An Interview with Simon Morley of Wicketkeeper

wICKETKEEPER

Regular fans of the blog will know that we have been going all kinds of bon bon ballsitic over the ramshackle shambolic vibe of this years four singles from London based three piece Wicketkeeper.

Never afraid to go all fanboy we tracked down Drummer/Vocalist like a sniper in the night (well we sent him an e-mail at least) and managed to get him to unpack about his cricketing ignorance, instrument swapping, ratpack adoration, scary musical prospects for future generations and a lady who could eat free pizza with her fingers in her ears….and all manner of other things!

How did Wicketkeeper form? Why the name Wicketkeeper?

We’re all obsessed with music. None of us had played in a band since we were teenagers. I quite fancied trying to play drums in a band (having never played drums before) and I figured the only people who’d be stupid enough to sign up for that would be my best friend and my brother!

The name is obviously a cricket reference, but I’ve never played it and have no interest in it, andI thought the name ‘Wicketkeeper’ was funny by itself, and even funnier if it was adopted by 3 people who know nothing about cricket.

I have loved your last few singles, but struggled to describe the Wicketkeeper sound. What influences do you feel are most prevalent in your sound?

Thanks! It’s so strange to hear people say they like them who aren’t our friends and family (who I never believe)!

I think our influences and our sound are probably quite separate. I don’t want to undermine my bandmates, but I’d say my musical taste is far better than my ability to write and play music! Ryan and Alex also have super varied taste. But when it came to making music, it could only really sound one way. I’d say our sound it limited and defined by our ability! We can only really play the way we do, and when we combine it, it sounds like this.

We’ve never said “ok, let’s try write a song that sounds like XYZ”. But admittedly, when I read people comparing us to Sebadoh, Pavement etc, I get it… I think we sound similar to them but equally nothing like them too.

What is truly original in your sound?

Absolutely nothing!

What is the song writing and recording process for the Wicketkeeper? Is it hard to transmit the sense of  American alternative rock shambol to a studio?

We’ve written a couple of songs together in the practice room, but usually we all write songs separately then bring them in pretty much finished to play to the others.

We’ve written a couple of songs together in the practice room, but usually we all write songs separately then bring them in pretty much finished to play to the others.

I guess the thing that’s slightly weird about us is that whoever wrote the song then normally plays guitar on that song, which is why we swap instruments on stage. It’s not a “look how many instruments we can play” thing, it’s a “this is the only way we can play this song” thing.

Recording so far has been super easy because, on the recent singles, we recorded them all live in our rehearsal room, then did vocals and a few overdubs at Lindsay’s (Corstorphine, Sauna Youth) flat. So it was pretty much just a practice, the only hard bit was trying to play them perfectly, because normally we’re pretty… loose 🙂

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, people standing and child

What are your two favourite Wicketkeeper tracks and why?

Of the songs that are out already, probably ‘Spin’ and ‘Feeling’.

They’re both totally different, one is a fuzzy power pop song and the other is a bit more brooding and post-punky. But we’ve saved our favourites for our debut album!

What were the last three music releases you acquired (downloads included)?

Tropical Fuck Storm ‘Braindrops’

Alex G ‘House Of Sugar’

Dry Cleaning ‘Sweet Princess Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks’

You released a couple of EP’s in 2015 and 2018 but seems to have been concentrating on singles in 2019, with four since February. What is the strategy behind this?

The idea was to release some singles and play some shows this year to try get the ball rolling a little bit. So when we do announce an album we’re at least in a walking position rather than standing dead still!

Feel like we’re kinda on track, we’ve been lucky enough to play with Squid, Spielbergs and Cloud Nothings this year and we’re just trying to be a bit more active in general.

Is the digital/streaming age a challenge or a blessing to young band?

It’s good that bands can get their music out there and make it accessible to people around the world without any additional costs.

Unfortunately it’s incredibly unlikely you’ll make any money or hit a wider audience from streaming unless the platform in question decides to support and promote your songs via playlists. I’d say in the short term it’s good, anyone can hear it. In the long term, it disincentivizes people buying records.

In a few years you’ll have a whole generation of music fans who’ve never bought a physical record of any kind, that’s a bit scary.

Why just the one physical release so far (the cassette of the 2018 eponymous EP)? Is physical format music still necessary beyond the ‘nice to have’ factor?

We love a physical product, but they tend to come with minimum order quantities and we want to get to a stage where we have a chance of selling them before we make them!

We’ve actually got a cassette of some early recordings (Reefers Records, US) and then we’re on a split 12” with a 3 other bands including Car Seat Headrest (Luau Records, UK)

You are very good. Why do you not have a label as yet and what do you think constitutes a good label?

 

Haha, thanks. I never expected to have a label, we’re doing this because we enjoy it, we don’t expect anyone else to like it! In general I think times are harder for labels, it’s harder to make money than it was, which means labels can take less risks. And we’re one hell of a risk!

Janglepophub lends you their world famous time machine. If you could go back in time and be successful in any era, what era would it be and what would success be for Wicketkeeper.

I’m sure everyone goes for 60’s/70’s so I’m going to say the 40’s. Maybe we could slot into the Rat Pack’s social circle and hang out with mafia bosses and movie star presidents?

I feel like success is having a room, no matter how big, full of strangers enjoying your music.

What jangly(ish) bands in London and the surrounds would you recommend at present?

Not sure if they constitute jangly, but my favourite new UK bands are probably Squid, Dry Cleaning and Laundromat

What is the most difficult aspect of the music industry for a young band?
Well, we’re not young! But I’d say it’s harder than ever to make a living from music, but what kind of a psychopath thinks their own music is so good, that they should never have to work a job again? Blows my mind.
 
What is the best and worse gig you have ever played? Why were they so good or bad?
 

We’ve been lucky enough to support from great bands coming through London this year. Spielbergs at Shacklewell, Cloud Nothings at Moth Club and Squid at Rough Trade East. Generally speaking they’re getting better and better, the more comfortable we are on stage, the more we enjoy it.

Personally I think our worst was in Leytonstone last year. There was free pizza, and we were on stage playing and I could tell people were there for the pizza and were wishing we would stop playing. One woman had her fingers in her ears.

What are your short/long term plans for the future of the band?

We’ve recorded an album! So we’re going to work on releasing that over the next few months. We’re always caught between wanting to get better at playing our songs, and writing new songs. The former makes playing live more fun, the latter makes practicing more fun…

Thanks so much Simon…Don’t be a stranger when it comes to promoting your next release. You know you have fans here!

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