Tell us about the album. It’s fun-packed, uplifting, early Blur-ish in parts, jovial Pogues in others... is that fair?
I think there’s a fair bit of early Blur and shades of the Pogues casting their shadow over the album but also bits of classical music thrown in for good measure. Harmony-wise I think it recalls the Beach Boys. We just wanted to make a good dynamic pop record with ambitious arrangements, and interesting lyrics.
You’ve called it The Empire Never Ended and your last single was Forgive Us We’re British. Hardly swollen with national pride are you?
The title is as much about celebrating Britain as it is about slamming its shameful foreign policies. It’s impossible for me not to get annoyed by our government’s tendency to invade other countries illegally. In that respect nothing has really changed from the time of the British Empire. But that’s not to say I don’t love it here. It’s a pretty awesome place to live and the album celebrates that too.
You’ve been around a while. Why has the album taken so long?
We kept losing our drummers, which slowed everything down. Also, we wanted to make sure every song that went on the album was decent and like it was from the same body of work. I’m glad we took our time with it.
You funded it by busking?
We released a single a couple of years ago and instead of a conventional tour we did a busking tour of the UK. What surprised us was the amount of cash we made. It’s been our main source of income ever since. It’s gruelling but I’m proud of what we achieved. It’s pretty much as DIY as you can get and it’s also a great way to promote your music.
You launched the album at the Rescue Rooms with an 18-piece orchestra. How did it go and any more plans for shows with them?
It was a proper all or nothing show with absolutely no room for error due to playing along with a conductor. I was terrified but it was one of those nights that we’ll always remember. It was triumphant. As for playing with them again, we’d love to, if logistics and funds allow it.
Some of your songs have been played on TV?
Everything Beautiful Reminds Me Of You has been on TV loads over the last year. That’s mainly down to our publisher. It’s been on a Grey’s Anatomy advert, an ITV football advert, Hollyoaks and Fresh Meat. It’s an odd feeling to be watching telly and your song pops up. It’s also a decent reference point for family members. My gran no longer thinks I’m a loser for being in a band.
Heather and Tommy is about Heather Locklear and Tommy Lee. Why?
I’d just re-read Motley Crue’s The Dirt and started thinking about what their marriage may have been like. There’s something really endearing about Tommy Lee. I’d like to be his mate. I’ve not sent them a copy of the song but I might. Although I don’t want her husband coming after me with the rest of Bon Jovi.
Where and when is the album available?
July 4 on iTunes and Spotify. Physical copies will be available at shows and at www.imnotfromlondon.com.