Fresh from a jam-packed festival season boasting Reading and Leeds, Citadel, and Neighbourhood Weekender, we caught up with the lead singer of Sea Girls, Henry, ahead of their October headline tour to talk festivals, favourite bands, and Frank Sinatra.
So, how did the band form?
Well we all knew each other from school, and we all were in different bands with each other. After we left university, we just all moved to London and started it again – we got it together!
Who inspired your sound at this time?
I think when we were first getting together and first writing songs, pre-Sea Girls, we were writing off the back of Arctic Monkeys. Then there were bands like The XX who we were really listening to when we started writing songs, but that’s very different to what we do now. Bands like that really, that kind of wave. Florence and the Machine, that was massive. It was more than just rock – just good song writing.
As far as I can tell, you’re all chaps staying very much on land, so what was the inspiration behind the name ‘Sea Girls’?
So basically, it’s a mistaken lyric in a song called ‘The Water’s Edge’ by Nick Cave, something like ‘All the sea girls go down to the water’s edge’, and it kinda felt ‘other worldly’. That was just a phrase that stuck really. We thought it was cool and it felt like a bit of an escape, I guess. It’s one of those phrases that makes you feel sort of different.
And after all that time, it’s a mistaken lyric?
But that’s cool!
It makes for a good story at least! So, you’ve just had a pretty impressive festival season, what were your highlights?
To play Reading and Leeds is every band’s dream. When you’re growing up, that’s like an affirming moment, like you’re saying, ‘We’ve arrived!’. Also, we had a show at All Points East, at the beginning of the summer, which was one of our first festivals and we got such a brilliant reaction. We didn’t know what to expect or how many people would come and see us, and it was packed! Such a lively crowd, so loud, and we just thought we were so lucky! Amazing way to start the summer!
Tour starts in just a week or so now, are there any dates, apart from lovely, lovely Nottingham, you’re particularly looking forward to?
I think Scala, because that will be our biggest show, numbers wise. Nottingham’s going to be our first night, and that’ll be really cool. King Tut’s Wah Wah – that’s the one we play after Nottingham, and last time there it was just so special, as it was the last night of our tour. We didn’t expect it to be very full, and that sold out on the night! Going back there should be really cool! We just want to start playing again!
You’ve only had two weeks off!
We’re getting itchy! Manchester too. They have a rich history of backing guitar bands, there’s just something about playing there. Right in the heart of the country too.
Did you expect the ADORED and HEAVENLY WAR EP’s to be received so warmly and create such a buzz?
I don’t think we knew what to expect. Sometimes it’s like ‘Holy sh*t’, when we’ve just put a song out and then Annie Mac plays it the next day! We just felt really lucky, we’ve felt like we’ve been getting better at song writing and the way we construct our songs – we’ve just pushed ourselves, and been experimenting. We’ve felt like everything we’ve been putting out has actually been good! And we were Radio 1’s ‘Ones to Watch’ – they’ve been good to us! Actually, Dean Jackson from Nottingham Radio was the first guy to send our tracks to Radio 1.
Nottingham is influential in the band’s history then!
Yeah, Nottingham is special!
Do you prefer being out on tour or in the studio recording new music?
I’d say being out on tour. If you can mix both, that’s great, but being out on tour is what you dream about. Being able to play a show knowing you’re playing another the next night. Just travelling around the country. Sometimes we get a few days off and we write in those days. But you’ve got to get the music in. You’ve got to have your Ying and your Yang.
If you could play a show with a band or artist of your choice, who would it be?
I think Frank Sinatra, and it’d be in Vegas. And we’d have The Killers there too.
Sounds spectacular! 2018 has marked a string of single and EP releases for the band, but what does the future hold for ‘Sea Girls’?
Well, we’ll have an album out in 2019, we’ll have loads more T shirts on sale, I’ve got a haircut in store… Loads more writing, loads more recording, and gigging as much as possible. We’ve got a good system going. I think we may tour again in March.
Lastly, and we ask this to every band as a bit of a novelty question, but if you could have written any song in history, which song would you have written?
Ahh, that’s the sort of question you’d expect to hear but I haven’t been asked before! Really good question!
Thank you very much!
I think ‘Supersonic’ by Oasis actually. I think that song is just so cool – the energy of what a young band is! Another song I’d like to have written is ‘Finale’ by Funeral Party, I love that song! If you listen to it, you’ll like it! There’s a vocal where I feel like he knows he can’t sing it, but that kind of energy is what I like.
Sea Girls are set to play Nottingham’s Bodega on October 4th. Tickets still available at the time of writing.
Photo credit: Phil Smithies