Pontypridd’s Straight Lines have, for a long while, been one of the UK’s most underrated bands. With an excellent live show and 2 critically acclaimed albums under their collective belts it really is time the band got the success they deserve. They have toured with the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, InMe, The Subways and Funeral For A Friend, among many others, as well as playing Download, Sonisphere and Slam dunk festivals, the band released second album ‘Freaks like Us’ at the end of April, reviewed by us here Straight Lines – Freaks Like Us review and Soundscape caught up with Guitarist James Pugh to tell us all about it.
Can you give us a brief history of Straight Lines?
Straight Lines came from what was left of the band Said Mike. Our debut album was recorded in Todd (our bassists) garage. The album was written mostly by Tom and Dane as it was meant to recorded by the Said Mike line up. Myself and Todd joined the band later on and toured the album as much as we could.
The album was recorded before we had even played a show or had a new name. We toured as much as we could and managed to fit in a bit of writing for the new album.
You’ve just released your second album ‘Freaks Like Us’, tell us about it?
When it came to writing Freaks Like Us we had some songs that were coming together quite quickly but we didn’t have an idea set in stone for what we wanted to do with the songs. We toyed with the idea of making an E.P. but we had too many songs for an E.P. In the end we set out to write a few more songs and make it into a 10 track album. Once it was recorded we had the plan to get it released as soon as we could so that we could carry on the buzz and momentum that we created with the first album. It came about that the album would be released over a year later and it has worked out great for us.
Whats the bands writing process? what inspires you?
Tom always has a lot of ideas for melodies and chord patterns so when he shows them to us we will try to sift through what he’s got and make them fit together or to improve them until we’ve got a basic structure. When we are familiar with what we’ve got then we’ll add our own bits to it and change things around to improve it more maybe.
What albums are you listening to at the moment?
We been listening to the new We Are The Ocean album a lot when we’re in the van etc. it’s a great album. Other than that, I’ve been listening to the new Bruce Springsteen album a lot.
Whats your best experience in the business so far?
Playing to a full tent at the Download festival was definitely a highlight for me. Closely followed by playing the South By South West festival in Texas.
Tell our readers an interesting fact about the band?
The name Straight Lines came from the title of a Silverchair song.
Who’s your favourite Batman?
Easy! Michael Keaton
Whats the best thing about coming from Wales?
There are loads of great Welsh bands at the moment and it’s great to be a part of all of that.
Whats the hardest thing about the current business?
There are literally thousands of bands trying to get to exactly the same place as we are and it’s hard to stand out in amongst all of these other bands. Also, there are very few people who legitimately buy music these days so all bands are struggling financially.
You played the first ever Slam Dunk Wales event with some great bands, how did that come about?
It was something that was sorted out by our booking agent. It’s a brilliant thing to be a part of and there are so many great bands playing. It’ll be good to catch their sets as well as playing the festival.
You’re doing a huge UK tour in September/October, whats the best and worst things about touring?
The best thing about touring is playing our music in a new city or town every day and meeting new people. The worst thing is definitely the lack of sleep.
What will the rest of this year hold for Straight Lines?
More festivals, more touring, a new single and hopefully a little stint back over in Europe.
As we mentioned the band are doing a tour of the UK in September and October so make sure you head down to a show and check them out.
Thank you to James for doing this for us.