Partner-in-crime Issy and I had the genuine pleasure of catching up with Stewart and Callum from Glaswegian synth-pop-power-trio Prides after their explosive set on Standon Calling’s Big Top Stage.
How did Prides come together?
Stewart Brock: Well, me and Lewis the drummer met at…
Callum Wiseman: Space camp
SB: University, we both studied music and were in loads of bands together for years. And we eventually met Cal through a mutual friend and that’s when… our two musketeers became three.
Has your education in Music helped and shaped the music you make now?
SB: Well no, we dropped out after a year. Me and Lewis started a band as part of the course, and got signed with a little indie deal, so that’s when we kind of dropped out and we’ve been doing music ever since. But the best thing about it was meeting like-minded people I think. I always felt like I wanted to do music, but I grew up in Stoke and most people were like ‘I just want to do something that gets me out of Stoke’ not necessarily a band.
CW: It’s almost as if we had to do the course to meet those people. You can’t just go into a bar and be like ‘HEY DO YOU DO MUSIC? DO YOU DO MUSIC?’
SB: Weirdly enough a guy did do that to me in a bar once.
What inspired the album lyrically?
SB: It’s my troubles and woes pretty much from the past two years really
CW: Stewart’s dalliances with love
SB: Oooh I like that. Yeah there’s a lot of heartbreak, there’s a lot of turmoil and you know, there are elements of positivity, but they’re buried… quite deep.
It’s very uplifting though for such sad songs
CW: That’s the Cure
SB: Yeah, one of our big influences is the Cure, where it’s like really immediate poppy kind of uplifting music, but it’s got that depth where you’re like ‘oh my god this is really heartbreaking’. Someone actually said in a review ‘it’s music for people who want to dance when their heart is breaking’ [*Queue ‘awww’s from me and issy*]
Who are your other major influences?
SB: Well there’s big 80s stuff, like I love Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Tears For Fears.
CW: Basically just like pop music from then, and then pop music from now.
SB: And then all the alternative stuff from in between. Cause we all did grow up as pop-punk kids getting into emo, with Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab and stuff. It’s just a mix and muddle of all of these things I guess.
Do you think that is part of the reason people have responded so well to your music? The old-school style of pop?
CW: Well it’s like today we were reading that that Little Mix single is the first single by a girl band to have a single at number one for two consecutive weeks in 8 years. Which just makes you think, pop music nowadays is shaped by female solo artists and the biggest boy band in the world, and then there’s some DJs and that.
SB: But I think that’s the biggest draw of the 80s bands, like they were actual bands, just writing pop tunes. I think that’s one of the things we’ve tried to emulate.
Have you been embraced by a pop scene?
SB: You know, weirdly enough we have a bit. Like we never expected to be, but we’ve fallen into this weird limbo of music.
CW: We’re not quite a rock band, not an electro band, not a pop band.
There were a lot of cool kids in the audience who didn’t want to join in, but they just got sucked in by the end.
SB: That’s the thing! Some of our shows are full of hipsters, mums and like teenager emos. I think one of our saving graces is you can put us in front of any crowd and we’ll get them dancing.
Do you find the songs are very different live to the recordings?
CW: Yeah definitely, they never used to be, we used to be obsessed with making everything match up to the recordings, mainly because we write them in the studio.
SB: Yeah we kind of do it backwards a little bit, we never jam them out or anything. We sit in the studio and plan it out and write it, and then we go back and learn it, then we play it. And the moment you start playing it you’re like ‘you know what, maybe this bit should be different, we should do this’ etc for a live setting.
What is the recording process?
SB: We do everything, and recorded the entire album in Lewis’s kitchen in a one bed flat in Glasgow.
CW: We have like one vocal mic, a computer, a two-decker keyboard and a speaker.
How do you get such a huge sound from such a small place?
SB: That’s down to Lewis, he’s a bit of a mastermind, he’s produced most of the album. We’ve had to be minimalist with the production at the moment, purely because Lewis doesn’t like clutter. We started with a normal keyboard, then went to a mini keyboard and now we’re on one like this size *puts his hands ludicrously close together*and Lewis is like ‘you’re just gonna have to record it like that’ and I’m like ‘Lewis this is impossible!’
CW: Yeah he carries around everything we use to record in his little bag, it’s ridiculous.
SB: But yeah maybe we’ll branch out a bit now, especially on a second album. Cause like this is a bedroom produced album. But it’s one step up cause we moved from the bedroom to the kitchen. So I guess the next step is the living room, if not a real studio.
CW: It’s one of the main things about being in a band, is like ‘going into the studio’. Like Blink-182’s ‘The Urethra Chronicles’ all about how they started the band and how they recorded enema of the state, and the album after that.
SB: Those DVDs were like the reason we wanted to be in a band, and now we’re like ‘oh it’s not like that at all’.
Your sound already packs a punch, do you think you would expand it further with the aid of a proper studio?
SB: Well that was always our kind of thing, like we’ve dallied with making it bigger and making it smaller, and we sit nicely somewhere in that bombastic territory. Cause it’s just that kind of music that we love, those overtly enthusiastic bands like Blink-182 and big massive bands from the 80s. Like I want to make music like that, where there’s no subtlety where we’re concerned.
CW: I like the whole minimal thing, like Lorde and stuff. But if I’m going to a gig, I want to see a Springsteen.
SB: Yeah I wanna see Springsteen, I want to have an 8-minute sax solo.
Best show you’ve ever played?
SB: This summer has upped the game, especially with the album out. Doing the festivals, like T in the Park, opening up the main stage was just ridiculous.
CW: Barn on The Farm is always amazing, we’ve never played there and not had people just incredibly excited about the music.
SB: We played an end of tour/end of year show at Heaven in London last year, and that was like the moment when we were like ‘ah man we’re a real band’. For us, being boys from Glasgow and playing in Glasgow, you play gigs and feel like ‘there’s always gonna be people there’, but then to go to places where you hadn’t been before, and to have it sell out from Aberdeen to Birmingham to London.
CW: There were so many nights on that tour where we were just like ‘woah, where did these people come from? They’re not our friends and family’
Where is the weirdest place that you’ve urinated?
SB: Callum’s mouth
CW: A lot of weird places. Have you ever peed in a bottle in a van?
SB: No Cal, I have never peed in a bottle in a van. I have a functioning bladder.
CW: I’ve peed in a bottle in a van. It was a Pepsi bottle and I tried to pee in it, but I had made an air-tight seal with my penis. So I started peeing and it just sprayed out everywhere. It was okay though, I had a spare pair of jeans.
SB: Shame about everyone else in the van.