After leaving the house late and running to miss the bus and then having your gig mate cancel last minute puts you in an awful mood. As do loud mouth Tories on the train and Jason Derulo ring tones and not knowing your way round Shoreditch. But after all of that, the wonderful Dave Davison and Shiraz Dada, guitarist and bassist for the not art rock band Maps & Atlases can really help. We caught up with these two bearded musical savants before their show at Cargo on the 12th. So, how’s the tour been? Dave Davison – It’s been good, yeah. I guess this is the fifth show in the UK so far, and then we toured pretty much the whole of the US in support of the record. We’re going to do a south eastern US tour after this, which should be exciting. What have been the best venues in the UK? DD -- All of them were good really. The venue in Brighton, everyone was nice there, it was just a little warm. Shiraz Dada – [laughs] to say the least! DD -- It was so hot there. SD -- Incredibly hot. DD -- But yeah, the Captain’s Rest in Glasgow, we played there before, and we also played the Brunell Social Club in Leeds before, both of those were awesome. But the gig last night in Manchester was cool. SD -- yeah, the Deaf Institute is really awesome, nice people working there, just a cool room. Pretty ideal. What are the crowds like? Are they different in the US to the UK? DD -- Not really; I feel like there’s potential for there to be, but for us it’s really not extraordinarily different. It’s been really positive, everyone’s been really hospitable and friendly, a really good vibe at all the shows. For us it’s not wildly different. There’s a massive shift in style in the album from your earlier stuff, take, for example, the EPTrees Swallows Houses’ or Dave No.5, another really early song. Is this a conscious decision? DD -- I guess so, yeah. We’ve continuously been moving in a direction since the start of the band, trying to make the musical aspect of it more interesting and experimental but incorporating it into more of a pop structure that is more enjoyable to anyone on some level hopefully. I think it’s a natural progression, but I think less of a departure, more of a development to mature the sound.
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What are your influences for the album? SD -- I don’t know, it’s tough to say about influences, they’re all over the board. There’s bands we like, but we never thought ‘This is what the album should sound like, this one band’. I think our influences are a lot like any other rock and roll bands. I always wanted to make a record like The Beatles, so that’s a personal influence for me, but for this record in particular? I don’t know, what would you say? DD -- I guess a lot of classic rock. We are all influenced by a lot of pop stuff in general. I think going through part by part within each song, we tried to explore different avenues, I think it’s important to draw all sorts of influences, so we were inspired by all sorts, like David Bowie and Paul Simon to The Beatles and Iggy Pop - SD -- Talking Heads. DD -- You know, all that kind of stuff. I can’t think of specific reference points. What to say to people pushing you in with the Art Rock crowd, lumped together with Dirty Projectors and everyone? Is that a place you want to be? DD -- I guess. I like Dirty Projectors, definitely, and that’s fine, but we’ve always tried to do our thing. I feel like you shouldn’t be conscious about exactly what that music is going to mean SD -- or genres DD -- We just make music that feels fun, and make what feels personal and I think we try to focus on making our own stuff. But I like Dirty Projectors, and if people compare us to them that’s cool by me. What are your favourite tracks to play off the new album? DD -- There are a couple that are really fun in different ways. I think ’Pigeon’ we’ve played a lot, but I feel it’s just a really fun song to play. I’m always a bit nervous, even though I’m so used to playing the guitar part from it, and if I slip up at all it kind of messes up the whole song. But there’s a really cool energy from playing the whole song. The Charm is fun to play SD -- Yeah, it’s one of my favourites too, and ‘Living Decorations’. Pretty high energy and it juices everyone up – me especially. All of those songs, and all of them on the album seem so complex to play. Where did you learn to play like that? DD -- I guess really we just mess around with stuff and playing around with things and there’s influences, but it’s like a concept of something. We take a something and play around with it; there’s definitely people that do flamenco and finger tapping way better, but just getting a grasp on a certain angle and incorporating it into our writing style is how we do it, which I guess is kinda unique. I read you came up with Solid Ground after supporting Foals the UEA? DD --Yeah, we just had a day there doing interviews and bits, and we were hanging out on a field in the campus and it was a picturesque scene and everything just seemed so strange and pretty. Yeah, Foals were really nice and Wild Beasts were really cool as well on that tour. What’s the stage show going to be like this time? I was at that UEA gig, and you seemed really good, but just a bit quiet and not too confident, what’s it going to be like now that you’re headlining? DD -- yeah, on that tour we were kind of winging it insofar as sound and everything really, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s better headlining. I don’t think very many people were there to see us – SD -- almost none [laughs], but it was still positive, because a lot of people heard us which was good. A good bit of exposure. It’s taken a while for the album to come out from forming, ’Trees...’ [the first EP] came out in 2006, whereas a lot of bands feel under pressure to put out an album in their first year. Was it a conscious decision to wait? DD -- I guess it was just a situation where we had the freedom to release as we please, but there was no pressure to release an LP as opposed to an EP, and I’m glad that we waited, and we had the opportunity to mature as a band. I think EPs are good as EPs, and extending them to LPs would have changed the whole energy of them. Just kind of taking it as it comes. What’s the plan for the future now? Any recording in the pipeline? DD -- we’re just going to continue touring for now, like I said, we’ve got the south east US tour coming up, and then I’m sure after that we’ll do some recording, either experimenting or maybe recording to release. We’re planning on coming back to the UK sooner rather than later as well.
You can visit the band by heading to a href="http://www.myspace.com/mapsandatlases">http://www.myspace.com/mapsandatlases Perch Patchwork is out now on FatCat Records