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AFFAIRS Interview March 2015

Carrie Humphries


It may only be a few months into 2015, but northern five-piece AFFAIRS have already earned fans and reviewers’ respect for new single Blood Science (released on 15th March) and have been hotly tipped as ones to watch by several DJs, including John Kennedy of XFM. When asked about their ‘sound’, guitarist Liam says that it is very difficult to pigeon hole and they like to keep people guessing; “We aim to try to create a sound that captures electronic elements and combines them with a classic band set up, along with the drive that you would expect from bands like Joy Division or Foals. Ambient yet hard hitting, with an air of 80s nostalgia.”

Although AFFAIRS have recently moved to Manchester, Mike tells me that the band formed a few years ago at Hull University “Liam and Dan had been writing together, jamming out angular guitar riffs, trying to steer away from the stereotypical indie sound and our bassist, Jack, had already worked on writing with Dan too. It felt right for all three to start something. We found our enigmatic singer, James, at an open mic night singing Daniel by Bat For Lashes… it seemed like Dan was meant to be there to witness it. As for me, I answered an advert that was put up on the university notice board.”

Moving from Hull to Manchester has been a big leap for the band, but they are hoping that it will prove fruitful for them musically; “As much as we were proud to call Hull our beautiful home it felt like the right time to move. Although we still miss the patties and chip spice we wanted to relocate to a large city for new opportunities. Manchester has a rich cultural heritage, so we wanted to indulge ourselves in a larger musical scene and see more of the bands that we enjoy right on our doorstep.”

Since moving, they have been fortunate enough to work with Suede and Pulp producer Ed Buller on the new material which proved an eye-opening experience as they produced a more polished sound. Liam explains that they have learnt a lot from Ed’s input; “As a band we can become too indulged in our music and possessive of what we create. Primarily we are writing music for ourselves and if we don’t like it then others won’t believe in it. However, it really helped by letting go of some of that ownership and allowing Ed’s input flow into what we had already created. We’re looking forward to working with him again in the next few months, when he’s not hanging out with Hans Zimmer.”

While we’re on the subject of their new single release, the band have something to clear up. “It is becoming a common misconception that Blood Science is narratively based on Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons. The initial idea actually came from a McKenna line in which he mentioned that he found science to be progressing too quickly. He supposes a conflict between religion and science. This concept produced a foundation for the rest of the lyrics to be constructed upon.” Dan also mentions that their songwriting process varies from track to track; “The final output largely depends on who has the initial idea and who takes the lead, but I think it’s fair to say that we like to wrestle with engaging concepts which are usually supported by references from other artistic formats such as literature, film and art.”

Over the next few months, the band are touring to support the release of their new single and Mike wants the audience to be drawn into their performances. “The biggest thrill for us is getting lost in our own little moments on stage. We would like to bring everybody into these moments. We will also be showcasing some new tracks.” Mike jokes that if the band can afford it in the future, they would like to put on some larger shows; “We would like to add a big pyrotechnic display, some backing singers, dancers and a small orchestra to our set; but for now everyone will just have to be happy with just our energy and charisma on stage.”

AFFAIRS have gigged with a number of acts over the last few years including Alt-J, The 1975 and JAWS, but there are still a few bands that they haven’t played with yet that they’d like to support. “We are always happy to support like-minded bands that we can put on an awesome show with. As a bit of a guilty pleasure; if we had a time machine, it would be insane to support Duran Duran in their hay-day. Seriously though, I think it would be great to play with any band that are really hitting their stride at the moment… Jungle or Dutch Uncles perhaps; we are really digging what they are doing.”

For the rest of this year, the band are planning more releases; “We have our second single release in the months shortly after Blood Science. The track is all hush hush at the moment though. We will be releasing an EP around October time and our debut album will be available at around the end of 2015 or early 2016.” Jack also mentions that despite the fact it hasn’t been announced yet, fans can look forward to catching the band outside in the summer. “We have a few festivals coming our way this summer that we are very happy to be on the bill for. There’s plenty more to come from AFFAIRS.”

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