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Music interview – The Cribs: ‘The first album has always had a really special place in our hearts’

The Cribs
The Cribs
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The Cribs return to Manchester this weekend for the Manchester British Sound Project. Tom Newton caught up with the band to discuss their recent Foo Fighters support show and the future plans for the brothers.

You will be returning to Manchester for the first time since the support slot with Foo Fighters. How huge was that gig for the band, knowing that you are fans of Nirvana and worked with Steve Albini on your last record?

The Manchester show at the Etihad Stadium was our first time playing a stadium show ever. When we grew up watching Queen live at Wembley videos it always seemed like it would be super intense and scary to do something like that – but it was actually really fun. Yeah, Nirvana were a huge influence on us all ever since we were kids, so to be in that situation for the first time with people like Dave [Grohl] and Pat [Smear] was really surreal.

The Manchester British Sound Project will see you back with friends and some time collaborators Franz Ferdinand. Is it always a fun reunion being back with them?

We’ve been close with those guys for years – our USA tour together in 2006 was collectively one of the best times of our lives, so we are almost inextricably linked together now. Spending eight weeks on the road with people in unfamiliar territory – it’s a crazy bonding experience and by the end of it you sort of share a relationship that is hard to describe. It’s a kinship, really.

You’ve recently returned from Japan and China touring your last album 24/7 Rock Star S***. How was that as an experience both for the band and personally as three people from Wakefield?

That tour was really interesting – a real adventure with lots of different experiences. We have actually been to Japan loads of times over the years – it was one of the first countries to really embrace The Cribs so it holds a really special place in our hearts. The tour started out in Australia, in your face hot and sweaty shows, then headed to China for our first full tour out there. We didn’t really have any idea what to expect – but it was awesome. The band are very popular out there which we always kinda knew – but until you experience a show with a couple of thousand fans in Shanghai going crazy it is a bit of an abstraction - but we certainly know it now! We also played Beijing, Wuhan, and Chengdu too, before heading to Hong Kong again – all shows sold out. It was crazy. After that experience, returning to Japan was like “a warm blanket”, as Ross put it – it’s become very familiar to us and almost like a second home in some ways.

You just played Bingley Music Festival this month. Will that be the only Yorkshire gig you play this year?

Yeah, we have no other shows planned after this. After the big Millennium Square show in 2016, followed by First Direct Arena in 2017, we decided to keep things a bit quieter this year, so Bingley will be our only Yorkshire show.

A hashtag was posted by the band referencing Wakefield Trinity’s ground 2019. Adding up the situation, that’ll be 15 years since the debut album. Is that as far as you can elaborate for now?

Going back to what we were saying about Millennium Square and Leeds Arena again, all of our signature headline events seem to have been in Leeds – so it just seems like it’s time to return to Wakefield. We are in various talks at the moment but haven’t finalised anything yet.

Will there be any more re-issues of your albums appearing and why have you never done a live album on vinyl?

There’s a lot of different business factors involved in reissuing some of those records and to be honest we would rather wait until the timing makes more sense before we do anything more in depth. If and when we do it, we want to do it properly – so no point in rushing it. Having said that, we actually went back and archived pretty much everything a couple of years ago, and there’s still quite a lot of unheard stuff in the vaults, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to put together when the time is right.

We have done live albums before, but never on vinyl – vinyl needs to be between 30-40 minutes to sound good really, and we play for well over an hour. Maybe something for the future but it’s not really a priority.

Ryan and Gary released their signature guitar series, a well crafted entry level priced piece of kit. Will there be a Ross Jarman Highwood kit for aspiring drummers?

Developing and releasing those guitars with Fender is really one of the things we are most proud of – it was a real honour and to be able to put something high quality out at that price point is the best part about it. Drums are a different beast though, really – more of a niche appeal on a signature drum kit, basically. We have known the Highwood guys since high school and it’s cool to see how well things have been going for them. The custom kit that Ross worked on with them sounds and looks great.

Is there a new album on the horizon and if so what direction do you think it will go musically?

We just play things as it comes.

Of all your albums to date, which is the one that you’re the most proud of and you’re not tired of playing live?

It’s hard to say, it’s an obvious answer but true. The one we enjoy playing live most is always the latest one because it is the freshest and also representative of where our heads are at at that time, so it’s always the most satisfying. But the first album has always had a really special place in our hearts – it just represents who we are and what we wanted to do as a band really well. It’s totally heart on sleeve and we love listening to that one the most. It takes us right back to one of the best times of our lives – living at Springtime and writing all through the day then recording all through the night when we first got signed. Best summer ever.

If the band stopped tomorrow. You wake up after spending your teens through to your thirties playing music. What do you do? Produce, write, start another band all together?

Hard to say. We have been musicians since we were seven, and ‘professional’ musicians for nearly 17 years. It’s almost literally all we have ever known. We have just been offered some producing jobs out in China, so maybe the future lies out there!

The Cribs play at O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester on September 22. www.thecribs.com