At Leeds Fest 2011, we were lucky enough to share some words with Rob Bloomfield, drummer of UK electronic rock standouts Does It Offend You, Yeah? Here’s what went down when we did the thing and talked about festivals, new happenings and more…
“We will always be the band that plays a Nirvana cover on a dubstep night”
S] So Rob, how has your Leeds Festival experience been so far?
R] “It’s been really good man – for our performance today, we were a little bit more hungover than we had been for our Reading show. The Leeds crowds are always really good. The first time we were here though, our gig was going so well, and then the crowd started chanting ‘Yorkshire! Yorkshire!’ and we thought they were chanting ‘Your sh**! Your sh**!’, and we were a little bit ‘spun-out’ by that , but now whenever we play here, we get our fans to chant!”
S] You recently completed a tour of Australia – how was that?
R] “That was amazing. We are considered quite a big band in Australia, so we were always high-up on those bills. We have been doing our own shows as well over there, and playing to loads of people, then doing festivals and playing to massive crowds, so it’s been fantastic for us!”
S] How do you prepare for festival performances, in contrast to your smaller club and venue gigs?
R] “We pick different songs. At the smaller gigs we can always do more intimate songs but I think, at these sorts of shows a lot of people don’t even know who we are, and they may have just turned up because it was raining when we performed, so we always go for a ‘shock and awe’-style set and smash-out all the ‘bangers’. We want to bash through the songs as loud and as fast as possible. Obviously we did a Nirvana cover [‘Aneurysm’] today as well – so that kind of makes sense! [laughs]”
S] Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your amalgamation of styles – you mix rock and electronic music; where did the idea to do that come from?
R] “We wear our influences on our sleeves and we don’t really subscribe to bands that will say that they make one type of sound – goth-retro for example [laughs], and they wear one style of clothing – they’re afraid to go out of that, and they think it’s a mistake to do so. We grew up watching bands like Nirvana and listening to shoegaze sounds, going to raves and all of that has contributed to us going forward and making the music that we like. That means we get booked for dance stages sometimes and then we play rock songs, and when we play indie and rock stages, we play dance tunes – everyone gets a little bit confused by that, but like I said, we just play the music that we like.”
S] One of our favourite tracks from the new record [‘Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You’] is ‘Wrestler’ with the samples and many different elements – where did the inspiration for that come from? Where were you when you wrote that one, and what ideas were floating around?
R] “We were in a tiny studio in Reading and we had spent months trying to write the next Radiohead album. [laughs] So, we were spiralling down into this rut where we kept trying to make ‘clever and progressive’ music, and it’s not really us! We were taking loads of Modafinil and drinking vodka all-day, over-thinking everything before that just fell out – the sample just fit on it and then having that song spurred us on to go back to our roots which is ‘fu** you’ music. We are never going to be an introspective band – I mean, we do have our moments, but we are open with those because it shows everyone exactly who we are. It’s also a message to our naysayers as well – ‘fu** you, because you are wrong and we are right’.”
S] You guys have been using Facebook a lot recently to ask fans to pick their favourite tracks for a new limited edition release – can you talk us through what’s going on with that?
R] “We just thought that, because it’s definitely going to be a while before our next album comes out and our fans have really looked after us. We really don’t really play the games that a lot of other bands do and try and hang out with certain publications and all that – we are just normal people, playing music that we enjoy. So, we just thought that we would do something for our fans outside of that ‘game’ and so, we’ll be putting together bits-and-bobs of live songs that we’ve got including b-sides and rareties that didn’t make it on to our albums. Then we are going to re-jig it all and create quite a cool mini-album. We are only pressing 1,000 copies, so I guess we are going to sign each one. It’s just a big thank you to our uber-fans.”
S] Is there a track that people haven’t heard from that collection that you feel like defines where you are as a band right now?
R] “There’s one that was a b-side we did called ‘Game Over’ that we are re-jigging now and putting vocals on. It’s starting to sound really poignant and interesting because, it almost sounds like us saying ‘goodbye’. We don’t know where we will be in a year’s time, so yeah, I’d say that’s the one for us now.”
S] We hope you are sticking around…
R] “Yeah. I hope so too. We’ll see what we can do!”
S] You guys are taking part in an electro versus dubstep night with Steve Aoki and Modestep at London’s KOKO venue on September 10 – can you tell us why you are doing that one?
R] “What we do generally is what’s not expected of us. Dubstep is obviously the huge thing at this moment in time. We could cash in on it and knock-out a load of dubstep tunes, but we are never going to do that. Or, we could play a really electronic set but I think we are going to perform all of our rock songs and then really confuse people! I think that we just like to take a lot of risks and even if this event kills us, we just want to play good music for people. Dubstep’s an interesting one; you don’t really get fans of acts, and it’s the same with drum ‘n’ bass – if you go to one of those nights, then you won’t really remember who the DJs are. I think, that you can be one of many dubstep DJs and get lost in that crowd, whereas we will stick out by being the only band that plays a Nirvana cover on a dubstep night! [laughs]”
S] So, if you could pick your best genre-crossing Does It Offend You, Yeah? tune, what would that be?
R] “The one that’s the most psychotic is definitely ‘We Are The Dead’ because it has this really tender acoustic guitar part to start off and then it breaks into this ridiculous stomping almost Marilyn Manson-esque section. I want to go for that one.”
S] What are you working towards for the rest of this year then?
R] “Well, the special edition release is our main priority and then we are going to be touring in South America. After that, I think, behind the scenes we are going to be working on album three, maybe. We’ll keep it mysterious, so then people might miss us! [laughs]”
S] Okay, it’s time for a random festival question now: if you could could create a Frankenstien’s monster out of the Does It Offend You, Yeah? sound using for example, the head of Nirvana and the arms of Pendulum, what would you use?
R] “It would be the drums of Rage Against The Machine, the bass of Daft Punk, the production of Portishead and the attitude of Nirvana.”
S] What have you got to say to the fans who have supported you up North in areas like Leeds?
R] “I’d say that the people here are actually luckier than the people in Reading because I think there’s a stage at Leeds Festival specifically for local bands. I am part of the Reading music scene and we don’t have that focus on local bands at all. The fact is that Leeds has such a strong music scene that you couldn’t put on a decent festival without supporting and promoting these bands. So, I am actually really jealous of the Leeds scene and the way that this place supports its local artists.”
S] Any festival tips?
R] “Don’t buy mysterious white powder from people in the loos. Drink loads of water and try not to use your mobile phone so much; it’s a fu**ing festival – they didn’t have them in the 60s!”
For more information visit the official Does It Offend You, Yeah? website.