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Interview: Captain Dangerous

1 June 12 interview: Jared Wilson
photos: Ralph Barklam

Captain Dangerous’s debut LP The Empire Never Ended is six years in the making. And if you’ve ever lobbed a couple of bob in lead singer Adam Clarkson’s hat, congratulations - you’ve paid towards it...

What took you so long to get this record out?
We’re one of those bands who have wasted a lot of time having different line-ups; we’ve had four singles out over the years and that’s it. After all that time, we wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect. We recorded it with Andy Wright of We Show Up On Radar, and it took us nine months in total. It’s a really big sounding pop record, which is what we’ve always wanted to achieve. It’s got some of our previous singles, like Forgive Us We're British, Everything Beautiful Reminds Me of You and The Terrorist, but apart from those it’s all new stuff.
 
Such as...
I Am The Wind is the second part of a trilogy I've written about trafficked women and it feels like its really really epic and different. It’s about the same protagonist from A Little Bit of Home, which is also on there, but this time she’s writing a letter home. The third installment has just been written and will be on an EP we plan to release before Christmas.

How have you financed the album?
We’ve had some money from our tunes being played on TV, but most of it’s been funded by busking. We go out and busk regularly in places like Stratford, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Bath and London and we do well out of it. We started off doing that because we’re fans of Vincent Moon’s Take-Away shows - he’s a French filmmaker who records bands performing in unusual environments, such as Arcade Fire gigging in a lift. But then we also realised we could make decent money doing it.
 
How much money are we talking?
Well, the whole album cost us about £4,000 to make - I’d estimate that about 85% of that has been raised through busking. It’s a way to make money that most bands wouldn’t think of, but it’s worked really well for us. As long as you can cope with piling into a van at 8am on a Saturday morning. 

You’re popular in London these days - you seem to do bigger gigs there than here...
Hmm... we do and we don’t. The monthly residency at Proud Camden is a big thing for us, and would be for any Notts band. But playing the Rescue Rooms for a band of our stature
is massive; the gig we did this time last year was only twenty tickets from selling out. Then again we’re also playing the Union Chapel in Islington on the album tour and that’s an
unbelievable venue. It’s a massive working church that also puts on gigs; people like Bjork and Tom Jones have played on that stage. We’re really, really excited about that one.
 
Tell us about your Rescue Rooms album launch gig - we hear that you’ve got an eighteen-piece orchestra sorted...
Yeah, we wanted to make it a bit special. Our violin player Rob Rosa put it together. It’s all people he’s played with in various classical groups, so it’s going to make our sound much bigger and he’ll be conducting the orchestra himself. We’ve also picked a handful of Notts bands we really like to support us; Injured Birds, We Show Up on Radar and Practical Lovers. Tickets are £5 and we’ll be selling the album there for the first time.
 
So how does it feel to go from being young upstarts to modern-day veterans of the local scene?
It’s been interesting to see everything that’s happened, and it all seems to be in a much healthier state than ever right now. There was always good music, but there’s more of a sense of community now. Many bands have fallen by the wayside, but there are a few others who started when we did who are still playing; The Smears, You Slut!, Swimming and Petebox. We have big respect for all of those for continuing to fly the flag. Long may it continue.
 
Captain Dangerous launch their new album The Empire Never Ended, on I’m Not From London Records, at The Rescue Rooms on Saturday 2 June. They are also performing at Burtfest on 15 June and Nottingham Waterfront Festival on Saturday 23 June.

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