Introducing: The Calls
Evolving bass-heavy psychedelic guitar whirl from Leeds trio…
YOUR NAME: Tom Fuller.
BAND NAME: The Calls.
WHAT DO YOU DO / PLAY? I’m the main songwriter and I do lead vocals and rhythm guitar, but dabble in a bit of keys as well.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER AS A BAND / PLAYING MUSIC?
That’s a long story to be honest! The Calls formed at the start of 2015 but myself and bassist Marcell have been playing music together for about ten years or so now. We used to have a band called The Imports at school which was an important learning experience, and we got to the final of the Martin House Centre Stage competition in 2013. We left school and went to university and then I formed a new band in 2015 with guitarist Will, who I’d known since we were kids, but he had only just started learning guitar about two years before. We started off playing some noughties indie rock stuff but then we started to discover guitar pedals and gradually morphed into the psychedelic indie band that we are now.
GIVE US THREE REASONS WHY WE SHOULD TRACK DOWN, LISTEN AND DISCOVER YOUR MUSIC?
1. It’s honest music. We play what we feel, and try to create sounds that move us. We’re not trying to be pioneers or to please the critics or to do what’s on trend. We’re making something that we think is great and hopefully other people do too.
2. I bet everyone says this, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there doing what we’re doing in quite the same way. At face value it’s indie rock, sure. But I think the combination of jangly guitar with shoegazey reverbs and delays, alongside reggae / funk basslines in the way that we do them is different to what anyone else is doing right now. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, or that it makes us any better than anyone else, but I think it’s true.
3. Every song is different. For example, our last release, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come Around Here’, was very inspired by The Clash and Portishead – very different to this one. Our next single is acoustic based so very different again. We’ve got some trip hop and some shoegaze in the works too, and we recently bought a drum machine which is pretty cool. Come to one of our shows and you’ll see what I mean.
“I’ve always liked the idea of having a gong”
WHERE DO YOU SOUND BEST – FESTIVAL, CLUB, BEDROOM – OR SOMEWHERE ELSE?
Headphones! There’s a lot of hidden sounds in the studio mixes that really show what the band is about, but come out best when you listen with headphones. Live we’re a different animal, our rhythm section tends to come across quite powerfully which can really hit you in a smaller venue.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST…
RECORD? Primal Scream – Screamadelica. I only began buying records in the last couple of years so I’m late to the party, but this has been one of my favourite albums for a while now, so as soon as I saw it in Jumbo Records in Leeds, I just had to have it. I’ve been spinning it again now that the legend Andrew Weatherall sadly passed away recently.
CD? This is a harder one to remember because my Dad’s always had such a big CD collection and I’ve always liked most of it so, for a long time, I never really needed to buy CDs. I think it might have been Suck It and See by Arctic Monkeys.
DOWNLOAD? I’ve never been a fan of downloading music. I think I’ve only ever done it with a few of my mates’ bands at school. CDs and records all the way.
SO, WHEN IT ALL GOES RIGHT AND YOU’VE GOT A MANSION AND A SUPERMODEL GIRL / BOYFRIEND, WHAT WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INDULGENCE?
I’ve always liked the idea of having a gong in the kitchen that I can bash when it’s time for dinner.
SO, WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG AND YOU’VE ACRIMONIOUSLY BROKEN UP CITING HUGE MUSICAL DIFFERENCES, WHAT DO YOU FALL BACK ON?
I’d just keep writing. I don’t think there’s anything else I’m much good at really, so I’d probably just stick at it. Hopefully by that point I can make a living off it so I don’t have to keep working in a supermarket! I can see myself ending up being that crazy guy who plays in the pub every week making songs that would otherwise be catchy if they didn’t have all those weird, far out experimental sounds…
“Develop this chemistry”
CITE SOME INTER-BAND MUSICAL DIFFERENCES …
You know, one of the cool things with us is that we don’t really have any. At least not any big ones. We used to have a fair few, Marcell was proper into metal and I’ve never understood that, but I think he’s less into it these days. Will was into ambient music, which I didn’t get but now I do. Over time we’ve all really started to develop this chemistry and we’re at the point where just about anything one of us listens to, the other two are probably gonna like it. The only thing I can think of is the two versions of ‘Morning Bell’ by Radiohead – I love both but the other guys really don’t like the Amnesiac version. That’s about it…
WHO ARE YORKSHIRE’S FINEST IN CULTURE, SPORT AND MUSIC?
Well, obviously, when it comes to sport I’m pretty biased towards all things Leeds. Hopefully Leeds United can get back up this season and reclaim top spot in Yorkshire from Sheffield United. Josh Warrington is doing us proud, and Leeds Rhinos are in a sticky patch at the moment but they’ll come back around. Musically, it pains me to say it but I’ve always been more into bands from the dark side of the Pennines, from Manchester and Liverpool. When it comes to Yorkshire, though, there’s no topping Arctic Monkeys. Their first two albums were so important to me as a teenager and they’ve still got it now – I love their latest record and The Last Shadow Puppets stuff as well. There’s some brilliant local bands around though – I’d definitely recommend checking out The Orielles from Halifax, who are excellent.
NAME YOUR SUPERGROUP – WHO’S PLAYING WHAT, WHO’S ON VOCALS AND WHO’S YOUR BEZ?
I’m trying to pick a combination that isn’t just virtuosos, but something I think would actually work well together.
Vocals: Thom Yorke
Lead Guitar: John Squire
Rhythm Guitar: Nick McCabe
Synth: Kevin Parker
Bass: Paul McCartney
Drums: Clyde Stubblefield
Bez: There’s only one Bez, man!
GO SEE THIS FILM: Lord of The Rings (extended, obviously).
GO READ THIS BOOK: Ian MacDonald – Revolution in The Head.
GREAT LOST BAND/ARTIST: King Tubby.
WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD SUPPORTING: Man United.
LONDON, L.A OR LEEDS? Leeds.
AND FINALLY, AS YOU LEAVE THE STAGE, WHAT ARE YOUR PARTING WORDS?
The Calls’ single ‘Fall Inside’ is out now. The band play Leeds Royal Park Cellars 14 March, Harrogate Montey’s 2 April, Manchester Off the Square 10 April
For more info visit thecalls.uk.com