Hello, how the devil are you?
Very well, thank you! On Easter holidays. Yes!
Why did you decide to form Cantaloupe?
Geography, jobs, and the like meant it was increasingly difficult for us to rehearse regularly with Souvaris, so Aaron and I started playing together at his house to plug the hole in our lives. At first we didn’t have a plan but after a while some ideas for a band began to form. Around the same time, we got together in Souvaris and decided to call it quits. This motivated Aaron and I to start thinking a bit more seriously about what we were doing. We had a few ideas for songs but we realized we’d need another member to make them work, so we asked Dave if he’d like to join.
How do you differ from Souvaris?
The songs are a lot shorter! It’s more synth-heavy. There’s more focus on melody and rhythm rather than texture. It’s a lot stupider. We still don’t really know who we are or what we’re doing – but I’m starting to think that’s a good thing and we should keep it that way.
How does the songwriting work?
We have several different ways of working. Quite often, we begin with the drums – Aaron will record a drumbeat and we’ll use that as the starting point. Sometimes we come up with ideas through improvising live at our practice room; other times we’ll start recording loops and experimenting with arrangements at Aaron’s house; or other times still I’ll programme some beats or arpeggios or come up with a basic arrangement on my 8 track. So far we’ve been doing this about 18 months and we still don’t have a set way of working, which is really refreshing and exciting for us.
What are your hopes for the band?
My immediate ambition for any band I’ve played in is to have fun and share some of that fun with other people. I’m aware that this is the most accessible and poppy band I’ve been in, and It’d be nice to find ourselves in a position where we can tour outside the UK, release albums, experiment with more ambitious ideas like scoring films, and we’ll do what we can to push towards that – but the basic aim is always just to enjoy ourselves.
When can we expect a proper release?
Hopefully quite a lot! We’ve just finished recording our debut EP with Pete Fletcher at First Love. We’ve worked really closely with Pete and given him a fairly free reign to try out ideas and experiment with sound, texture and arrangement. The idea of having a producer - someone who develops an aesthetic for the music and contributes creative ideas - rather than just an engineer really appeals to us. We always recorded our past musical exploits ourselves, and whilst that gave us a lot of power and freedom, we also limited ourselves due to a lack of knowledge and experience. It’s a fucker of a job and it always becomes something of a trial. Handing that control over to Pete has been liberating – we can’t praise his work highly enough.
What has it been like playing live?
Great fun! Again, we didn’t really have any set ideas about how we would perform this music live when we began, and to an extent we still don’t. Because there’s only three of us, we’ve had to start using backing tracks on some songs, but we’re working hard on ways to retain a live energy to the performance and so far I think we’re doing ok. We really like the idea of there being a big difference between the songs when they’re performed live compared to their recordings, so we’re constantly working on ways to adapt the songs for performance and make them as engaging as possible.
I saw you play in a 1970s shopping arcade recently, that was weird...
It was a lot of fun! The excellent human beings behind The Music Exchange invited Hello Thor to take over their shop for a day, and Hello Thor in turn asked us to perform. We had no idea what to expect and half anticipated The Law turning up half way through the set to harsh everyone’s buzz. Instead, some grumpy guy from the Autograph Shop next door put a kibosh on the whole thing after fifteen minutes. Still, they were fifteen of the most fun minutes we’ve ever played live. It was really exciting to play in such an unusual context, and the expressions on the faces of random passers by were a joy to behold.
What has been your favourite gig to play so far?
Probably The Music Exchange show, or if not Gulliver’s in Manchester as part of A Carefully Planned Festival. We had lots of dancers there. The more dancers, the better the gig.
And any nightmare performances?
Have you ever heard of a Bose L1? It’s a PA that looks like a hat stand, designed by people who hate music. If ever you arrive at a venue and it takes you half an hour to actually find the PA because it’s six feet tall but only six inches wide, our advice is to turn around and head home.
What can we expect at your gig for us at Nottingham Contemporary?
A new song or two, lots of fun and some terrible dancing.
What other music coming out of Nottingham do you like?
Nottingham has a fertile scene of men and women hurtling towards middle age who’ve given up trying to be down with the kids and have instead started the band they’ve fantasized about since the heady days of their youth. Fortunately, they’re all excellent. Fists, Kogumaza, Grey Hairs, Moscow Youth Cult, Forever Sound (now officially relocated to Berlin, but still found parading the streets of Nottingham often enough). The oft-overlooked Savoy Grand are marvelous, although unfortunately not too prolific. Then there’s a wealth of fine music being unleashed upon the public by excellent Nottingham-based labels – Gringo, Low Point, and of course Hello Thor.