“We love playing shows in Southampton, the scene has always been pretty strong” An interview with Canterbury

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I caught up with lead singer Mike Sparks and drummer Scott Peters from Canterbury before they played to a packed out gig at The Cellar on 13th December in Southampton.

What do you think about the local music scene at the moment in the south of England?

Mike: It’s always been very kind to us, especially down here in Southampton and along the coast. It’s one of more local shows, because obviously we’re from Surrey/Hampshire. So, it’s either London or down here. We love playing shows in Southampton, the scene has always been pretty strong.

Any favourite venues generally?

Scott: The Olympia in Dublin is my favourite venue.

Mike: The Olympia in Dublin is a beautiful, beautiful place. We played this place called Fruit in Hull, which is a really nice venue. Like a very different style venue to all the others. You can get venues just looking the same. Black walls, black floor, disgusting smell. So it’s quite nice when you go to a clean one, or just one that looks different!

Debut album ‘Thank-You’ was released as a free download. Would you recommend developing acts to do that sort of thing?

Mike: Definitely, if they haven’t got the backing to get their name out there otherwise, no-one’s going to buy your music if no-one knows who you are.

Scott: It’s definitely a good thing to be able to take the money away from stuff, just because in this day and age, you can’t massively expect your average punter to spend the better part of £10 or more on a band they don’t know. So, if you can just be like “well here’s something”, and if you like it then they’ll pay money to come and see you live, buy t-shirts or something like that. Obviously there’s no direct money involved with it. But say if you were charging people for it, maybe 100 people would buy it, and if you weren’t charging people, maybe 1000 people would download it. For what doesn’t pay directly it gives you in other ways.

You recorded it two years prior to releasing it, did you feel quite impatient with it there ready to go.

Mike: Very impatient yeah!

Scott: We put a release date up and then ended up putting it up like a month before.

Mike: Putting it out for free download was kind of as a result of our impatience. We were sat on it for two years, and in that two years we were trying to gain a bit more of a stance in the whole industry and then just trying to find some kind of label to release it. None of it really worked out, so we just released it for free. It turns out to be one of the best things we did.

How did you get your name, because your obviously not from Canterbury, was it just one of those things…?

Mike: When we were thinking of what to call our band, we all thought of a word that was a good word that we all liked. Then we jumbled all the letters up and we came up with Canterbury. What’s that called…an anagram. That’s an anagram isn’t it! It’s an anagram of a word that we all really like. But we’re not going to tell you what the word is, because it’s more fun not telling you!

That’s quite cool! So, what songs do you like playing live best?

Scott: ‘Saviour’ is my one at the moment because it’s the easiest to play.

Mike: ‘Saviour’ is really cool, people seem to really enjoy it. The audience always respond to it really well.

You’ve been touring with Deaf Havana the last few weeks, how was that?

Scott: Amazing!

Mike: It’s cool to be with a band who are very similar ages to us, and are doing so well. Playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire sold out was just amazing. An amazing experience as a band, and more amazing to see people you know and have known for a while headline it. It was a really fun tour, they’re really cool guys.

Again, any favourite venues from the tour with them?

Scott: The Ritz!

Mike: Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a beautiful place to be in. But The Ritz in Manchester is really good too. Coventry Kasbah, other than the fact that it’s in Coventry is a really nice venue. It’s pretty wacky.

You’ve known each other since school, so I assume you’re fairly close? Is it a good thing touring with friends? Any minor disagreements?

Scott: Yeah I think so. I remember when we first started touring, you find if you’re in band stuff, and you’re doing the same thing every day for a couple of weeks, you start to get on each others nerves. But I think the last year or two whenever we’ve toured we don’t really get on each others nerves much because you learn to live with each other. We’ve known each other a lot longer than we’ve been touring anyway.

Mike: I was in a different school, but we were all just playing in bands, when you’re 16 and playing in bands it’s doesn’t matter. Time goes fast when you’re having fun!

What’s the process you go through for writing songs?

Scott: Mike, Luke and James are all writers. They’ll bring an idea to practice. Very occasionally it’ll be like a jam.

Mike: A song’s a song, it’s different isn’t it? You can get one song that’s entirely written by one person, or you can get a song that’s been written by two people joined forces. There are some songs, kind of like ‘Gloria’ for instance, that literally every single person had equal input into it. It was just written spur of the moment in the practice room and became a proper song. Very rarely do jams become proper songs.

Scott: No wait, ‘Saviour’ came from a jam essentially. Because there was ‘Saviour part two’, and then the original ‘Saviour’. Then when we finished the song, we kept on playing it for ages. And then slowed it down.

Mike: We were like, wait a second, that’s better! It’s good to have three songwriters because it makes every song different.

Any plans for next year?

 Scott: Oh, we got plans!

Mike: We got so many plans!

Scott: All the plans!

Mike: All the plans, oh yeah! Well, after Christmas and the New Year, we don’t want to stop writing, so we’re going to hopefully get into the studio if we can. We’re just going to write the next album. We don’t want to have a two year gap between Heavy In The Day and the next one like there was between the first two.

Scott: We’re getting dates booked as well at the moment.

Canterbury played a fantastic set at, and were supported by Scholars, Blitz Kids and Mallory Knox.

 

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