Thursday, August 28, 2008, 11:13 PM ( 4353 views ) - Interviews - Posted by AdministratorI saw Your Vegas open for the Bravery in January. Right away I loved their sound and as a photographer it really is great to see this band - they are all stunners. Fortunately they actually sound great too - their debut cd, A Town and Two Cities is a brilliant mix of instantly gratifying tunes and elegant songwriting. I talked with singer and lyricist Coyle Girelli last week. Though he lives in New York, I can tell Girelli has a love of his hometown. He's also got a fascination with sharks - I would say probably because he's cool like one.
Q: You're originally from Otley?
CG: Yeah, that's right - outside Leeds in the Yorkshire Dales.
Q: They shoot Emmerdale there?
CG: Yeah - you did some research. They shoot Emmerdale and another program called Heartbeat there as well.
Q: I've seen a little bit of both of those shows.
CG: You can sort of get the vibe from them.
Q: So it's pretty small?
CG: It's pretty small - a lot of sheep, a lot of hills - not very much else.
Q: Sheep are cool.
CG: Sheep are cool - chilled out.
Q: Are you aware that there are a lot morris dance teams in Otley?
CG: Yeah, definitely. Whenever there's a festival they put the maypoles up and the Morris dancers come out with their faces painted and bells around their ankles.
Q: They're pretty incredible.
CG: They're pretty incredible. They're scary to be honest - some of their face paint is scary, really freaky. There's also a day called Victorian Day, which is in the second week of December every year. It's a day where the entire town, for whatever reason, dresses in Victorian clothes - including the police, hospital staff and everybody. The children put fake coal dust on their faces and wear shorts and little caps. Very strange. It's a strange town - something in the water's not quite right.
Q: Kind of like League of Gentlemen?
CG: Exactly. You don't know what's in the meat in the butcher's.
Q: You've written children's books?
CG: Yeah, I am actually talking to a few publishers about them. I think I'll use another name. They're very strange, about flying lips. Very trippy. They're quite cool for kids. I have a little sister, who's four now - that's where that came from.
Q: What do you like listening to?
CG:. Springsteen, Dylan, Tom Petty, U2 and Jackson Browne - Simple Minds and Depeche Mode. There are phases, I guess. I went to Graceland in Memphis so I think I'm about to start an Elvis phase.
Q: I haven't been to Graceland.
CG: It was amazing actually. You imagine someone like Elvis living in a palace, but it really wasn't - it was just a house. It feels really lived in - it's not too big. It still looks as it did. You can feel Elvis in the building. You can't go to Memphis without seeing Graceland.
Q: You're finishing up your second leg of the tour with the Bravery?
CG: Yeah, we finished in February and they took us out with them again, which was quite nice. We've been on the road with them for like four months. We've been everywhere - amazing scenery. Very cool first tour of America, great crowds as well.
Q: I saw you guys at Neumos in Seattle.
CG: That was our very first gig of our very first (American) tour. We were all really nervous.
Q: It was an amazing show though. I saw some history.
CG: Thank you very much. We got very lucky with the weather in Seattle. We were there for two days and it was gorgeous sun the whole time.
Q: We just tell people the weather's bad.
CG: To scare people away?
Q: Where'd you come up with the line Like Cats Lying in the Sun?
CG: I was brought up with five cats so . . . there are a couple songs with cats actually. I've had cats all my life so I'm used to seeing cats lounging around. I'm a cat person.
Q: Good! Do you have a cat now?
CG: My mum has three of the cats left that I grew up with. Long distance cats. I have a long distance relationship with my cats.
Q: Speaking of long distance - why did you move to New York and not, say London?
CG: We were at crossroads in the UK. We needed a label to release our record. We were on an indie and it didn't have the backing to properly release our record. I popped over (to NY) with an acoustic guitar and a load of demos and that was it. It happened pretty quickly - I bumped into a couple people who became our lawyers and that was it. It was pretty much done after that.
CG: The rest of the guys came over and we got an apartment. We've been there ever since.
Q: What's been one of your favorite shows so far?
CG: We had a really great one in Ventura the other night. We've really started to have a lot of people in the crowd that are there to see us. People sing along to the songs.
Q: I saw the video of In My Head that just came out. How did that come about?
CG: It's our very first proper video and we wanted it to be almost an introduction to the band. So people can see what everybody does and see what we're about. We wanted to keep it quite simple and quite basic - to give it a classic feel with the black and white imagery - a Beatles Help type vibe. We're not trying to be weird with our videos.
Q: It's very crisp.
CG: Thank you.
Q: Is the US how you pictured it being?
CG: We've been very warmly received. Americans like our accents, which is nice. Who would have thought?
Q: It's true. We love British accents.
CG: New York's an amazing place - I could walk around there for hours and feel very at ease and at home. The country is unbelievable - the scenery we've seen, it's ridiculous. The last drive from LA to Colorado (was) like being on Mars in some places. Canyons.
Q: Have you seen any sandstorms?
CG: No, we've seen the odd tornado - not massive ones.
Q: What's your favorite drink?
CG: As in alcoholic drink? My liquor of choice is tequila. I quite like red wine. Whiskey makes me feel sick but I am starting to drink whiskey - which is worrying. I like Vodka. Everything is the answer to that. I usually order a beer but then I get full. Vodka and cranberry juice? I know it's quite girly.
Q: That's good. I think Vodka and Cranberry is actually good for you, too.
CG: Might as well balance it out with a little vitamin c.
Q: What's an item of clothing you have to have with you?
CG: My black leather jacket. I haven't played a show yet in America without it on. I guess that. I'm scared now - I'm superstitious so I'm probably going to be wearing it for the rest of my life.
Q: I read you like watching documentaries - nature shows, shark week?
CG: I'm obsessed pretty much. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel are the most watched channels in the hotel room. I have a shark obsession. I think I was either killed by one in a previous life or will be killed by one in this one. It's a weird obsession I have with sharks. It's a primeval thing.
Q: They are amazing. They keep moving don't they?
CG: They're the perfect predator. My fear of them is quite irrational - in fact it's completely irrational. A gym I used to go to had a pool with metal bars (inside it). A few times I had to get out of the pool because I'd gotten it into my head that the bars would lift up and a shark was going to come out - like a James Bond thing.
Q: You never know.
CG: I can't go into the sea because of it. I also watch every program there is with sharks in it. I love the Great White. Then there's the mako shark - a nasty piece of work.
Q: They're the ones that attack for no reason?
CG: Yeah, they're crazy. Bull sharks are pretty crazy as well. They can swim up river. Their gills can take in salt water and fresh water. I think that's where Jaws comes from - a story about a Bull shark that swam upriver and ate people in the early 1900s.
Q: That's one the best movies ever.
CG: I mean the shark looks ridiculous but if you can get beyond that . . . It's pretty awesome. When I was a little kid I used to have a toy shark and I'd put a red (felt tip) in the tub so the water would go red. Kids are weird aren't they?
Q: Your parents must have been worried.
CG: Yeah, I was a weird kid.
Q: Have you seen Survivorman?
CG: Is that the guy that they drop in the middle of nowhere and he has to find his way out?
CG: He's awesome. There's an English guy but he's got a camera crew - that's cheating. I prefer the American one - he's hardcore.
Q: Your worst-case scenario would be being left out in the water?
CG: With sharks. Have you seen the film Open Water? It's a low budget film - a true story actually. They go scuba diving in the Caribbean but the boat leaves a couple behind. They both get eaten by sharks. They were really unlikeable characters so you weren't that fussed when they get eaten. They were just arguing and bickering. They weren't very nice. We played a couple dates with a band called Civil Twilight, from Cape Town. Obviously my first question was Cape Town? Shark Alley? And they were like we used to go surfing out there. You're crazy, there are great white sharks eating seals - and they were like yeah my friend got killed by a shark . . .
Q: And they'd still go out there?
CG: Yeah, the thing is it's not the shark's fault. He thinks it's a seal. If you make yourself up to look like a seal . . . It's like people with pet tigers and they get attacked. Same sort of thing. I have no sympathy.
Q: And then they go and kill the animal for doing it.
CG: It's not the shark's fault. Shark Week - I'm just gone. You don't see me for a week. We were mixing our record during Shark Week.
Your Vegas will start their tour in support of Duran Duran April 29th in Vancouver, Canada. Until then you can see them with the Bravery. And here is the video for In My Headand I got a few pix of them last time round - more on their way:Your Vegas at Neumos
-This review originally appeared on my Seattle PI Blog, Beat Back.-