Interview: Cowtown

After a hard day’s work in Norman records and half a practice in their other lives as Cowtown, Hilary, Dave and John set aside a portion of time to have a chat with Bearded about post-punk, Claire Daines and baked potatoes.

Posted on Jun 24th, 2011 in Features and Interviews, Cowtown / By Jack Sibley
Cowtown So a quick bit of basics – how long have you guys been about?
Cowtown have existed since the dawn of time but I suppose 2004 was when we started jamming together. We’re all from around Yorkshire and met up in Leeds around then.

Cowtown have quite a unique sound. What are the main influences on your music?
I suppose the stuff we grew up listening to really. Grunge was the big buzzword when we were teenagers but we essentially ended up playing what we heard when we were much younger. We were teenagers at just the right time for My So Called Life with Claire Daines and that had such a massive influence on our generation but we don’t buy into it as much as the bands we heard when we were five and six. Bands like The Cars and Devo is really where we’re at in terms of our vision.

What do you think of the Leeds scene? Have you bounced ideas off other bands in your area much?
Yeah when we first started out we mostly just played house parties or squat parties that would have a few bands on and that used to be a lot of fun. That was a long time ago now though – we haven’t played a house party in ages but it used to be a regular thing. Nowadays in Leeds there are a lot of bigger bands and consequently a lot of bands who have seen them and push for gigs and venues. A lot of the venues end up being slightly monopolised by promoters too so you sometimes have to muscle your way in. Not that it’s not a friendly atmosphere at all; just a lot of people wanting their music out there.
As for influence, everyone was influenced by Bilgepump to a certain extent in those days and it’s great that they’re still going. ]There’s certainly a lot of bands we like such as Beards, Tank and Hookworms among others. Particularly, the lead singer of Pifco used to be in Cowtown and Hilary used to play for Beards so we naturally feel quite a connection with those guys.

There’s a lot about your tones and textures that is reminiscent of 8-bit and 16-bit music in the early Nintendo days. Were you fanboys?
We’d never thought about it that way but now you point it out that’s very true. ]We all had some pretty early consoles and I suppose all that stuff just seeps through. Those poky tones must have some connection with ‘fun’ for us. Can’t do a Dragonforce and claim it as a direct influence but yeah it’s definitely in there.

Are there any particular producers you’ve enjoyed working with in your time in Leeds?
Oh they’ve all been a lot of fun but we can recommend Matt Peel at Cottage Row Studios. Just got us the sound we wanted and we had a great time doing it.

What would happen in the Cowtown musical?
It would have to be about cats. No, it’d be like High School Musical but with Cowtown songs... and more streetfighting. Like a John Hughes High School Musical. A kid gets pushed up against a locker getting bullied for his lunch money and our music kicks in and the kid fights back. There would also be elements of Teen Wolf. The casting would be as follow: Dave would be played by Denzel Washington, Hilary by Claire Daines and John by Devito... actually, Jason Donovan.

Just tell me something.
Did you know they don’t have baked potatoes in the Czech Republic? That or cheesecake.

What’s going on for Cowtown now then?
Well we’re releasing a single in July and we’ll also start recording for our album then which should be about before the end of the year. The single will be ‘Love is a Lie’ and ‘Nightbeats’. We’ll be playing with Trap Door Minotaur on the 16th July at the Packhorse but before that we’re headlining the Unity Day benefit at the Brudenell Social Club on the 26th June. Oh and we’ve also just had some new T-shirts made with a design by Tom Hudson from Pulled Apart By Horses. He’s a really good drawer! You can order them and listen to our music on our Bandcamp page.

Who are Cowtown?
Fine upstanding lads who want your money. Yeah, go on, give us your money.

To finish up the interview Cowtown kindly played Bearded out on a couple of songs including ‘Nightbeats’ from the new single. Sounding as happily excited as ever in their blippy-bloopy synth bubble, it is clear that Cowtown are a band who enjoy their music as much as you should.