Home > Interviews > Afghan Raiders Interview June 2011

Afghan Raiders Interview June 2011

Nuala Swan


At this year’s RockNess Festival, I was lucky enough to have a chat with American dance trio, Afghan Raiders. The guys, made up of Mikey Francis on vocals, Vincent Campillo on keyboards, and drummer, Drew Marcogliese, had not long come off stage after playing the final day of the festival when we caught up with them. The lovely guys were then kind enough to chat to MTTM again recently so we could learn more about their music and their festival experience…

MTTM: When we met at RockNess, you had a list of other acts that you wanted to see, did you manage to catch any of them? Who was your favourite?

Mikey: Yes! We got to see a lot of great acts. Simian Mobile Disco, Fake Blood, Matthew Dear, and Jamie XX were definitely among our favourites for the day we were there.

Vincent: SMD live was insane. Watching them run around their gear like wizards was pretty inspiring. That was probably my favourite. We were also able to meet both Jas from Simian and Matthew Dear. They’re extremely genuine and friendly people.

MTTM: Do you have a festival that you’d love to play that you haven’t had the chance to yet? And do you have a dream festival line-up that you’d like to share the bill with?

Mikey: Playing something as massive as Glastonbury would be a dream. Some other festivals that really stick out to me are the Electric Daisy Carnival, Sonar, Exit, Treasure Island and Coachella.

Vincent: I think for all of us Coachella would be the dream come true. We’ve all frequented the festival in past years and seen some of our most favorite artists at Coachella. To join that legacy would be pretty incredible. I think our dream festival line up would have to include LCD Soundsystem, Soulwax, Hot Chip, Caribou, Animal Collective, Deerhunter, James Blake, No Age, Flying Lotus, Thom Yorke, Madvillain, Gold Panda, Shit Robot, Bibio, Ty Segall, Yacht. With reunions by Pavement, Q and not U and Talking Heads. And of course Daft Punk!

MTTM: You’d had a busy weekend last time we met. As well as RockNess, you’d played Club NME on the Friday and LED Festival on the Saturday. These seem like quite different events. Do you have a favourite type of event to play at, or do you prefer a bit of variety?

Mikey: Every club or festival show has a unique setting, crowd, energy and overall vibe to it. I still think my favourite shows have been playing to an overly packed small room. The energy and intimacy in that kind of setting is unreal.

Vincent: Festivals are pretty new to us but I think we all enjoy the massive stage and huge fields of people to play to. It’s quite different from the dive bars we started in where the crowd is pretty much on top of us. Both are very exciting. A different approach is required for each type of venue and we really enjoy adapting our live show for different crowds.

MTTM: Did you feel the crowds in the UK were different from the ones you’re used to in the US?

Mikey: Yeah, the crowds seemed different for sure. I think the UK crowds are more open and excited about hearing something new. It just seemed as though they were more receptive than anywhere else we have played so far, which made it so much fun for us to play.

Vincent: It seems like electronic music is extremely prevalent in the UK and the crowds were really into our music. It was awesome to feel such a warm welcome.

MTTM: Did you have time to do anything outside of your gigs whilst you were over here? If you had been here longer, is there anything you would have liked to have done?

Mikey: Our itinerary was pretty insane, so we had no time to do anything. Next time we will have to explore much more. I definitely would like to see the Tate Modern again, I was pretty bummed I missed going to that.

Vincent: We really want to come back and have a couple of days off to just bounce around. I know we really want to explore London and check out Fabric nightclub. I’d love to experience the nightlife in general. And also see tons of historic monuments and museums.

MTTM: We briefly touched on collaborations and remixes, and how you guys like to work with music that isn’t necessarily already dance based. Now you’ve got a bit more time to think, who’s top of your list to work with?

Mikey: At the moment we are focusing more on writing original material and working on our live show. We are definitely open to collabs and remixes as well; it’s just not our main focus at the moment. I am starting to reach out to other artists about singing on their records and there are a variety of collabs and remixes that will be happening in the months to come, but no releases set in stone. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see if something sticks!

Vincent: I personally would love to remix Caribou or Deerhunter. I love the vocal melodies both Dan and Bradford develop. Their music has a huge influence on me and to be given the opportunity to dissect and pick apart their songs and then make them our own would be an incredible experience.

MTTM: You told us how you at the moment you are working on recording and releasing singles, rather than working on an EP or album. Do you feel you miss out too much on the live aspect of your music when you are in the recording studio for too long, or do you have other reasons for this preference?

Mikey: Yeah that’s part of it. Also, I think people are just being bombarded with so much good music that it’s become like instant gratification. It seems like the majority of people care more about a single track now than listening to an entire record. So for now, rather than disappear for 6 months to write a whole record, we are just going to keep releasing 1 or 2 tracks at a time as we finish them.

Vincent: The internet is constantly throwing music in people’s faces and it can become overwhelming. We feel if we release a single song one at a time our music won’t get lost in the shuffle and it will be much easier for the listener to digest every time we have a release. It’s also good to have a constant flow of material rather than throwing it all out at once.

MTTM: Finally, we discussed the prospect of you touring again in the autumn, when you had more new music under your belts. Would you come back over to the UK for a longer length of time? Any other places you’d like to take your music?

Mikey: We are hoping to hop on as main support slots for a few bigger artists and tour all around the UK/EU for a few weeks.

Vincent: We’d also love to travel down to Australia and across to Japan. We want to play the whole world!