To me, Superfood’s ethos is all about freedom of expression and music that makes you feel good: music to dance to, music to sing-a-long to, music to just let loose to. It’s all about the freedom that you get when you go to their gigs and the euphoria of that connection you have with the music and the people. It’s a feeling and a moment that can’t be recreated by anything else.
Music has this power to speak to us on the deepest of levels and it’s different for everyone, but going to a Superfood gig, it’s clear that everyone in that audience at one point, is feeling it. Take Thursday night’s gig for example, Superfood were headlining The Deaf Institute in Manchester. From start to finish the crowd were enamoured with the band, bouncing up and down in unison with each soaring chorus and vocal turn. It was an experience nothing less than magical.
But before the band took to the stage, I caught up with them to talk about their recently released début album, TV, Glastonbury and much more.
Charlotte, Bitter Sweet Symphonies: You played a few free shows in London earlier this year. The big news after the first show was that part of the ceiling fell down during the gig, luckily no one was badly hurt but how does it feel to literally bring the house down with your live show?
Dom: “It was a really crazy night to be honest, because we got there quite late and we just set up and then as soon as we went on, the roof came down. It was just funny because we were standing outside, and there were loads of fire engines and things. So everyone just kind of flocked to the next pub, next door because the whole thing was evacuated. It’s just a good story to have, I think.”
I know I’ve seen my fair share of Superfood music videos on television. But I wanted to know have you seen yourself on TV yet? How does it feel?
Ryan: “I haven’t actually.”
Emily: “Really strange. I have, it was on a music channel, I think it was MTV Rocks. My mum had it on and she like called me down, she’s like ‘YOU’RE ON TV!’.”
Dom: “I don’t watch TV. I don’t believe in TV.”
Ryan: “Dom doesn’t actually believe they exist.”
I actually saw ‘TV’ on TV.
Ryan: “Well that’s a paradox.”
Dom: “That’s mad.”
You’ve worked with Zac Ella on the majority of your music videos, he seems to bring out what Superfood stands for very well. How is it working with him and is it a collaborative process?
Dom: “It’s amazing. I love Zac. He’s amazing, isn’t he?”
Ryan: “Yeah he’s like a mate, and he’s got great ideas so he always emails us some really weird ideas and we all just talk about it for ages. It gets a bit weird sometimes, and we just have to reign it back in.”
Dom: “Yeah, the idea for the next video is great. We’re gonna do it with Zac, hopefully before the Temples tour, before Christmas so it’s gonna be fun.”
Ryan: “Yeah he’s got a great imagination. He’s really, really talented as well.”
Dom: “I love it when he can’t get his ideas out, and he gets all frustrated. He’s got his head in his hands, he’s like ‘AHHH!’. It’s funny.”
Are there any bands that you would love to join for the day, just to get to hang out with them?
Dom: “The Beatles.”
Emily: “The Spice Girls. Sorry.”
Ryan: “I’d like to hang out with, we hang out with them a lot anyway but I just really like it. Demob Happy. Have you heard of that band?”
I’ve not, no.
Ryan: “They’re great. They’re from Brighton, you should check them out. Demob Happy, and they’ve got really long, scruffy hair and they’re all crazy.”
Dom: “Yeah, they’re playing with us. They’re opening the night in Brighton next week.”
So your début record is out now, congratulations on that. Did you have a mission statement in mind when recording the album?
Dom: “I don’t think there was like a mission statement for the style of songs that we wanted to do. When we started writing, we just kind of got in this position where we’ve got a label and it’s was just, you know use the songs that you’ve got and put them on, I think.
I think our overall statement was never be too introvert with your music, well maybe in the future but not when we’re trying to get together and find our feet. It was do what comes out naturally, block yourself off from everything that’s happening, other bands and stuff. Just let everything come out naturally, lock yourself in a room and turn your phone off kinda thing.”
Ryan: “And also because we had all the demo’s recorded in my bedroom, they’re a bit trashy, a bit rough around the edges and we didn’t want to go into the studio and make a really polished, clean sounding band. We wanted to try and keep it a bit baggy, a bit lo-fi.”
In terms of actually recording the album, what were the studio sessions like?
Ryan: “Fun. Strange.”
Dom: “They were pretty intense the two weeks we were in Chapel Studios but it was really fun. It was kind of different, we say we lock ourselves in our bedrooms and record, it was actually funny being two miles away from anything. It was a weird experience.
But yeah it was really fun and Al O’Connell who oversaw all those sessions was amazing. Although, Louise who worked at the studio overfed us a little bit too much. Every day. Every day we’d wake up and there was like a full English and then two hours later, you’d walk into the kitchen and there was like sandwiches and crisps.”
Emily: “She made Flapjacks. They were amazingggg.”
Dom: “And then dinner came, a massive dinner and then there was dessert after dinner. It was too much every day. You couldn’t say no because she was so nice.”
Ryan: “She was really like a proud mummy, she’d be offended if we didn’t eat it all up. So we left the studio like a stone heavier.”
Listening to the record I feel like the tracklisting is very considered, it flows perfectly from song to song. When did the tracklisting start to take shape?
Dom: “We kind of actually did it in the mastering. I mean, obviously we knew the interludes were gunna go into each other but we kind of just did it in the mastering. The engineer that we had when we were mastering at the end was really good, he got the last 20 seconds of each song lined up so we could listen, swap and change, listen and kind of just work it out. We really took our time with working out the seconds between each song. You know, just making it as enjoyable to listen to all the way through as possible.”
Ryan: “The start of the album is quite track into the next track, quite fast moving and we wanted to give it a bit of breathing space in between and that was all done in mastering, that was good fun actually.”
What’s the meaning behind the album title ‘Don’t Say That’?
Dom: “It’s just the name of the song. I think it’s just a cool, catchy phrase to say. It can kind of be a pooh-pooh to anyone who disses the album, it’s like ‘Don’t…please don’t say that’.”
What was the first gig that you personally went to yourself as a punter? Do you think your first live gig experience had any influence on who you are today – did it spur you on to start your own band?
Dom: “I think so. I just liked the whole culture, because when I went to my first gig, I went with my brother and all of his mates and I remember that I was jumping around like I was the kid at the gig. I knocked into one of my brother’s mates and gave him a nose bleed at the gig and they were all laughing at him and they were all drinking and stuff.
I think that’s more what I was interested in, just kind of what a gig becomes, it’s like groups and groups of mates going, it’s like a celebration and joining of the people isn’t it? Music can link everyone up and it’s great.”
Ryan: “Definitely. When you go to gigs, pretty much every person you see in there, you’ve obviously got something in common with them and it’s great.”
You played Glastonbury this year. How was your Glastonbury experience? Is it as magical as everyone says it is?
Dom: “It was.”
Emily: “Amazing. It was honestly, I think, the best festival I’ve ever been to.”
Ryan: “We played in Amsterdam the night before, we played the gig in Amsterdam and we had to leave straight after. I think we finished about 6 o’clock and we drove straight from Amsterdam to Glastonbury. It was like a 16/17 hour drive. We got there on the Saturday and we were really tired. All our friends were all just stuck into the whole atmosphere of Glastonbury and really loving it and we were just like ‘ohhhhhh no’.”
Emily: “We did it though!”
Ryan: “Yeah we did it, it was great. There was a lot of people that came to see us which we didn’t expect it was awesome. Just brilliant.”
What is the world’s biggest misconception about you as a band?
Dom: “That we’re really happy people.”
Emily: “I don’t know.”
Ryan: “I didn’t know there was one actually.”
Dom: “That we set out to make a band that sounds like a lot of bands from the nineties. I think that’s the biggest misconception.”
Ryan: “I’d hope that people don’t think that we’re like throwaway musicians who just want to be in a band just for the sake of telling people we’re in a band or jump on a hype bus or whatever. We actually want to develop as artists. We’re in it for the long run. We want to create and create and create.”
Do you feel that your song ‘Superfood’ is like a calling card for your band now?
Dom: “I like it. I like what’s it done. I don’t know it’s just cool playing it at the end of the gig, it’s kind of like a theme tune.”
Ryan: “I’m really glad that people get it as well. I’m glad that people can just see the fun in it. It was never frowned upon like that’s silly or stupid because I don’t think it is. Yeah I’m glad people get the song. I don’t think we’ve ever played a gig and not played it at the end of our set as well.”
Dom: “Yeah we always play it last.”