It’s mostly to keep her company really”, he says, having described his duties of trimming laurels and watering rhododendrons. Gazz explains that, as a smaller band, “downtime” is a concept they know little about. “There should never be a time when you’re off-duty.” There is always a gig to book or skills to enhance.
Needless to say, this is a band in it for the music, not for the lifestyle.