Interview: The Long Islands with UNICEF x The Mic Live

The Long Islands are a three-piece alternative band, which formed in 2015 upon meeting as first years at The University of Nottingham. In 2017, their first record After Hours, named as a testament to how they would meet up in the evenings in order to escape from studies to practice, was released with positive reviews and featured on BBC Introducing in Nottingham. With the UNICEF Live sessions being their first gig, it’ll be an interesting event for a band who are itching to perform live.

Firstly, what are your roles in the band? Dan is the vocalist and lead guitarist, Matt is on drums and backing vocals and Rhys does bass, synth and a little bit of everything (even the tambourine). There are only three of us and we essentially wrote all of the songs live, so we play a lot of stuff. There isn’t a moment in the band when one of us isn’t playing something.

What’s the story behind your band name? To set the scene in Freshers 2015, Autumn Semester, we used to practice in the Portland building through BandSoc. We would always practice on a Thursday, which is cocktail night in Mooch (the SU bar) so afterwards we would go and get drunk on bad long island ice teas. We used to get drunk at practice quite a lot…

How would you describe your music? Our bassist once said, ‘Imagine if Foals made music in the 80s’, which I think is a good description. The BBC compared us with The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen which we’ll gladly take. We go for the 80s vibe but we are all influence by different people so it’s a mash up of pop punk, 80s and jazz.

Tell us about your work with BBC Introducing! Our song Hollow was played by BBC Introducing in the East Midlands and our song Sour has been sent to Radio1 for them to listen to! It’s been an exciting 6 months.

What’s the best gig you’ve been to in Nottingham? Dan: Cage the Elephant at Rescue Rooms! It was on Valentine’s day on a Sunday evening (which was strange) but I was definitely hurting the next day.

Matt: I saw Don Broco at a house party and they did a 20 song set. It was amazing and probably the best night of my life.

What are your ambitions for the future? Being played on Radio1 would be really cool. We would love to do a few festival slots like Dot2Dot and Splendour. I (Dan) grew up in Brighton and would like to play there.

And finally, if you could have written any song, what would it be? Dan: I would say Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac as it’s a song off my favourite album and it did a lot for their band. It was one of their main singles and really captures the album, especially with all of the gossip around Rumours.

Matt: Spanish Sahara by Foals, although it’s not the most famous song, it’s really chilled and my favourite song.

Rhys: Black and Tan Fantasy by Duke Ellington. I think because it’s just the perfect blend between rawness and technique. The song is volatile and yet so orchestrated, it’s like a controlled explosion. It’s also the first track I’ve ever been jealous of.

Tickets for the UNICEF x The Mic LIVE gig here.

The Long Islands will also be selling EPs at the gig for £3 with £1 going to charity!

Get your tickets here

Photo courtesy of Adam Wells

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