At the 405 we don't like to forget about the summer as quickly as much as the average mum does. To celebrate what was a definitive summer for festivals, we are all this week filling your tummies not with the winter fragrances of beef stew and dumplings, but many videos, photos and reviews of all our best musical coverage over the past few months. Think of it like popping down to your local corner shop in your tie-dye tee and cut-offs, and picking up a Cornetto, but in October. Sounds great, right?!

Head here for part one (featuring Leefest coverage), here for part two (featuring Brainlove Festival), and here for part three (featuring Lounge on the Farm).

Some selected interviews from Reading Festival 2012 by Tom Walters...

The Hives

"It seems they've waited as long as we have," says The Hives lead singer Pelle Almqvist when asked about the enormous reception his band received on Friday afternoon at Reading Festival. And indeed, it would certainly appear so – the NME/Radio 1 tent was so crammed and sweaty we could only sneak in via the side after foolishly arriving 5 minutes late.

It sounds corny to say so, but The Hives define what it means to be born to be a rock star. After worming our way to the back of the NME signing tent to speak to them, they strike you immediately: five tall and handsome guys in the finest leather jackets your eyes will ever see, ecstatic and oozing with joy over the crowd that they've just played to. They looked as fresh and exciting on stage as they've always done; not the slightest bit chiselled by the years of experience.

"The last time we played here was 8 years ago," Almqvist adds. For a band with a sound that is arguably quintessential Reading & Leeds material, it seems odd for them to have not graced their stages since 2004. "We've recorded a couple of albums, toured the US; mainland Europe," Almqvist goes on to say. "But we're coming back now."

The band recently dominated the Swedish iTunes chart, rocketing to number 1 with their latest record Lex Hives and landing within the Top 40 in charts all over the world. It's the band's first full-length effort since 2007's The Black And White Album. "It's a weird thing," Almqvist notes. "We made the last album, toured for two years, and then took three years to make this album [Lex Hives]. And sometimes, that's a good thing: It's like, Year 1: people are starting to miss The Hives. Year 2: I like all these other bands, but I'm starting to miss the Hives! Year 3: The Hives are back. Woohoo!"

"Woohoo!" certainly seemed to be the universal response on the day, as the band tore through hits such as 'Tick Tick Boom', 'Hate To Say I Told You So' and ‘Walk Idiot Walk', something that Almqvist had planned all along. "We're not gonna jam for ten minutes and try new songs. Fuck that," he said. "We're not going to on purpose NOT play the hits. We're not that pretentious."

"The songs that you have done that were hits are probably the best ones, and there's a good chance that if you don't think so the other 10 million people are right and you are wrong."

The buzz around camp was that Green Day were due to play their album 'Dookie' in full at the festival tomorrow, and so I wondered if The Hives would ever consider playing one of their albums in full at a show. "There are a lot of fans who are requesting us to play a lot of old songs as well," said guitarist Nicholaus Arson. "In places like America people grew up with that Veni Vidi Vicious record."

"I think it's a little bit like saying, 'okay, we've done our best work. I don't really like how it feels, let's go around and only play an album we wrote ten years ago.'"

"But today was a brand new setlist. Chris' doing!"

"I put it together because it's the shortest show this summer, and we had to strip it down to the bare essentials: which are the hits." Chris Dangerous - the band's drummer - points out.

Almqvist interjects. "When making records we like to think we have ‘the hit', but we do have pretty high thoughts about our own ability. You can have the first 30 seconds of the hit and think the next album's going to be fucking fantastic! And then you struggle with the rest of it as though it were a fifty-thousand piece puzzle."

Having a career that's spanned – if you agree that they formed in 1993 – over 20 years, I was curious as to how they've found adapting to the latest changes in the music industry, especially the obsession with social media and the internet.

"It's different in a lot of ways," Almqvist says. "Before, you could do one important TV show or interview and it would mean something album sales wise. Nowadays you don't know what it means. Will it help? Maybe. We're talking to you guys… someone might read it!"

I was curious to how they now saw garage rock – a genre they revived along with the Vines and The White Stripes in the early 2000s – now that it was not only becoming an aesthetic to vent slacker lyrics and surfing imagery, but that the bands rarely ever seemed to stay around.

"That genre… it's always been like that. If you go back to the old garage rock, it's like one good song per band, and the band would only stick around for a year and a half," Almqvist says.

"But this was always the case," Arson adds. "This was in the genre before it became popular."

"It's singles music, it's a good song. I feel the same about punk rock. You'd make a compilation tape or CD of 7"s… we DJ'd a couple of days ago and it was all over the place, but its one song by each artist."

"It's been very difficult for us to base a band on something that most people come up with once when they are 15. The Kinks only kind of did 'You Really Got Me' in that style, and then they started doing other stuff."

"So, yeah… you're probably right. God knows its been trouble man."

The Hives' latest album Lex Hives is available now.



Rachel Sermanni

Rachel Sermanni is one of the most humble and down-to-earth people you'll ever meet. At 20 years old, the Highlander has just released her debut album Under Mountains and at the time of writing is preparing to embark on a tour of the UK. We caught up with her after her performance on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading Festival, which involved an ensemble cast of musicians as well as a few declarations of love and even marriage proposals.

"The crowds at Reading and Leeds have been a pleasant surprise, because – and I don't want to insult – but it's just not our kind of music." And she's right: Iceage had just finished their set the moment she stepped on stage, as All Time Low prepped themselves for the Main Stage audience and as The Skints got ready to rock the notorious Lock Up Stage. "I didn't think anybody would hear me in the first place."

"But it was amazing, and people were lovely, and we really enjoyed it."

Rightly so, too, as the crowd was extremely receptive of Sermanni's performance. "One person shouted out "I want to give you a cuddle!" which is the nicest heckle I've ever had."

As a musician who's only just finding her legs, Sermanni has definitely been getting a lot of love from the big festivals this summer. "It got a lot of attention the moment we posted [on Facebook] that we were playing at Reading, I think T in the Park is the biggest one we've played at home but [Reading] is certainly one of the bigger ones," she said. There was a big crowd already waiting for Sermanni when we arrived ready in anticipation for her. "There were some people in the front who were singing the words, and I never expected that, so that was really nice."

During her set, Sermanni gave a shout out to the burger vans at the festival, making us curious as to whether or not she's actually had first-hand experience in the field. "I've only worked at farmer's festivals, like game festivals and stuff like that rather than music festivals. But the van that I worked for often do music festivals so I often get free burgers from them," she says as she continutes to tuck into the delicious looking one she already has in her hands.

"I really don't mind who I play to," Sermanni humbly states when we ask her whether she prefers the Scottish or southern crowds. "Honestly, it's true. It's sort of difficult getting places sometimes… it's hard to travel. You're basically playing to the same people though: you're playing to humans, so I don't mind."

"I like to draw naked ladies," Sermanni goes on to say. You might be wondering at this point how such a topic came up in the conversation, but Sermanni is actually documenting her time at the festival for us with a disposable camera, possibly including some of her drawings for us too. "They're just really beautiful bodies. I mean, no offence, but they're good bodies to draw. Don't you agree?"

"I started going to life drawing classes every Tuesday, at the Flying Duck - this really cool pub in Glasgow. As I get older, I'm becoming more aware that it's better to be more open and content with everything and nakedness is a good one because you're like, vulnerable… and I like that vulnerability."

"I read a book on dreams. I'm not into the whole this means that, or whatever – but this was a book looking at symbolism and archetype and that kind of stuff. This girls has this dream about her legs being bare and being really ashamed of it and I love that image of the bare legs representing the animal and instinct inside of you."

It turns out that these hidden interests play a core value to Sermanni's song writing, too. "Like the bare legged thing," she states. "I actually have referenced that in a stranger song… I didn't play that today; it's going down really well but maybe not quite in this setting. Everything you read you kind of absorb."

We ask Sermanni whether or not she prefers to write songs based on literature over more personal experiences, but it turns out there's a fine line between these two things. "The song about the bare legs is probably the most personal to me," she says. "The reason I wrote that song is because I had a series of nightmares that left me really shaken - it was horrible - and so reliving those is really good because everybody has them and everybody feels that way and it's really fun. They're all personal songs to me."

"I've always found inspiration by people who have different perspectives," she responds when we ask where else she draws inspiration from outside of barelegged dreams. "I've been listening to a lot of weird and quirky stuff lately, and I haven't written for a while so I don't know what it's doing to me"

"Lots of people who think outside the box are always really inspiring, because what I'm doing isn't quit outside the box but it sort of draws you along to remain true and as honest as you can be."

Rachel Sermanni's debut album Upon Mountains is out now.



Blood Red Shoes

"Don't ask me where the name came from," grins Steven Ansell as he takes a seat, bottle of whiskey in hand. He's just asked me if we can grab some BBQ food but before I can even consider it, he's already asking me to confirm whether or not that's CITIZENS! behind us, because he can't remember the name of one of their band members. This is a guy – who very much likes his own band, Blood Red Shoes – moves at a hundred miles per hour in his mind. "That was GREAT. I loved it," he defiantly states when I ask him how he found the show just a couple of hours earlier. It may seem like a mundane question, but for a band who have just played the Main Stage of Reading Festival a couple of hours earlier, it has an entirely different context.

"There's still one brain cell that's still fourteen-year-old me in the back of my head, that just kept going "you're on the main stage at Reading, you're on the main stage at Reading.'" He can barely contain himself in his seat; his mind clearly still trying to contain that fourteen-year-old who's just had his wildest dreams come true. "You just don't think that's ever going to fucking happen. And it fucking happened, man!"

"And the dude from Green Day was watching, Mike Dirnt! I'm such a huge Green Day fan." Cue our mutual disappointment at the fact that Green Day did not in fact play the whole of Dookie. But Ansell actually found solace in the fact that he felt old at the Green Day gig when hordes of current fourteen-year-olds started fist-pumping to 'Know Your Enemy'. "That to me was actually quite inspiring. You realise that the band that meant everything to me when I was 14 now has a completely different set of songs that are relevant to those who are 14 now, and that's actually quite amazing. Not many bands achieve that."

I asked Steven if would've preferred to open the stage than to have the second slot of the day. "We were meant to open, then it was a mystery guest and then Mystery Jets," he says. "But I wonder if Green Day were the supposed mystery guests and then they decided to do something different."

"Then they decided to put a band on before us, so we got moved up and we were just like FUCK YEAH! Obviously, because we're not the bed that everyone gets outs of bed too."

With all this talk about 14-year-old selves, I'm curious as to how Steven has seen festivals change over the years. "They've got a hell of a lot quieter," is his first response. He elaborates: "When At The Drive-In played is the last time I came as a punter. 2000? 2001? Which is another poetic thing, I went because of two bands: At The Drive-In and …And You Shall Be Known By The Trail Of The Dead. I was like, fucking 13 in something and weirdly, we're now playing the At The Drive-In Day."

"I came here and I was like, I want to be on that stage. But I've said the same about Glastonbury. I used to go to Glastonbury more because I was always into punk rock but all my friends were total fucking hippies, they just always listened to The Doors and got stoned and I wasn't going to go to Reading on my own."

It's now starting to become more clear to me why Blood Red Shoes' progression over three albums seems to be getting much more angsty and aggressive, what with all this talk of punk rock, Green Day and 14-year-old brain cells that refuse to die. But Steven's response when I tell him his latest album sounds more punk than ever before? "Does it? That's cool!"

"To be honest we try not to be too aware of anything we do, we actually really like to switch off and let things be."

"There's a lot of great music that starts with an idea and it's very consciously made and it's very cerebral. But that's not us, what we actually like and what we kind of do is the opposite: we're kind of dumb; kind of primal and we act on intuition. Not thinking. Trying to think as little as possible in fact."

"So if that stuff is coming out, then I'm happy with that because that's true to what we are."

I first listened to the band's latest record, In Time To Voices, whilst on holiday this year. All I saw for as far as the eye could see where women on sunbeds reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and from what I know about the book their entire record sounds like it would make a perfect OST for the upcoming film adaption. "I haven't read it, but I would be totally cool with that. We're quite a sexual band."

"If you know someone man, get them to give us a call. But only if the money's right!"

"All jokes aside, we have actually been asked to lend our music to things before. Corporate, advert-type stuff. We put our song on one film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which the director – Edgar Wright – is a friend of ours and has been coming to see our band for ages. But we were very careful, because we don't like to associate ourselves with things that don't connect with what we're creatively doing."

There's only two members in the band - Steven and guitarist & lead vocalist Laura-Mary Carter - but he feels like they're very conflicted as a whole. "We're a very ambitious band, we want to be huge as fuck. I want to be on that stage at night time playing to tens of thousands of people."

"But I don't want to be shit. I don't want to cheat and I don't want to do it the easy way. I don't want to do it by what I think is the 'lame way' out – "oh, you put yourselves in a car advert!""

"We always try to balance this punk rock sensibility with the fact that we want everyone to know and sing along to our songs. We're a strange band… I don't even think we understand ourselves."

Blood Red Shoes' third record, In Time To Voices, is available now.