Interview Exclusive: Otherkin


Words: Gary Lambert
Photos: Tom Adam

Three weeks on tour is not bad for a young British band with a few friends around the country they can stay, with and the odd day off that will let you get back home to catch up with other friends and real life. However, for Otherkin their homes are in Dublin so when Popped Music caught up with them, they were ready for a night in Anglesey after the gig and then the boat home to creature comforts. They were still on good form though, and marvellously chose Brewdog around the corner from Arts Club as the rendezvous for our interview. The sun was shining, the beer was cold, and Liverpool was in a party mood.


The first discussion point had to be the tour that they had just finished. “We’ve been over in the UK for three weeks, playing sixteen gigs. It’s been a hard slog, but that’s what you do as a band whilst you’re trying to make it. We’ve had a great time though. Most of the tour we’ve been staying in an AirBnB at a farmhouse in Nottingham which was in the middle of nowhere and gave us a real chance to relax on our days off. Usually we waste days off on town by going out the night before and getting up at 4pm, but this time we made the most of it. Although in the last week we were planning to go to Alton Towers for the day until we found out that it was going to be over forty quid each to go there. Instead we went to this real ale pub in Derbyshire and chilled out all day. We’d like to go back to Alton Towers, but at that price we’d have to be sponsored by Alton Towers or something”. At that point the band decided to try out corporate whore-ism by finishing every sentence with “in association with Alton Towers” which definitely garnered a few weird looks from the table next door.


Of the sixteen tour dates Otherkin had covered, half of the time it was in support of The Amazons. When Reading’s equal finest band (I’m not coming between them and Sundara Karma after all) were mentioned, you could see all four lads perk up from chilled out to desperate to cover the adventures they’d had touring with them. “Oh it was a proper bromance when we were with The Amazons. Every night on the tour we would end up back in the dressing room together with guitars out singing along together. It was brilliant. We did classics like Blur, The Strokes, and The La’s, but threw in bits like Britney Spears too. It was a proper good laugh. In fact, we played Reading after we had finished with The Amazons. It was our own headline show there and we didn’t expect that good of a crowd, but it turned out the lads from The Amazons had two days off before the start of their European tour so they came down with some friends to it. It was a cracking night. Matt ended up doing the last few songs of our set with us. On tour he’d been doing one song with us, but for that gig he wanted to do a bit more. It was a bit strange finishing off a set as a five piece with us all shredding like crazy on stage”.


That particular night finished with both bands being in a cheap student club in Reading which sounded great fun, but when it was excitedly described as “they played two Limp Bizkit tracks in an hour which is a thumbs up” I made the conscious decision to never go on a night out in Reading that does not require being camped in a field.


As well as The Amazons, we spoke about the kind of music we have been listening to. A big favourite for Otherkin has been Yak. “If you’ve never seen them live then you need to. So many people have great live shows, but with Yak there is that sense of danger and the unexpected. You don’t know what is going to happen next”. Another favourite has been I Had A Dream That You Were Mine by Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam which I have since had to seek out. You should too. These lads know what they’re talking about.


Obviously we had to compare doing an intense UK tour with a tour of their homeland, and I developed a lot of admiration for successful Irish bands. Talking to them, it is obvious that being in a rock band in Ireland is tough work. Because the country is so small in terms of population centres, there is not the audience available to keep a thriving live music community beyond the traditional styles. “You’ll do a tour of Ireland and go to Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast; but there aren’t really the venues available like over here. You’ll play a 300 capacity room, but it will be a big back room of a pub or something. We did the last tour in January, so we won’t be able to hit everywhere again until later in summer”. When you see the likes of Blossoms, Cabbage, Inheaven, Black Honey and Vant touring regularly, turning up in your town every three months or so, you develop an empathy towards people who have the same passion and ability, but come from a different country so do not have the opportunity. And I was also very thankful that I got to see these other bands regularly.


From the hard work will one day come spoils, and we are still waiting for a young rock band to go stratospheric again despite the growing levels of success we are seeing. When asked about this, Otherkin made me feel old. Really old. “Yeah, it’s difficult at the moment because generally people are into artists like Drake, so they are not as into guitar music; but it is cyclical and generational and we are seeing kids coming along to our gigs now and be really into the music and they are only 14 to 15 but they are getting into it because they have heard say Royal Blood and wanted to know what it’s like at the start”. Then they hit me with it, “You see a fifteen year old getting into music now wasn’t even born when This Is It came out – but it’s up to us to play and encourage them to listen to those bands. After all the kids haven’t even heard of The Clash”. Imagine The Strokes being music your parents liked, it was kind of terrifying; but not as terrifying as the thought that a musical knowledge of a gig goer could be sans The Clash. But I trust the educational skills of Otherkin.


You can trust Otherkin though on a matter of things. In fact, they’re all sworn to secrecy about what festivals they have lined up, and what their forthcoming debut album is like, but they are pumped up for it. “We made sure that the album sounded like Otherkin gigs. We didn’t want to be one of those bands who release an album that sounds nothing like the music their fans have been listening to”. As I got to become one of their fans that night at a gig which was every bit as good as the warnings I’d had beforehand, I cannot wait to get it whenever the release maybe.


It’s hard work for Otherkin, but for music fans it definitely seems worth it.

Just Watch brand new single Enabler (live) here:

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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