Label Meets: Erland and the Carnival

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Erland and the Carnival's have just returned to the UK following the SXSW Festival in Texas full of sun, food and booze.

Label caught up with the band’s Erland Cooper and Simon Tong to talk about their second album Nightingale hours before performing at Leicester's cosy The Musician pub.

Only being back in the country a few days ago after the notoriously eclectic SXSW festival in Texas, Erland And The Carnival are already back into the touring mode in the UK.

SXSW is notorious for an overload of acts playing and putting on showcases.

Erland said about the experience: “SXSW was really hot, crammed with people but got to do some really good shows” and continued to reveal his personal highlight: “White Denim were really worth seeing, really enjoyed seeing that.”

Whilst multi-instrumentalist Simon, who’s CV boasts The Verve, The Good The Bad And The Queen and Gorillaz revealed that his highlights were: 'The Strokes and Emily & The Pirates'. An eclectic mix of bands.

Erland continued that the band “would've liked to have seen more but there were too many [bands]playing”.

Certainly an absolute plethora of talent, the line-ups deduced in an analogy by Erland as like 'a bible'. Amen to that

Erland & The Carnival played many showcases, and acoustic sets at SXSW, certainly not just lazing around in the sun!

After so many shows, it was definitely worth asking which show stood out in particular, Erland explained that it was “one at a private house, outside, opposite a barbecue party, and had loads of bands playing in the back garden, that was most memorable, really hot in the middle of the day.

I like to be in a dark room so I find that hard. It was really good but a different show.” Completely summing a beautiful occasion it would seem.

After these numerous successful performances, are there any festivals lined up for the summer?

“There's Hop Farm, a few in Europe, and one in Russia.”: Erland explained that these festivals are like “going from extremes”, to which it feels that at least the sun and tan from SXSW came first to take it to Russia, to which Erland quipped that 'my pasty Orcadian white skin does not tan!'

Whilst sitting in the Musician before the show the crowd seems like a real mix of ages and it's certainly pretty rammed in here, ever more proving Erland & The Carnival's growing fan-base who enjoys their poppy yet dark and psychedelic songs.

This isn't the first time they've played in Leicester, coming before when they supported the equally mesmerising and beautiful Wild Beasts, where Erland explained that the band got a 'really good reaction, people seemed to get it, so that's why we've come back'.

It seems apt that Erland mentions the need to get the band, who promote themselves in strange carnivalesque masks, in order to suggest that they are not your ten to a dozen indie band that have no unique qualities.

Their second album, 'Nightingale' has just been released and has certainly proved their worth and durance – it's been constantly on the stereo.

Stand out tracks have certainly been already released 'Map of An Englishman' and electro influenced 'In The Springtime' to which Erland quips in that the song is in fact 'our next single actually' and continues to describe a somewhat bizarre video: ‘I was buried with cockroaches crawling over me'. Certainly worthwhile looking out for the video as the track is so upbeat, poppy and very 80s!

I did wonder what the track grew out of, and Erland explained that 'we took a really old folk song's melody and put our influence on the track…did it sound like another song to you?' At this point I have to be perfectly honest and admitted on first listen I thought it was the Pet Shop Boys, to which the lads dissolve into hysteric laughter and the comment of 'Wow…' Maybe not what they have been going for, but it is certainly a compliment! Erland admitted 'I didn't expect that.' But isn't that the beauty of music to be interpreted differently by so many.

Simon philosophically deduced that this is exactly what the band do, they ' take something ancient with an old melody then you add your influence and twist on it', which the album has embodied with having a nostalgic vision of English heritage, shown through the band who 'all bring different influences' and come together to produce beautiful music that has constantly been hailed and enjoyed by many, most notably massive fan Paul Weller!

Just before I leave the boys for the show, we've been sitting talking whilst their support act Hannah Peel has been sound checking, Erland tells me to watch out for her, 'she's got a lovely album, and is supporting us on this tour. We did a remix of one of her songs 'The Almond Tree'. So check her out tonight.' Maybe shameless self-promotion in their abilities as mixologists, but also a tip for the future.

As I wish the chaps best of luck for the show, this definitely feels like a band who has a very healthy and prosperous future. Maybe their fans should become 'carnivalites' or 'carnies', either way I know I'm certainly one!

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