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Different strokes for different FOLKS
Manchester six-piece Folks’ psychedelic guitar riffs and tightly packed pop melodies has gained support from the likes of Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary and the North West’s Introducing teams. They can also count Noel Gallagher and Miles Kane as fans after several support slots, alongside both acts. Bido Lito!’s Matt Healy caught up with the band’s guitarist Michael Beasley to conjure up theories about the alignment between the North West weather, good musicians and Aldous Huxley, as well as to chat about Noel ahead of Folks’ two upcoming Liverpool shows.
Bido Lito!: You’ve just supported Noel Gallagher at Edinburgh Castle, how was that?
Michael Beasley: It was really good. We’d done a European tour with Noel earlier this year in March and we also did a show with him at the Roundhouse in London, so we were kind of familiar with his crew. They were really generous to us and it was brilliant playing at Edinburgh Castle because it’s like a world heritage site and it was breathtakingly beautiful.
The only snag was that it wasn’t quite full because they don’t happen to serve alcohol in the castle, so all the local pubs were crazy, but it was great to play somewhere we usually wouldn’t.
BL!: Was it Noel who selected you to play with him?
MB: His manager played him some songs from our record ages ago and I think he wanted to check the band out and there was a time where we were doing something for Radio 2 and Noel was on the show as well. We’d been playing in Edinburgh the night before and we didn’t get back to Manchester until the early hours, so we went down to London, severely sleep deprived. We did a couple of songs and I think that was a sort of audition because we played at the Roundhouse in October, following on from that. I think one of the things that attracted him was that we did a cover version of Pink Floyd’s Fearless on BBC Radio 2 and he said that we couldn’t do it as we had two acoustic guitars, but we gave it a go.
I’ve got a recording of it and you can hear him go “beautiful, beautiful”, so the risk clearly paid off! We did the Roundhouse and then we went off and did the European tour with him.
[About 5min 20 in]
BL!: Obviously both your band and Noel, hail from Manchester, what do you think makes the city so inspiring for musicians?
MB: Manchester, like Liverpool, has got a rich tradition of music. In the 60s, there were loads of great bands to come from Manchester and then in the modern age, people always go on about Joy Division and The Stone Roses. I think there’s some commonality shared between Manchester and Liverpool… maybe it’s because the weather’s crap. People are indoors a lot so they have to find ways in which to amuse themselves - I mean with a musical instrument you can amuse yourself to death. In fact, if you look at a lot of Oasis’s songs, they talk about the weather a lot, don’t they? Maybe we’ve hit upon something there.
BL!: Your latest single, Skull And Bones has quite an interesting video – what’s the theory behind it?
MB: The song is about the powers that be. We’ve been watching this documentary called The Zeitgeist and it’s a bit of a bonkers one about the control of the money supply and who runs the world, and even though you can take much of it with a pinch of salt, there are some interesting points (I know it sounds crazy).
The video is about a delivery guy/messenger who is given this canister to take around and he’s intrigued by it because whenever he tries to deposit it, it’s to shady people. To summarise it, it’s all about mystery, intrigue and conspiracy.
BL!: Does the song set a precedent for the album?
MB: There are twelve songs on the album and Skull And Bones is probably one of the rockier numbers… I read somewhere that the album sounds like “Noel Gallagher producing Queens of the Stone Age”, which is a bit of a funny one, but we appreciate the exposure none-the-less.
BL!: Your album’s called I See Cathedrals and we believe it was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s work?
MB: Yeah, we were thinking about Huxley novels a lot while making the album and we’re all big fans of The Doors of Perception, but the title actually comes from a story in the 60s, about a counter-culture writer called Paul Krassner. He used to have this magazine called The Realist.
To cut a long story, short, one day Groucho Marx approached Paul Krassner and said “all the kids are taking LSD, I’d like to try it”. So Krassner arranged a little LSD session and it basically came from something that Marx said during his trip.
BL!: You’ve got two shows coming up in Liverpool in August, are you looking forward to them?
MB: We love Liverpool, it’s the musical capital and we’ve enjoyed recording there in the past. We’ve recorded at Elevator Studios and we’ve always found Scouse musicians and engineers to be really cooperative. We’ll be in a studio and if we bump into someone we vaguely know from a band, they’ll be offering us equipment. When we’ve played shows in Liverpool in the past, they’ve always been great as well.
Folks play as part of FestEvol Gardens at the Kazimier on 4th August alongside Clinic, Death At Sea and more. You can book tickets on bidolito.co.uk here.
Folks also play a free show as part of BBC Radio Merseyside’s Introducing show on Thursday 9th August at The Cavern Club.
Read a full feature preview of the FestEvol Gardens events in this month's edition of Bido Lito!