Wednesday 6 May
In Gold Blood, the latest Kids In Glass Houses album, is a bit more ambitious than what came before it. It’s a concept album, futuristic, dystopian adventure inspired by films like Mad Max and albums by My Chemical Romance. The album was well received by critics and fans alike, and the subsequent tour was a colourful departure from their previous live show – glow paint featured heavily and the brass section took their pop-rock sound to new frontiers. Still, they decided that what happens on tour stays on tour, and it was back to basics for their homecoming appearance at Cardiff’s Olympic Torch Relay Concert. We had a chat with them backstage as they soaked up the sunshine:
MMP: So you’re back in Cardiff. Is this the big hometown show for you?
Aled Phillips: Yeah, I guess it is. We haven’t done a proper Cardiff show in a while. It’s one for the family to come down to, and it’s kind of rare that we do an outdoor show in Cardiff.
Joel Fisher: I think the last one we did was outside City Hall at The Big Weekend.
Do you still like to keep an eye on the Cardiff music scene?
AP: Yeah. We all live around here and so go to a couple of shows… I haven’t been to one in a while, but we’ve still got a foot in.
In general, what are you listening to at the moment?
Andrew Sheehy: I’m listening to a lot of Miles Kane.
Iain Mahaaty: Policia. I’m digging that record at the moment.
Philip Jenkins: A band called Japandroids.
AP: Wu-Tang Clan, Sisqo…
How about local bands. Are there any that have caught your ears?
JF: There’s a new band called Vessels, from Newport. Ones to watch out for; they’re sort of new way-y, The Cure-y.
AP: Yeah, they’re really good. Chain of Flowers; they have a kind of The Jesus and Mary Chain vibe going on.
Your latest album is a concept album. Why did you go down that road, rather than just releasing a collection of songs?
AP: It was a reaction against releasing a collection of songs. We felt like our previous albums had just been us trying to write twelve catchy songs, and a lot of the time they had a sort of compilation feel. We wanted to make an album that was a tangible body of work, rather then just thrown together.
In the video for Animals you were all dressed up and covered in glow paint and had a brass section. Have you been adopting those two elements for the live shows?
AP: We did the glow paint for the headline tour, but it doesn’t really work outdoors…
JF: If you took it out of the context of the headline show then it would be a bit lost. We had fun with it though.
IM: The brass, and paint, was all stuff that was just for the headline shows. We felt like we needed to put on a live show was well as do the concept album, and have the whole thing as one big experience. It doesn’t really all work when at four o’clock in the afternoon.
You’ve previously toured with You Me At Six (Concert headliners). Do you see yourself as being close to them musically?
AP: I think there are similarities, but I think we kind of broke apart when we both did our third albums. They went in one direction and we did something different. There are obviously parallels: we both make modern, melodic rock music so we definitely share a lot of fans. I think we each have out own personalities and identities.
All the press in Cardiff paints you as local boys made good. You’re playing in a lot of big places now, but do you ever miss the smaller venues where you cut your teeth?
IM: I think it’s a shame that Barfly’s gone. I loved that venue.
JF: We always go back and do a show in Clwb [Ifor Bach] every year, around Christmas time.
AP: We’ve always made a point of keeping a few club shows in our schedule.
Finally, has it ever really hit you that you’ve become this famous band? Do you ever get used to seeing your albums on display in places like HMV?
IM: I’m in the bargain bin…
AP: [Laughs] It’s a pound now! It is quite daunting when you see your poster up or you hear your song on the radio. But, it’s taken us a lot of hard work so we don’t take it for granted.
Interview by Joel Dear
Photo: Kait Mordey