‘At Reading we went through about five and a half litres of whisky’: An interview with The Family Rain

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The Family Rain are generating quite a buzz around them as of late. With a string of very high-profile support slots under their belt, the three brothers are garnering recognition from all the right places.

I was very lucky to chat with Will and Ollie from the band a mere hour or two before their first performance on tour with Miles Kane. We talked big shows, small shows, the shows in between and their much-anticipated debut album.

You guys have been marvellously busy supporting the likes of The Courteeners and Willy Moon with a massive tour with Jake Bugg in the pipeline. This is your first show on a tour with Miles Kane; any trepidation or just excitement?

Will: I think it’s excitement, we saw him play in Germany at Hurricane Festival, it was a great show. We met him there and we always thought they were a really good band and they were just really, really nice guys. So ever since then, as soon as we found out we were going on tour with them it’s been really exciting. It’s one of the first times our music has matched their music so well so we’re really looking forward to just getting in to a good run of dates really.

On that note – earlier this month you supported Thirty Seconds to Mars at iTunes Festival; how did you feel playing to maybe quite a different crowd than usual?

W: Yeah we didn’t know what to expect but we were thinking we were going to go out and play to people who weren’t that interested, but people did take to us which was a good sign. But yeah, I thought it was great playing iTunes Festival; we got to have some great production, like big old lights behind us and stuff and a really nice stage show and it was being streamed live and everything, so yeah, it was great. There was a lot of young girls which is to be expected with Thirty Seconds to Mars, but I wasn’t complaining.

Now obviously with a lot of these shows you’re playing to some very big crowds, especially with the Jake Bugg tour you have coming up. Would you say you enjoy these sort of massive shows more than some of the smaller club shows you play?

W: I think it’s just the same with anything, if you do a lot of big shows you start missing the smaller shows and when you do the small ones you start missing the big ones. It’s a weird thing when it’s not your show as well; the dream would be to do big shows but your own shows. That’s what I’m missing at the moment. That’s what I’m missing in my life.

Saying that you’ve also got a headline tour coming up throughout November including a date at Southampton’s very own Joiners. Do you take a different approach to doing headline shows than to support slots or is just a simple case of going out and giving it your all every time?

W: We always go out and give our all but I think when you’re supporting you have to realise it’s not your show and we’ve always gone in with the attitude when we’re supporting like we’ll go on, do our thing, get off; we’re not gonna act like it’s our show and our fans because I’m grateful to be supporting. There’s an element of respect; you just appreciate that they’ve brought these people in and they are their fans and it’s your job to just win them over. It’s nothing else than that. You just go in there, kick ass and leave, you know? You get half an hour and it should just be on the money. And then when you do your own headliners you tend to do an elongated set, more things like jam out for a bit, because then those people have paid to come and see you so yeah, you can milk it basically.

For your ‘Reason to Die’ video you did a gig at Monto Water Rats in London; how was that show? I know for a fact it was absolutely boiling.

W: That’s the main thing that everyone came away with; I think it was the hottest day of the year and we got this crowd and we did the same song about sixty times and bless them they were just so up for it from start to finish and they gave everything. It was just a great day.

O: All the people who turned up as well, we found out on the Friday that we were recording on the Monday and these people showed up on a Monday morning; it’s crazy. But it was great, it was fun. Everyone complained at me because I didn’t perspire enough. I didn’t look like I was sweating.

W: He just did not sweat, it was really weird. I would stand still and within 40 seconds I was just wet like I’d just got out the shower.

O: It was the make-up clogging my pores.

You also played a lot of festivals over this summer, including Southsea Fest – where you played the Wedgewood Rooms – and Reading and Leeds where you performed in the Festival Republic tent. Firstly, how was Southsea Fest?

O: It was really good. We didn’t know what to think about it as we had actually played the Wedgewood Rooms a few years ago and it was one of the first kind of bigger shows that we played and we turned up like ‘fucking hell, this place is huge’ then we came back and realised it’s not that huge.

W: It’s a great place though, a great venue.

O: It’s got really good sound.

W: With all of those things we were on pretty early on in the day and we didn’t know what to expect but we had a really decent crowd; there was like a couple of hundred people there and everyone was in to it; it was a really good day really.

Now as a quite predictable follow-up question – how was Reading and Leeds?

W: Insane. Basically we’ve been on the festival circuit this year and everyone tells you that Reading and Leeds is the big one. Whatever festival you go to they always tell you it’s the big one and everyone in this particular year just seemed to up their game; everybody did something spectacular to blow them out of the water, it was crazy. We spent pretty much the whole weekend at Reading, we went through about five and a half litres of whisky; the whole thing ended in an absolute mess. I did my first stage dive, successful as well. I got robbed though, they stole my necklace. It lived up to its raucous name.

Had you been to Reading before?

W: No, I mean that’s the best thing about this year and this whole thing is that we didn’t ever go to any festivals because we couldn’t afford them just because we didn’t have any money. Now we get to go there for free. Even better somebody is paying us to go there; these stupid people are paying us to do this.

You’ve been releasing a string of singles and EPs for the last year; an album is surely on the horizon?

W: Yeah, it’s done, it’s recorded, it’s all done and dusted. We just finished it off this last two weeks as we added another track. We are more than happy with it, it sounds incredible and we’re just really excited about releasing it.

O: It should be released early next year. There’s gonna be a new single – you’ll get glimpses of what to expect from the album I think by everything that’s coming with the next single.

W: I think we’re in quite a lucky position where we’ve been able to just tour out this whole year and stay on the road, and everything we’ve learnt we’re gonna use when we tour the album. We’re taking quite gradual steps but steps in the right direction. So when the album comes out, boom.

You have played an absolute ton of shows, but if you could choose one which you could single out as the best show, what would it be?

W: There’s a few; we played Ibiza Rocks with Biffy Clyro and it was just insane, it was just a really, really crazy scenario. You play in the middle of a hotel, opposite the swimming pool and there are balconies behind you and in front of you and to the side of you. It’s so intimidating we just had to really psych ourselves up for it and when we won the crowd over we did like an hour long set and it was just really good to be like ‘we came, we saw, we conquered’. In Ibiza.

O: And Biffy were really good; they’re great guys. I’d say that was one of the highlights.

W: Yeah, it felt like the peak; it was what you want from a summer. You want Ibiza, you want heat, you want rock music and you want to go and party with three mad Scotsmen. It’s the perfect summer trip.

Finally, if there were a band that you could recommend right now, who would it be?

O: There’s quite a few bands coming up that I really like; I really like Wolf Alice.

W: I know they’re probably big by now but we saw the end of Chvrches’ set at Reading and it was just really good; I’m really getting in to them at the moment. So people should be listening to Chvrches and The Beatles. There’s this band called The Beatles, you might not have heard of them.

The Family Rain play the Joiners Arms on Wednesday 27th November; tickets are available here.

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I write about music. When not at gigs I like to spend my time being annoyed that I'm not at a gig. UPCOMING // Takedown Festival

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