The View are on fire
I admit it: I was a little nervous about chatting to The View. OK, maybe more than a little. After news of their shambolic appearance in Nottingham just days earlier (several hazy hours in a nearby pub later, frontman Kyle Falconer conceded to alcohol fuelled defeat and walked off stage prematurely, angering hoards of fans), I have no idea what to expect. A band almost as famous for their after-party activities as they are their music, my mind is awash with that irritatingly infectious ‘Same Jeans’ track and the stuff of nightmares; this is the band who found themselves banned from every Travelodge in the country after inflicting £7000 worth of damage, after all.
But it seems I needn’t have worried. “Do you think people will dress up tonight?” Kyle Falconer, dressed as Dennis the Menace for the occasion, frets himself from beneath his much-discussed mop of impressive brown curls. He looks concerned, worried almost – and I’m just plain elated that I could decipher enough of his speech through his broad, now infamous, Dundonian intonation – so I nod in response. It is, after all, Halloween, and my positive reply induces a subtle sigh of relief from Falconer. Around us, his fellow bandmates rush around preparing their own costumes; bassist Kieren Webster is The Hitchhiker from The Mighty Boosh, guitarist Pete Reilly is a mime artist, and drummer Steven Morrison is, in their own words, “some kind of demented creature thing”. Falconer takes a seat and breezes through a sincere and down-to-earth introduction, pausing as I introduce myself in return. “Eleanor? As in ‘Eleanor Rigby’?” he later clarifies, almost in awe. Falconer is, of course, every inch a fan of The Beatles, so it comes as no surprise when he confirms the Liverpudlian four-piece as one of the band’s strongest influences – along with Oasis, The Clash and Fleetwood Mac.
If, like me, your mind has wandered since Kyle Falconer and his bandmates scored hits with ‘Wasted Little DJs’ and ‘Same Jeans’, allow me to jog your memory. Hailing from the Dryburgh district of Dundee, The View shot to success after Pete Doherty of Libertines/Babyshambles fame handed their demo to James Endeacott of 1965 Records; the rest, as they say, is history. With one chart-topping, Mercury Music Prize-nominated, platinum record (‘Hats Off to the Buskers’) under their belts, the band are due to release their sophomore effort (‘Which Bitch’) in January – quite some feat for a handful of lads who are still only twenty-one years old. Their current tour has allowed fans to sample what is to come in 2009. “A new song called ‘One-Off Pretender’ has been going down pretty well, and the new single ‘5 Rebbecca’s’ has been good,” Falconer muses when I ask which of the tracks has received the warmest reception. “Basically, they go mental for them all,” he grins. And I can believe it – rumour suggests The View’s loyal fanbase are already singing along with several of the unreleased songs previewed on this tour.
Fans aside though, with a string of thirty-five dates to fulfil I wonder how the boys cope being on the road for so long. “It’s good,” Falconer insists. “We just look forward to our days off.” Having relocated to London anyway, I’m curious to see if Kyle misses his native Scotland much. “Not really,” he replies. “Well, sometimes. But as soon as I get there I’m like, ‘fuck this!’” Still, he nods when I ask if the crate of Irn Bru in their dressing room is indicative of their rider requests (along with Coco Pops apparently, but the finer things in life – socks and DVDs, I’m told – are no longer supplied). “I can’t believe there’s still some left,” he says in referral to their lust for the Scottish fizz. “But English people don’t really get it, aye?” I have to agree – personally, I can’t stand the sickly orange stuff.
But The View’s penchant for Irn Bru is, unsurprisingly, eclipsed by their passion for touring. Having previously rated being on the road higher than laying down tracks in a studio, Falconer and his fellow bandmates have been fortunate enough to share the bill with some of their favourite bands – not bad for a group of friends barely out of their teens. “Primal Scream was good, ‘cos we got to watch them play from the side of the stage and got smashed,” Falconer explains. “Normally when we play we can’t get too smashed, but because they played afterwards, we could, and we just watched them play… it was good.” Although the press continually report on The View’s extra-curricular antics, this is the first time Kyle has – albeit indirectly – mentioned it during the interview and I’m keen to know more. “That’s what everyone says,” he grimaces, momentarily unimpressed. “But everyone parties, man!”
With only a couple of hours to go before the band take to the stage at The Old Market, I wonder how The View have spent their day in Brighton. “Snoopers Paradise is the best shop in the world,” Kyle readily admits. “Every time we come here, I spend most of my time in there.” And what about the Brighton nightlife? “We ended up in a gay bar last time we were here,” he laughs. “And we’re playing Reading tomorrow, but I think the plan is just to run away from our tour manager and stay as long as we can.”
Before I know it, my time with The View has come to an end. As I wish them luck and bid the Dundonian upstarts farewell, I recommend a night at Digital and they promise to check it out. And remarkably true to their word, I later find them doing what all true Scotsmen do best – propping up the bar, that is.