Following recent performances at Dot To Dot & Live At Leeds; AFFAIRS are back, rejecting mundane routines with their synth laden new single Gracious World.
Last year’s Fierce Panda single Life of Leisure spawned a John Kennedy Radio X session, plays from BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq & Chris Hawkins, BT Music & Amazing Radio playlists and more.
Previous support has come from BBC 6 Music, Radio 2, Radio X, Clash Mag, BT Music and more.
We spoke to Liam from the band and asked him to describe their new single.
I’d say it is a bit of a change of pace from what we’ve done previously. Most of our previous singles have had a dark element to them, maybe in the subject matter or the synth sound we play with, whereas with this single we wanted to come out with a bit more of a positive message. The whole themes behind the track itself is to do with basically sticking up your middle finger to having too much responsibility, being stuck in jobs that you don’t want to do, and kind of seeing what else there is on offer. We’ve tried to make it more upbeat and more dance-worthy, and without throwing around the term of selling-out we tried to do something more reachable to a vaster audience.
Was there a conscious decision for the sound of ‘Gracious World’?
Yeah, something more upbeat. The percussion tracks on it are a bit more groove-based so hopefully you can get more of a dance vibe to it, and everything’s a bit brighter really, so nice big sparkly synths, things like that!
Will future singles continue in this style, or will it be like your older tracks, or maybe a mixture?
I think it’s something we enjoy doing, so instead of being tarred with the same brush all the time and people expecting what Affairs will do next, we kind of like that we’re stuck into this one sound. Currently the new material weaves in and out a bit so back to the old stuff, new stuff, to keep people guessing.
What was it like to record the video?
We wanted to try and keep things as close to home as possible with the entire single. With the track we recorded parts of it in Manchester in some make-shift studios and then we got our producer, who did our previous record ‘Life of Leisure’ back on board as he did such a good job on that and we were really pleased with it, and we were like ‘why not return to what we know’.
Basically we wanted to keep the video with that kind of vibe as well. With Manchester having such an industrial heritage we wanted to go down that route as that juxtaposed with the track a little bit. Where we used to rehearse there was a big warehouse which we managed to get our hands on, amongst a lot of old artefacts that we found in there. Clearly it hadn’t been touched in a while! I believe there was a crisp bag there from 1984! It was truly abandoned.
We just wanted to go back to the industrial, dark vibe, but juxtapose it against the track.
How’s your summer been going?
Things kicked off for us back in April and May when we played ‘Live in Leeds’ and we did ‘Dot To Dot’ for the Manchester dates and then we’ve just been busy with the promotions company we’re working with who are doing some great things around the city and nationally. We went on tour throughout July and August and it was great to get back out there and get the new tracks to people.
You have live gigs coming up; how are preparations going?
Good! We recently started re-jigging the set a bit after the tour we did over the summer, so there will be new things for those who come to see us again. There’s a bit of a new flow in there with quite a few new tracks in there, so we can keep people guessing and keep them on their toes!
How would you describe your live performance?
I would say that our singer James is very unexpected! In his own words to me, in fact last week, ‘I like to be a bit of a show off!’ He’s got some shapes, let’s put it like that! It’s that thing where if we look like we’re having fun then hopefully other people will get on board with it; it’s as much our gig as everyone else’s. We’re more than keen for people to get involved with us; it usually involves us climbing on stuff! But I’m not advocating that to everyone else!
What’s coming next musically?
We’re working towards our next single release which is coming out over the next couple of months. We’re currently putting together the solid material for our album which will be coming out next year at some point. I think at the minute we’ve been sitting on a lot of material so it’s drilling down and making sure that every track that goes on there is 100% what we want. We’re the kind of people who, if there was one niggly bit on a track, it would beat us up forever!
We’ve also started curating our own Spotify playlists which we add to every week. It’s a mixed bag of other band’s tunes and our own songs, the kind of thing we’re listening to in our tour van as we’re heading around the country, which will give people an insight into the sort of things that we’re into.
What’s your song of the moment that you’re really enjoying listening to?
I’m really digging the new ‘Everything Everything’ album; everything off that is fantastic!
Finally what are your ambitions for the next six months?
One of the things we’re looking at is developing our live show, with a bit more of a spectacle. I know we’ve got some plans in the pipeline for our next headline show in Manchester, which is at the start of November. We’re just trying to work towards that and make it so people step back and go ‘wow, what have I just seen? That was amazing!’. Something that takes it to the next level, but I can’t say much at the moment but it’s very much in the pipeline!