Words: Ellie Desborough | Photography: Bethan McConnell (Instragram/Twitter: @BethanMcConnell
Post-Britpop-ish indie rockers FEET released their new Christmas single, ‘Vegetarian Christmas’, last week, so their flat has been transformed into a majestic winter wonderland. Well, not quite. But there is something endearing about the white socks duct-taped on the brick wall with their names scribbled on with Sharpie. I sit down with Oli, Callum, Harry and Ben for a festive chat about the Yuletide season. It is Creasemas after all.
Your debut album, What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham, came out a couple of months ago. How does it feel having your first album out?
O: It was quite relaxing once it was out; it took some pressure off. We knew a lot of people were gonna judge us by it. It felt like, “Thank God it’s finally out!”
C: We did a timer for midnight when it came out and it was this big countdown but it was just like, “Oh. It’s out.”
B: I think we were expecting fireworks to go off, but it was a bit of an anticlimax.
H: Yeah, like, “That’s done. Let’s go write some more songs.”
Which song are you most proud of on the album?
C: That’s like choosing one of your kids! My favourite is ‘Good Richard’s Crash Landing’.
O: We played that today and it seemed quite seamless.
B: I’ve grown to like ‘Chalet 47’.
O: I’ve been enjoying ‘Wiggy Pop’ on this last tour because it’s quite different from the rest of the album. It’s a different direction it seems.
B: That’s quite an easy one for people to grasp. It’s a good closer for the album.
Favourite track to play live?
All: Definitely the title track.
O: We bonded with a couple of good sound guys, Greg in particular. We did a chaotic jam intro and he mixed George’s vocals to be really quite horrific yet lovely at the same time. That became a big part of the set. Since then, that’s been the most enjoyable bit.
B: The best response we’ve ever had to a song live was ‘Outer Rim’ in Glasgow. A third of the whole crowd got on stage and we got cut off.
C: The dude was getting annoyed so he just cut Harry’s amp off. No one knew what to do so they just carried on dancing.
H: It went on longer than it needed to go on for!
B: I feel Glaswegians just know how to have a great time.
Was that your favourite gig on the tour?
C: Yeah. Or Brighton. Some dude who had handlebars, better than George’s, brought a kettle referencing the ‘Ad Blue’ video. Don’t know how he got it in.
H: He filled it with Carling as well.
O: What about it makes it a safety hazard though?
C: Blunt force trauma.
You’ve just released your Christmas single, ‘Vegetarian Christmas’ – please explain!
C: We tried to write a song in the summer and then it was basically, “This sounds like too much of a joke.” We thought, “It kind of sounds like a Christmas song,” because of the synth and its Christmassy setting.
B: This was in the summer, in a conservatory with all the windows open and the sun blazing.
C: We didn’t really think anything of it until the tour. We mentioned it to our manager. On the tour she said, “If you want to do a Christmas song, you’re going to have to do it ASAP”. So we thought, cool. We got booked into the studio and we hadn’t even written it. George had some lyrics about a vegetarian Christmas but then we wrote it on a day off and recorded it on the day we got back. It was very rushed. If it does sound polished, it’s not. That’s all fake.
H: We have successfully polished a turd.
O: We’re battling Robbie for the number 1 spot.
C: Hopefully our angle of vegetarianism takes everyone by surprise.
H: George has only turned veggie because of the song. It’s a good reason to change.
C: We’re not preaching, we’re teaching.
B: We just think it’s quite funny. Everyone always mentions turkey and stuffing and we’re just like, “….Linda McCartney’s?”
So what is the best part of Christmas dinner as a vegetarian?
O: It depends where you go about finding your meat substitute. Depends who’s cooking it and if you’ve got a real accommodator. I’ve experienced it where you just get all the veg. And sometimes they tell you there’s beef in the gravy. Like a big “Fuck You”.
B: Roasties without a doubt.
O: For the [‘Vegetarian Christmas’] music video, Ben assembled a toad in the hole with Linda McCartney’s. If anyone wants to be a bit more creative rather than heating up a pre-made nut roast then that’s the way to do it.
H: I’m at the point now where if I turned up to my family Christmas with a corn roast they’d be like, “…just have some turkey instead.”
C: The toad in the hole was a shout because you get the Yorkshires in there.
B: Yeah, boiling sprouts. Steaming sprouts…it’s the wrong way to go, man. You’ve got to fry or roast them. As much butter as you can salt, maybe a bit of cumin. Fry ’em up, roast ’em up, get ’em all crispy. They’re incredible.
When is the right time to get into the Christmas spirit?
O: We came across Bailey’s in a cup of tea.
C: I had it in Earl Grey and it takes the ruddy cake.
O: That idea really accelerated the time.
C: Drink that in November and you’ll feel Christmassy within minutes.
B: When the family Christmas album comes on, that’s when it starts for me.
O: Or this year, the return of Gavin and Stacey.
C: When Die Hard starts coming on ITV… that’s when you know.
O: Elf is on Channel 4 for the third time.
What’s your favourite Christmas film then?
All: Die Hard
O: Or Groundhog Day.
H: A proper bloke’s Christmas.
B: Home Alone for me. Isn’t that the one where he throws the bricks off the roof? I like the one where he’s in the hotel room and spends all the money on his dad’s credit card.
C: That’s Home Alone 2. Home Alone Donny T edition.
Favourite Christmas song?
H: I’m just going to bang out ‘Last Christmas’.
O: I have a soft spot for The Darkness’ one. It’s fantastic.
B: My favourite is by The Unlimited Orchestra with Barry White singing a song called ‘It May Be Winter Outside But In My Heart It’s Spring’.
O: What’s the Bob Geldof one? I like that too. Good shit, that.
C: Elton John ‘Step Into Christmas’.
Best present you’ve ever received?
C: Nintendo GameCube.
H: PS1. All games! Wait no, when I got my drum kit. I was 9 years old. I walked downstairs and it was all hidden and shit. It was sick. Didn’t have any sticks though so the first time I ever played drums in my life was with kitchen roll cardboard holders.
C: That’s a good music one, but mine is still the GameCube.
B: I got a go-kart one year.
O: I used to quite enjoy a Scalextrix.
All: Ooo yeah.
H: I got a skateboard one year but all the components were separated and I had to build it. That was cool.
C: I got a bass one year. It was rubbish, but I loved it.
Ideal Christmas party?
H: David Mitchell, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge, Rob Brydon as Bryn [his Gavin and Stacey character]. And what’s Bryn without Nessa?
C: Johnson [from Peep Show].
O: Mike Myers as Austin Powers.
C: And/or Shrek. Or both.
H: No musicians, apparently. The music would be exclusively Christmas singles but all on 7″ records.
C: Just our Christmas song on repeat.
O: Could have a George Michael hologram.
B: It would be the after-party to our Clapped Christmas party on the 14th of December at Tileyard. It’s going on til 4am.
Christmas vs. New Year?
O: Always Christmas for me.
C: New Year’s always disappointing. It’s always, “Could have had a better night”.
O: Everything is always so expensive on New Year’s.
H: And everything’s busy. I hate going out for New Year’s. I’ve done it once and it was shit. You can’t get to the fucking bar, everyone’s just being a prick. Just have a house party, it’s always better. You don’t have to get shafted for a pint at the bar every 20 minutes and wait 40 minutes for it.
C: House party is the way. Then you can all have a wholesome time when it gets to midnight.
B: I still prefer Christmas day I think.
Any New Year’s resolutions?
O: Hopefully sign a couple bands on our label.
C: We’ve encouraged people who’ve expressed interest in Clapped Records to give us a physical demo on cassette or CD. No digital allowed.
H: He’s obviously joking. Well I hope you are. We’re not that pompous!
C: It’s just crease innit, to have it physically. I want to receive it in the post. Have a Clapped Records P.O Box and receiving it in the post is just sick.
B: …we can’t play it, though.
Plans for next year?
C: Go to America for the first time.
B: We’ve got SXSW.
O: We’re going on tour with Inhaler; that should be cool. Make some new friends.
B: Festival season and getting warm.
H: I’m bored of it being cold and miserable and it’s not even bad yet.
O: A lot more shows and writing. We’ll do some more of our own shows in April/May.
B: There’s some goal venues we’d like to be able to play.
H: We really wanna do a Scala show. Or Tufnell Park at The Dome.
O: Go to Brighton, do a bigger show there. Maybe we’ll disband and that will be our big thing.
H: One of us will have a horrible accident and we’ll just have the one album.
B: We’ll pull straws for who’s gonna take one for the team.
FEET play Tileyard for the Clapped Records Christmas Party on 14th December. Vegetarian Christmas is out now.