Formed by Jen Bailey and Rick Hornby, the group say it was a shared love of, “lost romanticism, soundtracks, 60’s girl groups, 80’s hooks, good footwear, attention to detail, and the darker side of classic British guitar pop” that brought them together, and such reference points are certainly audible in the material they’ve released so far.
With inspirations stemming from early cinema including the 1983 American drama ‘Rumble Fish’: “Alienation and teen angst summed up and beautifully shot”, and the epic Maysles brothers’ documentary on the Rolling Stones’ 1969 U.S tour ‘Gimme Shelter’: “The most intense gig in history… Life/death/music”, the duo focus their energies on the symbolism within their music. Their influences go deeper still, homing in on specific imagery within art and film: “The theme of escape in both film and art is always influential to us, the whole ‘to the big city’ idea: runaway destinations, cityscapes, skylines, New York/Paris/London.” This is overtly evident in their sense of distance and exploration.
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Fine apart from the cloud. Trying to find somewhere that can fix our record player, which is currently not on speaking terms with us. Genuinely.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
We wouldn’t. We’d play them something, then let them describe it to us. Hopefully the words “dark, beautiful, guitar, pop” would be muttered.
What inspired the band’s name?
A Long Ryder’s song. With good drums
What artists do you really like at the moment and why?
War on Drugs
We like what they do. The arrangements they use are simplistic but somehow unexpected. They sound truthful.
What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?
A 3 string guitar, Space Echo Pedal, two reel to reel machines, imagination, and some intermittently flashing lights.
Many bands relocate in order to develop. How do you think the move to London has influenced your music?
J: It enabled me to meet Rick and that’s when I picked up an electric guitar so it has influenced our music no end.
R: If you want to have any truth in what you write then it has to come from experience. Moving and seeing different places can give you that. Writers always seem to be moving somewhere.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of being in a two-piece band? Do you think the male/female dynamic is important?
We like to be seen as a 3 piece band even though we are the 2 writers. There’s less people to organise. I think the male/female dynamic is only as important as any dynamic between two people, there has to be a connection to make it work.
After a few years of a guitars being deemed decidedly uncool by the music press, would you say that things are looking up for guitar bands? Where have you seen evidence of this?
There’s always been good guitar music about if you’re willing to go out and look for it. We just got our heads down and played our guitars, because that’s what we do. Another bright spark will no doubt try and say its uncool again in a few years time, and we’ll just ignore them as well.
Tell us about the Suede support gigs last year. Would you say the band have influenced your music in any way?
Those shows were good for us and helped us get stronger as a band. Hearing our songs fill a big space was important to us as that’s what we had in mind when we wrote them.
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Following the release of ‘Dashboard Light’ we have a couple of warm-up London shows to be announced, then a West Coast American tour beginning in Los Angeles on 28th April, and ending in Portland about three weeks later. We plan to work on some new songs with producer Robert Harder while we are there, so expect some new tracks in the Summer.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
J: I’d love to own a dark, tiny, intoxicating smelling bar that serves the greatest drinks alongside the greatest soundtrack in the world.
R: National Geographic photographer.
TENFIVESIXTY will be releasing their new ‘Dashboard Light’ EP 23rd February 2015. Watch this space for imminent updates!