Leeds rebels Team Picture burst onto our radar with the seminal fuzz-rock of ‘Birthday Blues’, a visceral middle finger to alienation. Music like theirs must be cherished, and 2017 is seeing to this by providing a bunch of firsts for the band. Their debut show in Manchester see’s them popping their live performance cherry in the city, plus they’ll be performing at this year’s Live at Leeds, and also rearing a very special stepping stone for the band is a collaboration with Leeds-based singles club, Come Play With Me.
The partnership promises for one of their works to be forever imprinted on a slab of circular wax, alongside Leeds Electronica outfit Laminate Pet Animal. Equally each achievement will be a great marker for a fruitful second year of activity, here’s to progress. So with these achievements in touching distance we thought it was time to grab a couple of minutes with the six-piece and that’s exactly what we did. So go ahead, introduce yourself to the brains behind the music.
BSS: Hello Team Picture, how are you today?
TP: Hello! We’re just lovely thanks. And yourself?
–this is the point where email Q&A’s tend to let the reader down but for those of you wondering ‘we’re find and dandy, thanks for asking’ —
BSS: Team Picture seem like a band that take image and imagery seriously. Even in the early days you were creating a coherent, original ‘brand’ for yourselves. What’s your take on areas like image, branding, self-awareness, presentation?
TP: We’ve tried not to overthink anything, and we haven’t consciously tried to create any kind of ‘brand’ for ourselves or force any kind of image. The concept of ‘brand’ is kind of something that’s in the eye of the beholder when it comes to bands.
BSS: ‘Birthday Blues’ was the first track you properly released as Team Picture, but was it the first song you recorded as a band?
TP: It wasn’t the first song we recorded, but it was amongst the first batch we put together. We actually almost didn’t record it at all, and then we had like, 15 minutes left at the end of the session we were doing and decided to do a pretty seat-of-the-pants live take of some basic tracks, basically for the lols. It turned out better than expected.
BSS: Was it an easy choice to fix on ‘Birthday Blues’ as your debut single?
TP: It actually wasn’t our first choice, but a bunch of people told us that we probably should release it and we’re clearly not good at dealing with peer-pressure. In hindsight it seems like a pretty good move and we should probably just take full credit for it.
BSS: ‘Back to Bay Six’, your new single is to be released alongside a track from fellow Leeds soundmakers Laminate Pet Animal, through a partnership with Come Play With Me. Can you tell us more about this release and your involvement with the singles club?
TP: CPWM was something we applied to on a bit of a whim because we were fairly certain that nothing would come of it considering we hadn’t played any shows at the time and had no discernable fan-base. Small labels like CPWM offer a really great service to bands who are still at the DIY stage, such as ourselves, and perhaps can’t afford to release physical material independently. It’s been great to work with and get to know a band who are so different from us too, which doesn’t always happen when you’re gigging as part of line-ups curated to be stylistically similar.
BSS: The new single ‘Back to Bay Six’ will also be your first physical release, are you excited about this fact?
TP: Yes! Absolutely.
BSS: Is it easy to agree on the direction that a new track should go in, with there being five [now six] different people in the band?
TP: It’s actually surprisingly straightforward. We have very few disagreements. I think we can usually all tell if something isn’t working and we’re all pretty vocal about when we think something is bad. Also: there are now six of us. Sorry; we need new press shots.
BSS: Is it hard to translate the music you make in the studio to a live setting?
TP: It depends on the song, but yes, sometimes it’s a real puzzle that needs solving. We take a long time deciding a song is actually finished and ready to play in front of people.
BSS: You play a lot. When it comes to the out-of-town gigs and the endless travelling, do you get excited about the long drives and the intimate car journey’s, or do you see it more as a time to catch up on some sleep?
TP: We haven’t actually played many gigs outside of Leeds at all, so we can’t really comment on this all that much. We’ve got a busy February of gigs around a few northern cities, and some festival spots this summer so we’ll report back. It’ll probably just be an excellent opportunity to make mix-cd’s and then listen to said mix-cd’s and point out to everyone in the car how much of a well thought out mix-cd it was.
BSS: Touring can produce some great anecdotes, I’m sure. Have there been any eventful days while you’ve been on the road that would be a great starter to a story, which you can share with us?
TP: Again, nothing too juicy here yet. Sorry. I wish we had some dangerous and sexy tales for you. Let’s see here…we drove to Brighton once? It was well cool; we saw Nick Cave walking down the street and everything. Ok, that was a lie; we didn’t see Nick Cave. I’m sorry we lied, we just want to impress you.
BSS: Browsing through your socials, Team Picture come across as a tight unit and it’s clear that you have great wit. So we’re going to set you a challenge – describe your fellow band mates’ character traits in a sentence.
TP: Oh geez. Can we tell you our nicknames instead? In no particular order: Field Commander Francis, The King of Sad Bass, International Man of Christery, The Professor, Big Chill, and Old Uncle McCarthy.
BSS: From our perspective, the Leeds scene is thriving right now. Fresh sounds, progressive creativity and genuinely fantastic new bands are all fuelling a sense of excitement towards the city. If we were tourists, where would you direct us to go and what would you recommend us to seek out (this can be a selection of cafe’s, bars, venues, record shops, bands)?
TP: Leeds is excellent right now. Venue wise, The Brudenell Social Club, Wharf Chambers, and The Hyde Park Book Club are fairly fantastic. Jumbo & Crash have got you covered on the records front. Check out Mint Cafe in Headingley for the best Lebanese breakfast around. If Kumiko are playing anywhere while you’re here, go and see them for some weird jazz-pop.
BSS: Any last words?
TP: All the best, have a good day, and good health.
The band’s new single ‘Back to Bay Six’ is released on 10th February via Come Play With Me. To purchase the 7″ and other signed exclusives visit the store here.