- John Johnston
- 28 April 2009
Rogues - Carnival
Maybe it’s because they’re from my part of London, but Rogues have seemingly been building up a head of steam that recently saw them release debut single Not So Pretty to great acclaim. Mixing Duran Duran, early U2, The Clash and Bowie, the band seems to have a knack for big tunes with an electro vibe and catchy chorus. I spoke to singer Pearse MacIntyre.
You’ve only been around for a short amount of time, but already you've created quite a buzz. Do you feel it’s deserved or are you slightly overwhelmed?
Indeed, we’ve been pretty busy since our first gig last September. Sam and myself always intended for our first London show to be a frantic event and thankfully it was. The buzz started a couple of weeks beforehand when we posted some songs on our MySpace, and from then on it escalated into a big nervous climax in Kings Cross. I suppose we were a little overwhelmed, we didn’t expect so many people and it was the first time we’d shared a stage. It was good though. We’ve been operating in hot water from the word go. The buzz is a hum that rattles away in the background for us though; we’re just concentrating on songs at the moment.
So how did the band start then?
We formed in the summer of 2008. Sam and me had joined forces six months earlier, writing songs and establishing ideas for the band both musically and visually. We had known each other for a few years, but we were in different bands and we’re more acquaintances until those bands dissolved. My little brother Frog [John] joined us on bass shortly after and then my other little brother Tom came in on drums. Patrick was a semi-drinking partner in Harrow. I knew he could play piano so I kept asking him and he kept saying yes whenever I saw him but nothing came of it for ages; eventually though we managed to do it in August last year.
Does having brothers in the band complicate matters like it has sometimes famously done to others?
It complicates the wardrobe situation; Frog and me are currently waging a shoe war against each other. We only have about five items of clothing between us! It makes the situation more convenient though, no waiting about and Tom and me have a sub-conscious understanding because we’ve played together since being little ones. I couldn’t imagine playing with another drummer.
Must make the music influencing your own simpler too. What has influenced your sound?
I think it does in a way, but we’ve all got different tastes. I’m a fan of The Smiths, Klaxons and Jamie T while Sam is more into the Clash, T-Rex and Holy Bible-era Manics. There’s a few things we all love – 'Everybody wants to Rule the World' by Tears for Fears for example and David Bowie. I dare say Prince is sometimes referenced in our sound too.
Your single, Not So Pretty has done well with a lot of airplay. How was working with the 50 Bones label?
It’s fared well. Radio One, XFM and NME have been very supportive, as have 50 Bones. They’ve released stuff by Little Boots and the Virgins and we really liked the team there so went with them for the single release. Our next single is going to be MerryGoRound, released sometime in July, but don’t know on which label yet.
Does that mean an album is imminent too?
We had enough material quite soon after forming but there’s been a rapid evolution and new vibe. The new songs are a lot more pop and weirder and generally better. I think we’ve got three quarters of an album that would represent our last eight months, but we’ve got time at the moment to write. It’s tough to do that on the road.
How was the Iglu & Hartly tour? Do they ever wear shirts?
They’re cool guys; great fun to tour with and showed us a lot about how to make a room full of people go nuts. Contrary to popular belief, and available evidence, they do wear shirts most of the time.
What do you hope for the next year to hold for you guys?
We’re taking everything as it comes. We’ve got a single out, so I suppose the initial goal is to hear it coming out of car stereos – and not just our own. We have ambitions to write huge, monstrous pop songs, so refining that art is definitely on the agenda. We’ve got a couple that haven’t been heard so I look forward to unleashing them. In the long term I think we’ve realised that we have to be a vital, massive band. All the other avenues are too dimly lit.
Rogues will be playing Hinterland Festival, Glasgow, May