Glasgow's The LaFontaines talk live shows, exposure & making their Belfast debut with Don Broco
Fast rising Glasgow pop/rock/rapsters The LaFontaines play their first Belfast gig next week. We quizzed singer Kerr Okan about their recent album Common Problem and why you should get in early to see them supporting Don Broco
HOW would you describe The LaFontaines' musical style?
It's hard to try and describe something that doesn't really exist anywhere else – it's the gift and curse of what we do. Some people try to loosely lump it in with other genres because it makes it easier for the industry framework. But we've become accustomed to it by now, it's always going to be tough being the first through the door.
All we know is, whatever type music we make, people like it. Be it 3,000 folk up in Glasgow or 200 down in St Albans, they keep turning up to the shows.
I think at our very core we are a true rock band. The only problem we have is exposure. We've been 100 per cent independent since we started The LaFontaines 10 years ago.
That means everything from forming our own record label, manufacturing our own CDs, creating our own merch, artwork, videos etc since day one – all on the tightest of budgets.
More money means more exposure. We've never had a problem with anyone not being ready for the music; our only issue has been giving them the opportunity to hear it. That's why live performances mean everything to us.
Live has and always will be our main priority – it's where the band comes alive. We have the best possible time at every show we play, regardless of city or venue, and I think that translates to the crowd. People can tell when something is genuine, when a band is being authentic and true to themselves. Live is where you get to witness what The LaFontaines are all about.
Plus, we are absolutely class live, to be fair.
Your current album Common Problem was a big step forward in terms of writing and production. Where do you go from there?
Common Problem was certainly a darker record than our debut. With Class, we had all our lives to write, and up to that point everything was still pretty new and exciting. With Common Problem we had seen a lot more of the world, we had toured pretty much everywhere you could as a band, and the world was/still is in a pretty shaky state – so lyrically I couldn't help but write about that.
I think in terms of what comes next we just carry on doing our thing. We already have a unique sound so we never need to worry about anything sounding rehashed or redundant. Just carry on making some big tunes.
Your drummer Jamie wrote a book which comes with the album and in which he shares some of his crazy tales from the road. Were you surprised how popular this has become?
I'm more surprised that he can actually remember any of his stories, let alone write them down! I love how it authentically spread though. People were recommending it to friends and family and then word spread online and orders started flying out of our store.
There is even talk of turning it into a mini-series… but that's for another interview.
What's happening in terms of writing and recording at the moment?
Literally just before we jumped on this tour, we were in the studio recording new material. In fact, as soon as we get our next day off on this run we are heading back to Glasgow to finish a couple songs off.
We never really stopped writing after Common Problem, and since then everything has been flowing pretty well. The way things are going at the moment we will have another release by the end of the year. It already sounds pretty different to our last record – obviously.
Are you looking forward to heading out on the road with Don Broco again?
We've never been as excited about a tour as we are for this one, genuinely. We had a night out with the boys in Broco a few years back in Birmingham and it was total class. They are up for a laugh and they play good tunes, what more could you want?
One of the best things for us is that we get to play to a whole host of new people. Any opportunity we get to spread the music is something we appreciate and will make the most of.
Please get yourself down as early as possible and we promise we won't disappoint: we promise you the best gig of your life, or a money back guarantee (terms and conditions apply).
Will this be your first Belfast show?
We've never been to Belfast before and it's the city we are most looking forward to playing. In fact that's a lie – we've been briefly, to *try* collecting our American working visas from the embassy, which was a nightmare.
So I'm looking forward to going back there and throwing a few stones at the windows.
Who knew criminal records stuck with you for life?!
:: The LaFontaines support Don Broco at The Mandela Hall, QUBSU, on April 24. Tickets £20 via Ticketmaster outlets.