Snapped up by Sub Pop on the strength of just one single, Still Corners’ dark synth-laden pop is definitely going places. Wonderland catch up with Greg Hughes, the man who started it all, ahead of next Monday’s gig at Dalston Roof Park.
You guys are sometimes classed as a shoegaze band – do you think that’s accurate?
I don’t think it is! I like Mazzy Star quite a bit but I don’t listen to much other shoegaze. I always thought of us as dreamy pop music. There’s some of Phil Spector, it’s kind of folky… I always think of shoegaze as having washes of guitar, but here isn’t really a ton of electric guitar on our record. I was always a more mellow pop guy. I listen to our album now and I think, “Wow, that’s quite down tempo.”
We hear you met lead singer Tessa in an unconventional way…
It took a while to find a singer. I was on a train going to London Bridge, but it passed that station and went to another station called Kidbrooke, which was in Greenwich. I was like, “What the hell!?”, got off the train and was standing there. Then this other person got off and she came up to me and said, “Did you think this was going to London Bridge? I just spoke to one of the conductors and he said it was mislabelled.” We started chatting, and that was Tessa! She said she was going to miss choir and I was like, “Oh, okay…”
You did your first US tour last year. How was that?
The drives are crazy! We did this one drive fom Minneapolis to Vancouver which was thirty hours. After you’ve been on the road for three days for twelve hours each, you get white line fever – you watch all these straight lines on the road for twelve hours. It’s kind of psychedelic, actually.
There was a huge amount of hype around you before your debut album. Did you ever feel the pressure?
Part of me doesn’t actually care that much! I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. You can only create what’s inside you and hope that people like it.
What are you listening to right now?
I saw this movie called Manhunter recently, it’s the first of the Silence of the Lambs movies but no-one’s ever heard of it. It got released in ‘86 and it has an amazing soundtrack. I watched that film 8 months ago, and ever since then I’ve been listening to Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, stuff like that.
Your music’s been labelled ‘cinematic’. Why do you think that is?
That’s what I feel when I’m listening back to it, it’s quite visual and I don’t know why. I draw a lot of inspiration from films. When I was doing Creatures of an Hour I was watching lots of horror films, but I was trying to make it quite beautiful, like eerie horror music.
So if you could describe your image in one cinematic image, what would it be?
A girl walking through a park in autumn on a windy day, crunching leaves on her way home. I don’t know why, that’s what I always see when I listen to us.
If you guys could soundtrack any film, what would it be?
I’d say Rosemary’s Baby. I love the movie! We’d do things pretty differently though.
Words: Zing Tsjeng
Images: Cat Stevens