Interview: Long-View

Mancunian quartet Long-View have been around for about three years now, releasing a debut album, Mercury, in 2003 which spawned hit singles such as Further and Can’t Explain.

After a not too dramatic namechange (from Longview) they’re about to release a new single, Coming Down.

At the time of writing they’re gearing up for a headline show at London’s Scala, and the new album is expected out some time in 2005.
musicOMH had a chat with bassist Aidan Banks and guitarist Doug Morch in Kensington, London.

First things first – about this name change: who the hell are the other Longview? “When we formed about three years ago, we called ourselves Longview – we didn’t realise there was a bluegrass supergroup in various southern states of America (also called Longview). A friend of ours offered to go over and corner them all at a bluegrass festival and got them to sign something saying we could use the same name," Aidan explains. "But we had to stick a hyphen in the middle," Doug adds.

The minor name change is obviously a mere technicality and will have no effect on the style of music Long-View play, a sound that has been influenced by a wide range of modern rock bands.

Radiohead and also some American bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins are bands that we’re all into,” offers Aidan. After more musing and a brief discussion, Ride, The Verve and The Stone Roses came up as another set of bands that both guitarists agree has shaped their sound in some form or another.

For a group with such an indie pedigree, they took the unusual step of recording their debut album Mercury in Seattle with American producer Rick Parashar, whose previous credits have included Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains – how on earth did this come about?

“We didn’t realise there was a bluegrass supergroup in various southern states of America.”
– Long-View on that not so drastic name change.

“We met with some British producers, but we were also pitching it to some people in America. Rick got really excited about it, and he met Rob (McVey, Long-View lead vocalist) and seemed really into it. He seemed to know where we were coming from and had some good ideas for it. We wanted to get some great sounds, and we knew Rick could do that for us,” Aidan explains.

As for a follow up, Doug says: “Depending on when we can get in the studio, we’re looking to release an album before the end of the year”. So with any luck there should be new material with us before too long – the band released In A Dream as an interim single and are about to issue the previously unreleased Coming Down. “Coming Down, at the moment, will be on the second album. It’s a good indication of where it’s going, those two songs,” Doug explains.

Talking of America, in November the band played their first overseas shows in New York, which were essentially record company showcases.

“It’s only really preliminary because we’ve never put anything out over there, so it was a bit word of mouth – people had travelled from Connecticut and New Jersey, so that was great. But there was a lot of record company people there seeing us for the first time, so it was just touching and saying hello,” Aidan explains.

“People had travelled from Connecticut and New Jersey to see us.”
– The band on their growing reputation Stateside.

Recently the band played an unusual gig in London at the famous Prince Charles Cinema, an event which included the showing of The Wall by Pink Floyd.

“We’ve been trying to do different kinds of gigs. We thought we’d try to play somewhere a bit different, a bit vibey, a bit different to your run of the mill circuit,” Aidan points out. “We’re not directly influenced by Pink Floyd, we just wanted to show a rock and roll film,” adds Doug.

I asked if there were any gigs that stick in the memory. “Glastonbury last year – that was amazing,” says Aidan. Doug adds: “It was rammed, we didn’t expect it to be so good, we got such a warm welcome”.

Their early performance at V2002 also evokes fond memories, this was the gig that created an initial Long-View buzz.”It was the first festival we ever did, so it was really exciting. We raced through the songs because we were so nervous!” reveals Doug.

“We thought we’d try to play somewhere a bit different to the run of the mill.”
– On Long-View’s recent cinema gig ‘supporting’ Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Despite their enormous talent, success has not been widespread for Long-View. They’re doing a gig at the Scala, a small venue in North London, while contemporaries such as Keane and Franz Ferdinand have enjoyed numerous sold out tours in larger venues over the last year. Does this fast track road to success frustrate them?

“You can’t help but think ‘we’d like a bit of that’, but then, on the other hand, we’re also in a position now that’s quite good – we’re not under a lot of pressure to make our second album, we’ve not got to live up to anyone’s expectations – except our own, which are pretty high,” Aidan says with assurance.

So what does 2005 hold in store?

“We’re just going to play some gigs and write more songs,” Aidan confirms. With this positive work ethic, the following year can only bode well for Long-View. They’re touring America, appearing at the summer festivals and are releasing a new album. Do yourself a favour and don’t miss out this time around.

buy Long-View MP3s or CDs
Spotify Long-View on Spotify

More on Long-View
Interview: Long-View
Long-View – Subversions
Long-View @ ULU, London
Long-View – Mercury