1) Are you pleased with the band’s progress so far?
Yeah – we’ve managed to make five and a half albums in five years (including the School of Language and The Week That Was records) and each one has been better than the last (in my opinion). We’ve also managed nearly five years without having to have real jobs, which is pretty difficult in this day and age.
2) What are your ambitions for the future?
Just to keep on making interesting records, expand our ideas and try new things. If we can keep selling enough records to make a living from it, that would be great but if not, we’ll just start sending out newly-polished CVs and keep making records in our spare time. We’ve become a lot better as a live band over the last few years but it still feels like live performance is a bit restrictive and not as creative as we can be in the studio, so figuring out a way to remedy that is definitely on the agenda.
3) What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?
There aren’t many particular moments that stand out – just releasing the very first Field Music record or hearing it played on the radio for the first time are nice moments, where it feels like all the work has been worthwhile. The best feeling though is being in the studio, working on something new and having a moment of realisation about how it’s going to sound. Reviews and sold-out gigs are nice but there’s nothing to beat those nuggets of inspiration.
4) Do you feel that being from Sunderland, or the North-East holds you back in any way or puts you in a disadvantage from other bands trying to break on to the scene?
Not at all. Maybe in the past it was important to be down in London, making friends and, ahem, kissing a**e. I don’t suppose we’ve ever thought in terms of ‘breaking onto the scene’ – we’ve always wanted to keep as much independence as we can and being so far away from the music industry has helped us do that. Here we can rent a space cheaply, make records in our own time and in our own way and sidestep any expectations about how a band are supposed to manage their career.
5) What are your opinions on the Split Music festival in Sunderland?
I think it’s great that people are trying to make music a fundamental part of Sunderland’s culture. However, music’s been neglected here for so long that I think it’ll take a long time to build up an audience for live music or new bands or anything outside of the mainstream. I don’t want to criticise the work that people did getting Take That or Oasis or Pink to play at the Stadium but most of the people at those gigs will never go to see a local band playing in a small venue. Hopefully, Split will be a little bit more successful at opening up esoteric music to a wider audience, which in turn might mean an easier time for venues and promoters trying to promote interesting music.
6) How did it feel to perform at Evolution this Summer?
Ha! To say the least, it was not our kind of show! It was really nice of the organisers to ask us to play, and the effort they put into showcasing local music on the bill is totally laudable but our music can be pretty challenging – we ask a lot of the attention of our audience and mostly, the audience that day seemed to consist of swallied-up teenagers wrestling each other. It made me feel very, very old.
7) How long have you supported Sunderland AFC?
All my life – I can’t remember my first game but it was probably when I was six or seven. My best memory is of me and my mam being invited up from the paddock to sit in the director’s box – I have no idea why – it seems totally surreal to think of now.
8) Best memory of going to a football game or watching it on TV?
Ruud Gullit’s last game in charge of Newcastle was pretty special – not that I’m anti-Geordie – it might be sacrilege but I’d like to see us both doing well – but after a few year’s of playing second-fiddle, a scruffy win in the rain seemed pretty sweet.
9) What were your thoughts on last season? Do you feel we are moving in the right direction?
Those three months without a win were pretty scary but generally, I think you can see progress across the board and it seems that Ellis Short and Niall are willing to give Bruce the time he needs to build a team his way. Making Bent the focal point of the team has proved entirely justified – makes you wonder how he didn’t make more impact at Spurs.
10) Do you get to go to many games due to your commitments with the band?
I don’t think I was at a single game at the Stadium last season, partly because I can’t afford it but mostly, yeah, because we’ve been away so much. My parents have season tickets so we would usually go when they can’t make it, but we missed out entirely last season.
11) How do you feel we will do this season under Bruce?
I think there’ll be more progress. Losing Cana is a shame but I think Cattermole can step up and take that inspiring midfield role, providing he doesn’t get too many cards. I can’t honestly see us qualifying for Europe – the competition with Everton, Villa, Fulham, Spurs, Man City and Liverpool will just be too tight – but top 10 is achievable with a bit of luck and more good form from Bent.
12) Anyone in particular we should be aiming to sign?
My scouting network’s not up too much but I’d love to see us sign someone to bring a bit of pace and trickery out wide who can get in early crosses. Without that, I think Jones in particular will have another disappointing season and will go sooner rather than later.
13) Quickfire end……
Bent or Phillips? Phillips. Maybe Bent one day, but Superkev is a legend
Bruce or Reid? Reid by a whisker. Memories of Milton Nunez just overtaken by those 7th place finishes
Maximo Park or Futureheads? Futureheads. Both good mates of mine, but the ‘heads are 100% mackem.
Glasto or T in the Park? Neither! Give me Green Man or Latitude any day!
Vital Sunderland Interviews Field Music
1) Are you pleased with the band’s progress so far?