Thirteen Senses interview, 5th March 2005
INTERVIEW WITH THIRTEEN SENSES, 5/3/05

Cornwall’s Thirteen Senses emerged on to the music scene at the beginning of 2004. Over the past 12 months, they’ve released three singles, a debut album and have toured incessantly around the country. Their sound is what we would normally describe as ‘epic indie,’ something similar to Bends era Radiohead or Coldplay. This is certainly a rather venerable starting point, but after a couple of listens to their album, it’s unequivocally clear that Thirteen Senses are no pretenders – they’re a hugely talented band with the potential to be as big as these groups. Jeremy Lloyd had a chat with band members Will South (Lead vocals, piano, guitar), Adam Wilson (Bass) and Brendan James (Drums) just before their sold out gig at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms.

So how exactly did the band come together in the form that it’s in today? “Me and Adam knew each other from school. When we were about 17, we formed the foundations of the band, and we met Tom and Brendan through a friend at college. We started playing lots of pub gigs in Cornwall and recording demos as often as we could, sending the demos out and eventually we got lucky – someone heard it and decided to sign us,” Will informs.

Thirteen Senses’ music can be easily compared to that of Coldplay, Elbow, Doves and Radiohead – most great English indie-rock bands. But how would they describe themselves to somebody who had never heard them?

“…epic, beautiful, melodic and widescreen,” offers Will. Indeed, their debut album, The Invitation, certainly fits this billing – it’s a rather splendid collection of melancholic pop songs that are almost impossible to dislike.

“It’s just a collection of really, really good songs regardless of what the type of music is,” says Brendan, trying to sell their album to anyone who’s still sitting on the fence. “If you appreciate good melodies and songs on a grand scale, then you should buy our album!” says Will with some conviction.

This epic sound that they speak of is certainly captured on their record – the choruses of singles such as Into The Fire, Do No Wrong and Thru The Glass are so vast they’ll stick in your head for days after you’ve heard them.

Some credit for this must go to producer Danton Supple, who has incidentally just worked on the new Coldplay album, one of the most eagerly anticipated records of 2005. “We had the same kind of visions and ideas for the sound - He didn’t overcrowd the album with nonsense, he just let the songs breathe a bit,” Adam informs.

2004 was certainly a busy year for the band – they toured round the country with a whole host of bands from Embrace to The Charlatans. Was there a particular high point of the year?

“Embrace!” all three of them declare unanimously. “The Embrace tour as a whole was the best touring experience we had - they’re all really great guys and they made us feel welcome,” Will says.

“One of our highlights gig wise was supporting them at Hammersmith Palais – I think both in terms of performance and audience reaction,” Will goes on to say. “It was a big tour, in London, which is where we’ve got the bulk of our fan base. It was crazy – big lights, big stage – it’s always nice!” says Adam with some amusement.

Recently the band played one of their first European shows in Paris, as support to none other than Las Vegas bunch The Killers. “That was great - they were one of our favourite bands of last year so when we got told we were supporting The Killers – in Paris – that was an exciting moment!” Will declares.

So how were they received by the continental audience? “It was brilliant! I think that sparked the labels in France to consider now pushing the release of our album. Europeans as a whole are really receptive to new music – we went on pretty much as unknowns and they loved it,” Adam recalls.

On the subject of foreign shows, Will goes on to talk about the band’s first trip to the States last year – “We did America last March - we went to the South by Southwest music convention (in Texas) and did a couple of shows there – that was great fun, that was a highlight of last year.”

It’s still early days with regards to overseas touring, however – “It’s been quite a slow build actually, we’re not trying to be a flash in the pan – we’re trying to think long term, we’re not in any hurry to push anything too quickly. It might be album two where it all kicks off overseas, and we’re happy doing that,” Adam assures me.

International duties aside, they’re creating a real buzz here in Britain at the moment – The London date on the current tour had to be upgraded due to demand and all but two of the shows were sold out at the time of writing. You can’t help but get the feeling that this is the start of something very big indeed.

“It’s about a situation where things start of well and end up…not so well! You can put it to relationships, to a work situation – anything that starts off well and turns to s**t!” says Will trying to sum up the band’s new single, The Salt Wound Routine. Judging by the quality of the songs, his prolific song-writing ability (The B-sides on show at tonight’s gig are as good as anything on the album) and the tightness of their live set, it’s highly unlikely that this is a fate that they’ll ever have to suffer.

More info: www.thirteensenses.co.uk

Album 'The Invitation' out now on Vertigo.

New single ‘The Salt Wound Routine’ out 28/3/05.

Jeremy Lloyd