Start up a gritty indie band with your mates in Camden and you’ll be told it’s all been done before. But this is exactly what Tribes‘ front man Johnny Lloyd did two years ago. Sticking two fingers up to modern rock’s stiff upper lip, the band wrote songs that emulated the music that they loved and remain determined to show the world that there is still a place for young bands to create exciting, guitar-led music. 2011 saw the band’s status grow, gaining support slots with The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs and the legendary Pixies. With their debut release Baby set to drop this month, Wonderland spoke to front man Johnny to find out about the band’s journey so far.
What’s the inspiration behind the music?
It was kind of harking back, originally, to a 90s sound – the kind of stuff we grew up on. It’s kind of moved away from that now, but there’s a lot of 70s music in there as well; the Stones, the Zeppelins, Black Sabbath, that kind of stuff. We just wanted to make songs that people can connect with easily and that were a little bit heavier than the sort of jingle jangle indie that’s going on nowadays.
Why is the album called Baby?
It just came up one day, y’know – it’s our debut and it’s our baby. We couldn’t believe that no one had called an album baby before. It’s like the most commonly used word in music.
What made you decide to record the album on tape?
We just wanted to get that warmth of sound that you can hear on so many older records. I suppose with the X Factor generation, you listen to something on the radio and you’re not actually listening to the person or the band, you’re listening to a fucking computer program that’s put it together. So we wanted to get away from that and make something that was a bit earthier and hopefully has longevity.
There have been rumours about a member of the band dating actress Scarlett Johansson. Is it strange to find yourselves an interest to the tabloids?
Yeah it’s just started. I don’t think it affects the band, it’s just the British press and all that – we’ve got friends who are actors and do all that paparazzi nonsense. I just think it’s not really for us, but you can’t do anything about it. It’s fun for your mum and dad and your nan. Nan’s like, “Ooh, he’s in the paper'”- I think that’s about as serious as we take it.
What has been the worst moment for the band so far?
Fucking stuck in Poland last month for like three days freezing our arses off in some God forsaken shithole. We broke down while we were on our European tour and we were in a really rough part of Poland. It was really tense; the hotel clerk wouldn’t even let us go out the hotel. There was even a man with a gun in the car park protecting our van.
How about the best moment?
The Electric Ballroom in Camden in October – it was the first time we’d sold so many tickets. It felt like we’d finally left the clubs and we were into the venues. It was a big moment for us.
Baby is set for release on the 16th
Words: Tom Shepherd