*As featured by the brilliant free music magazine DIY*
Fresh faced and ready for the stage at Underground Festival, Canterbury speak to Jess Bracey about launching their own record label.
Sharing the same stage as American Pie alumni Thomas Ian Nicholas aka Kevin (we couldn’t believe it ourselves), Canterbury graced the DIY stage at this year’s Underground Festival in Gloucester. Clad in denim and winter jumpers, Luke Prebble and James Pipe spoke to us prior to their set, but we weren’t the only ones: getting hyped for the stage they shared the obligatory Jack Daniels with Hollywood actor Nicholas, which – it turns out – they couldn’t quite believe either. “Everyone was seeing him around, and I thought shit, I watched American Pie on ITV2 just the other night, that is actually Kevin. He came into our dressing room and rinsed our bottle of JD, he was like ‘Dude thanks so much for the whisky man’,” Luke laughs. A band that know how to please a crowd, they promise high energy and an exciting dose of Canterbury’s British rock, and they certainly don’t disappoint. Staying true to their word they open with the epic ‘Something Better’ and continue the night with a blazing live catalogue of tracks taken from their first album ‘Thank You’, and their latest effort ‘Heavy In The Day’.
After releasing their newest offering under their own label, Sweet Lime Recordings, how has the daunting second album been received? “It’s gone as well as it could have done really, we’re all really pleased with it,” says James. “Of course we were apprehensive about releasing it being the second album and the pressures that come with that, but everyone who bought the album hasn’t said a bad word about it.” Luke continues: “It was kind of hit and miss with our own label. It was sort of the only option we had, but at the same time it was the best option because we had full control over it so we couldn’t have asked for more. There was no real benchmark to go on as the first record we put out was for free, so it’s not like we have to sell this many copies to equal our first album, so anything was a bonus really.”
Having the satisfaction of releasing the album under their own label they not only had to push their music to the next step but also put on their business hats as well. “We recorded the album last August and it was released this July, so it was a lot of preparation trying to get everything sorted. It’s one thing saying ‘Oh yeah let’s set up a record label’ but then you realise how many things actually go into place before that release date.” Putting their money where there mouth is, Canterbury fronted their own campaign to launch ‘Heavy In The Day’: “It was a risk because it costs money to do it, so the challenge is spending your own money and not knowing if you’re going to get it back. We were confident with the album and knew it was good but we couldn’t tell how many people were going to buy it. You can only blame yourself if it goes wrong; it’s a big learning curve and that’s the way the industry is at the moment. You hear these horror stories of people losing their jobs at major record labels…”
With social media on the band’s side, they not only believe that start-up groups looking for a break can become established touring bands off their own backs, but – despite recent comment from insiders that guitar music is on its way out – Canterbury, amongst their thousands of fans and believers in the genre, also know that it is here to stay. “It’s an invalid thing to say at the moment because the British rock scene is really strong and it’s really exciting to be part of, especially with bands like Don Broco and Deaf Havana who are making genuine waves in the music industry and breaking into the mainstream, they’re proving those people wrong.”
Spending the summer doing one off shows and festivals to get them ready for the busy schedule ahead, Canterbury’s itchy feet are telling them it’s time to get back on the road. “Being on tour is the one part of band life which is just incredible, it can’t compare to anything else. We’re desperate to get back out there and do the big shows,” Luke enthuses. Going on tour with Deaf Havana next month, the collaboration came to a head after playing Slam Dunk festival earlier this year. “It was kind of a passing comment where Chris the guitarist said it would be awesome to have us on tour, and then literally the week after we had an offer. We’re really chuffed and looking forward to it.”
Playing their first gig with Deaf Havana in Coventry on 8th November, Luke also adds that a good old knees up will be in order not only for the post-performance blow out, but for his birthday too. And he’s expecting cake – just make sure it doesn’t end up smothered on the tour van, unlike their stint with We Are The Ocean in 2009. “Every day of the tour we destroyed each others’ vans with old food and by the end of it it just got so stupid and out of hand. We had full ketchup motifs on the bonnet and then we had mouldy milk poured into the washers which stank out the van for weeks afterwards.” Adding that they’ll be playing their longest set to date on their own headline tour this coming November, Canterbury liken themselves as the adopted love child of Foo Fighters and Two Door Cinema Club. Kicking off with their own record label, a successful second album and a headline tour to boot, this is one band that are putting their stamp on the British rock scene.
Canterbury will be on tour with Deaf Havana next month followed by their own headline tour straight after ending in December.