Pig Beach is out January 29th on Odd Box Records and avaliable to listen to on Bandcamp.
T-Shirt Weather is a band that the world deserves. Charming, effervescent and that perfect mix of weird and funny, for example, one of their tweets exclaims that the last person to follow another band (Pale Kids, of which Andrew is also a member) is a “disgraced preacher” (wtf? I know, but it put a grin on my face whatever it means). Another is a picture of the band in 2 wigs and some sort of Herculean flamingo hat, faces all stern, with the caption “out with the lads,” – nice. Best of all, they top it off by sounding pretty good too. Jammy fucking bastards.
I start by calling up Andrew who’s straight out of band practice with the aforementioned Pale Kids: “It’s kind of a long story,” he begins. “We’re three really old friends – I’ve known Tom since I was 4 and I’ve known Paxi since I was 12 or 13 – so we kinda started listening to music together and getting into the same sorts of stuff, it’s kinda been a long time coming I guess.
“Me and Tom used to manage a bar in Durham called Fishtank, it’s kind of like a room, I used to DJ there when I was 17 until I was about 20 and it was just a way for us to drink under age if I’m honest. We got into managing that bar and after everyone had left we’d just but some music on; loads of the Beatles, loads of Catch 22, so that’s when we decided our band would be like Beatles songs but if played by Catch 22.
“We were in lots of bands beforehand, just around Durham and stuff, but I suppose you get older and you realise the stuff you actually wanna do, but even then T-Shirt Weather was always learning on the job – we’re only now hitting the music we wanna play. We used to play a lot of pop punk, like proper pop punk…”
What like drinking out of red cups and jumping off tables? “Haha, yeah, exactly. With like beer pong and shit. More recently, in the past couple of years, we’ve got a lot more serious about it, writing songs which show what bands we like more now.
“It’s a bit weird like, we’re definitely trying to be a pop band but because we’ve played in punk bands for so long it’s bound to come out like a punk record – it’s just the way we play I think. It’s definitely pop music in our minds but it might not sound that like to other people.”
I compare them to Los Campesinos and (less so) The Cribs, although I admit that my southern brain might just be confusing living north of Birmingham with being a genre.
“Yeah man! Well you know Trust Fund? I drove Trust Fund on the tour they did with Los Campesinos as well as their album release tour. I’m a huge fan of Los Campesinos because I’ve been listening to their music since I was like 14 and I was a proper superfan when I was like 15 so I guess that’s coming out in the music, which is fucking great mate. That’s great, that’s a huge compliment.”
I enquire about the DIY/alternative scene in Durham and the North East and Andrew’s enthusiasm is evident from the start. “It’s an entity within itself I think. Obviously we’re very, very lucky. I think in Durham there’s always been a good DIY scene, I remember going to gigs when I was like 13 or 14 to DIY gigs before anyone seemed to know what DIY was. You know Martha yeah? Yeah, well their old bands used to play those sorts of gigs a lot and we loved it, it was class.
“It’s cool because now we just put on shows together which is awesome – Durham’s quite a small place. A lot of people are really getting behind the idea of Durham which is great. There’s a lot of great bands from Durham and we’re lucky enough to have them as friends, we help each other out a lot. Especially the Martha lot, they seriously helped us out at the beginning before we really knew what we were doing.”
It’s clear from the beginning that their upcoming LP Pig Beach (out January 29th on Odd Box Records) is a project unlike any they’ve done before. “This LP has kind of been a long time coming. We did a demo when we first started and you can’t hear that anywhere now, the EP sold out so we kind of pretend it doesn’t exist. Then we did a kind of album called Having A Bad Time which was more a collection of songs that we were playing at the time, I don’t think any of us think about it as a proper album. And I know that sounds like a wanky thing to say–”
I know, for you an album is more of a cohesive body of work…
“Yeah, exactly. Pig Beach has been a long time coming, Me and Tom must’ve wrote about 20 songs for it. And we always had the idea we wanted to do a 8-track LP with 4 tracks each side because of albums like Paranoid by Black Sabbath and Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen, those are the classic records for us. When we’re together that’s mostly what we’re listening to – classics – I guess that’s quite a big thing.”
“A lot of the songs come from listening to a lot of Motown and there’s a lot that reflects the music we’ve been listening to for a long time, especially metal. ‘my dad’s black polo’ has a metal bit at the end, metal is such a big thing for us as well. That’s the music I was listening to when I was 12 years old…
“But as for the album, yeah, it’s easily the best thing we’ve ever done.”
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