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Interview: We Start Partys (Butserfest Exclusive)

At their fourth Butserfest appearance, we had a chat with We Start Partys and found out everything we were dying to know about their debut album, Nothing But Trouble! Read about it all here!


In Butser years, Bristolian We Start Partys are veterans. Since their first appearance in 2010, the group and their sound have evolved massively – from quintet to trio, from rock to pop, the noise-makers are now Indonesia’s One Direction. One thing hasn’t changed, and that’s their DIY ethic!

With self-recorded-and-produced album Nothing But Trouble released on the 7th October, we had a sit down with Ben Hawthorne [lead vocals/guitar], Dave Sully [bass/vocals] and Matt Jenkinson [drums] to chat about Butserfest, Asia, and of course, the album!

HTF: First of all, how are you?

Ben: Good. Cold.

HTF: It’s so cold today it’s ridiculous! This is your third appearance at Butserfest.

B: Fourth, technically. We did an acoustic set last year, this is our third live appearance yeah.

HTF: How’s it been?

Dave: Good. Really good.

B: Good. We’ve never had a bad set here.

Matt: WE think we’ve never had a bad set.

B: From on stage it sounds alright!

HTF: Don’t worry you were great! How’s the event changed since your first Butser in 2010?

B: There’s just more people involved. There’s more clothing brands around, there’s a lot more people working here now.

HTF: We think it’s safe to say that since the last time you were here, the band’s sound has undergone a makeover! This time round WSP is VERY pop. What sparked the change? Anything?

D: Don’t know.

B: I just like cheesy pop music.

D: It’s just how it’s evolved, isn’t it? It just kind of happened.

B: Yeah we just sat down and wrote some tunes and they just came out how they were really and we like them.

HTF: The first glimpse of the new sound we got was your single ‘Down Like That’. How was the response?

B: Good. I think people from that knew we’d changed direction, and I think more people like the new sound and also agreed that it’s very catchy and different to what we normally sounded like. But it was more us growing out of what we were, which was a Bristol-based rock-pop band, to actually trying to go mainstream, bigger, better.

HTF: It’s definitely worked, but did you feel any pressure today being billed next to heavier acts such as Subsource?

B: I think the first year we were worried.

D: We were heavier the first year.

M: It’s been the same, it’s always like that.

B: The first year we were really nervous, but then we realised this festival isn’t about the heavier audience or the poppy audience, it’s just about people who like the music and want to just have fun.

HTF: Recently you’ve gained a pretty insane following from the Asian countries. How did that come about?!

B: I basically sat down and started emailing to people in Asia because… I just did. In case they liked it.

D: You used to live there.

B: Yeah I used to live there and my parents still have a place out there and they were saying how well our stuff would go down out there, so I thought I’d try it, see what happens. So I spent months and months emailing different people and eventually we managed to get playlisted on a music channel, and once we got playlisted we then got asked for more videos to add to the playlist then that got put out to everyone in Asia gradually. Then hey presto we were out there doing tours.

HTF: Awesome! How do your shows out there compare to your shows in the UK?

M: A lot better!

B: You can’t say that!

M: No, I mean a lot better by the size of the crowd.

B: We have a massive fan base out there and we’ve played some massive shows out there. The last time we were there we were out there for seven days, did two shows, one of them was to a couple thousand people, it was insane. We headlined the show and played for an hour and a half… that doesn’t happen, we’re not in that position over here.

HTF: Nice one! So your debut album is out next month, which you mentioned you recorded and produced yourselves. How was that whole experience for you?

D: Stressful!

M: Took a long time.

D: Saved us a lot of money.

B: We saved a lot of money, I managed to speak my dad into giving us a bit of money, ‘cause in the long run we knew it would save us money. So we got some home studio stuff and sat down and recorded some songs but I think the problem was a couple of the songs would be recorded, then recorded again, then recorded again and by the fourth time we were recording it, we just hated re-recording everything and it was just so tiresome. But I think what’s come out of it, I’m really proud of. I’m really happy with it, it’s come out really well, and to think it’s all come out of a bedroom.

HTF: Would you ever record an album yourselves again, or would you rather have someone else help you out?

B: Yeah, I’d probably record it again. It’s relaxed.

D: It’d be cooler if there were other people there. The more people on board the more ideas there are floating around.

B: A lot of artists nowadays end up co-writing with other big co-writers who know what to do about certain tracks and what to do with different ideas whereas with us it’s just the three of us sat in a room relying on each other’s influence and ideas and hoping that that is the best thing to do in that part and it’d be nice to have someone who has a bit of history to say “no that wouldn’t work, it’d be better with this”. That’s why bands do it, it makes the track at the end a lot better but I think we wrote this from what we thought was right and hopefully people will see that. From the two tracks we’ve released so far – ‘Superstar’ and ‘Girl Next Door’ – it seems to be okay.

HTF: Has the response to those tracks been different to that of ‘Down Like That’?

B: Well ‘Superstar’ is kind of on par with ‘Down Like That’, isn’t it? They’re both danc-y.

D: I think people were surprised with ‘Girl Next Door’, because again it’s slightly different… not a different genre as such but it’s more instrument based and it’s a surprise to people, but I think they like the diversity between the tracks.

B: The album is a pop album, but it’s not just one sound.

M: Every song’s different.

D: It’s more like the spectrum of pop.

B: There’s a few dance tracks, a few band-based tracks, there’s a few more RnB style ones.

HTF: After the album’s release and launch in Bristol, what’s next for We Start Partys?

M: Trying to tour.

B: It’s hard!

M: When the album’s released it might open it up but…

B: In simple terms, because it’s so pop, it’s a lot harder to find bands on a similar wavelength and genre because all the ones who are in the same genre as us are all signed and have lots of money behind them and we’re still completely doing it ourselves, so it’s a lot harder now. We can’t just go on tour with Mallory Knox because it’s too contrasting

HTF: Well y’know, Lily Allen supported Muse!

B: Did she?!

D: Did not know that!

HTF: And Dizzee Rascal!

D: But that’s Dizzee Rascal!

HTF: And finally, why should Hit The Floor readers check We Start Partys out?

M: Something different.

D: Something fresh and exciting!

B: And we’ve put a lot of effort into it. It’s all from our heart! Self-managed, self-recorded, self-released, we’ve done everything ourselves and it’d be awesome if people could support a band who are really trying to go for it on their own accord.

Interviewer: Freya Cochrane

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