“I can see the headlines now: Semi-known band with semi-erections seen in York!”

Dave Jones, from The Departure tells Simon Middleyard and Simon Binns about the band’s plans for flashing at Fibbers.

Sitting in the somewhat compact surroundings of The Departure’s minibus, the three of us managed to find a perch in amongst the empty beer cans & coffee cups and various recording equipment that was lying around. On one side of the central table was an acoustic guitar, on the other an electric, and on the table was Dave’s latest purchase: a mini 8-track recorder. The dictionary casually strewn on one of the seats “to help (him) find the new album’s title” had blatantly just been thrown there…

Simon Middleyard: Almost a month in, how’s the tour going?
Dave Jones: Yeah, not bad. Tired. It took us a few gigs to get back into things- the last gig we played was at Christmas, so we were all a bit out of practice! The first night in Norwich was great, then the second night our guitarist got so drunk I had to take the guitar off him and finish the gig myself. He ended up in some bins….

SM: You’re finishing the tour at home (in Northampton)…
DJ: Yeah we’ve got our old guitarist’s band supporting us, so should be good

SM: So there’s no bad blood there then?
DJ: Well there might have been once, but not any more!

Simon Binns: Where’s the best place you’ve played so far?
DJ: Probably Hull. Do you know The Adelphi? It’s got the front end of a bus as the bar. Weird. But it was a great show.

SM: For the rest of the tour you’re being supported by Clocks (playing in the background). They any good?
DJ: Yeah man, I’m really happy we’ve got them. They’re signed to our label’s Big Brother so they’re kindof paying for this tour. But I do like them….This song’s great (sings along to the chorus). I know all the songs now, but that’s good! We’ve got this thing where we all try to put each other off. Last night we were half way though the set and the band appeared on a balcony opposite the stage and started line dancing to All Mapped Out. We were saying that we should walk out halfway through their set tonight with nothing but socks covering us and stand about, totally natural.
SM: You do know there’s a few guys with massive cameras in there tonight?
DJ: I can see the headlines now: “Semi-known band with semi-erections seen in York!”
SB: You’ve got a new album coming out soon. How much more have you got left to do?
DJ: It’s finished! We had two weeks in Ireland laying down the master, then we’ve been tweaking it, but it’s all done. Should be out at the start of next year.
SB: Any singles coming out before then?
DJ: We’re trying to get our download single “7 Years” on some playlists now, but the first real single’s gonna be “Chemicals”.
SM: The fans have got a mixed reaction to that…
DJ: The version we have on our MySpace is only a demo, but the fans think it’s a bit too upbeat. I like it though…

SB: How do you write your songs?
DJ: Mostly like this (gestures at guitars and 8 track in bus). It’s usually me and the guitarist putting some tunes down, then I write words to go with it.
SM: What sort of things do you write about?
DJ: Well I wrote my first love song for the new album (Love Forever). It’s about my girlfriend…. But I just write stuff that sounds good. People try to read all kinds of shit into the lyrics, but sometimes even I don’t know what they mean! We’ve gone a bit slower with some of our new stuff, but I don’t want to change permanently. Yeah, “I only write mid-tempo ballads”. It’s not me.

SB: Have you got a big promo push coming for the new album?
DJ: It depends on how well the single does! We’re hoping Radio 1 pick up on us again – Jo Whiley liked our music from the first album. Basically at the moment, we’re waiting for the new playlist announcements every Thursday. But then sometimes promotion doesn’t guarantee success. I mean, The Horrors are on the same label as us and were really pushed, but they’ve not really got anywhere… We’ve just got to hope for a bit of luck. The next single’s make or break really… Some bands seem to come from nowhere just because the NME pick up on them. We’ve never seen eye-to-eye with the NME though. I don’t think we’ll be in there anytime soon…

SM: What bands are you listening to at the moment?
DJ: Oh God, there’s loads… Josh Weller – have you heard of him? He’s a friend of mine – well, I met him in April and we’ve been keeping in touch. He supported us in Norwich. You should check out his MySpace. I like…Bat For Lashes – do you know them? Maps – they were both on the Mercury shortlist… Cold War Kids – at least that track, “Hang Me Out To Dry”….

SM: Can you remember your last gig at Fibbers? You spent half the gig hanging out the front of the stage…
DJ: Yeah, it’s tiny isn’t it? Good atmosphere though, although I think it’ll be quite empty tonight.
SM: It must be difficult getting people along to your gigs without a recent single to fall back on…
DJ: People seem to remember us well from the last album…