How did you guys meet and what made you decide to form a band?
I (Robin) started the band as a solo side project to a much louder band that I was in at the time. It was kind of Biffy-esque. I guess I just wanted to do something that represented the kind of music that I was listening to at the time. I met Jami [Wise Children’s cellist] through recording as the producer and I were desperate to get some cello on the record and Jami was suggested. The results were excellent and so he was recruited full time! The rest of the band has been a little less stable and several members have come and gone. We now have another full-time guitarist called Tim and are basically still recruiting, but it’s always been that way. I started it as a solo project with the idea of people helping out and performing as and when they can and it’s only through time that a more permanent form has developed.
What are your latest projects?
I have just finished a degree so am free to begin putting more effort into music and living out of the back of a car! Mainly just trying to solidify the Wise Children line-up and keep myself fed!
What does Wise Children by Angela Carter have to do with Wise Children, the band?
Well the band is named after the book. It’s a book that I read and re-read many times when I was about 16 and she’s definitely a writer I admire. I suppose some of Carter’s imagery also appears in Wise Children lyrics – ethereal, magical, organic imagery tied up in a real life. Not sure it’s a direct influence though.
Can you describe your sound in three words?
Delicate, beautiful and earthy.
Give us three adjectives you would like to be described as by the audience.
Poetical, powerful and meaningful.
What makes a good song an amazing song?
I think being ‘amazing’ is subjective. For me an amazing song will be the same as a good song – technically advanced, interesting, original, moving etc – but there will be something about it that really makes it meaningful for me; something that stirs within which may well be highly individual to me. A song’s ability to move someone, whether that means making them dance or making them think, and whether it comes from the words or the sounds, is probably the reason that people attach to it. If playing the guitar at a ridiculously fast speed made for an amazing song then I’d just listen to Dragon Force, but it doesn’t, so I don’t. It just doesn’t affect me. But other people it does.
What bands are you are influenced by?
I have pretty diverse influences, some more obvious than others. These include Sigur Ros, Million Dead, Nick Drake, Frightened Rabbit, Biffy Clyro, Balmorhea, Efterklang, Joan Baez, Yndi Halda and Django Reinhardt. Somehow different elements of each come together!
Tell us about your music creation process.
Mainly I write the guitar part and a loose song structure, and then apply lyrics and a tune over the top. The others then apply their own parts to the foundations already laid. We’re usually pretty good at knowing what each other is getting at.
What’s the best thing when you’re on tour?
Due to other commitments and Wise Children still being of a fairly young age we haven’t really done anything long enough to constitute a ‘tour’. We have however covered large amounts of the country in very small cars. The best part for me is meeting and getting on well with other musicians and hanging out in the town that you’re playing in. It’s a reason to see places.
And the worst?
Driving; Getting lost in a city, in rush hour, and arriving late and flustered. Bliss.
What’s your ultimate goal?
I would love to really mean something to people. Obviously having enough money to eat and stay under a roof is necessary but I’d rather have fewer fans to which Wise Children means the world, than more fans who quite like us for a limited time.
When do you think we stop being children?
When we have children for whom we must be adults! Maybe…
And when do you think we start being wise?
This is hard. Perhaps, when you decide to believe in something powerfully. Maybe never.
What’s the latest thing that happened to you or you saw that made you go ‘wow’?
I had a pretty special couple of hours in tiny dance tent at a festival recently. It was intense. Pretty sure ‘wow’ would have been the word used if anyone had asked!
What support band/s would you choose if you headlined an arena?
Opening would be a scaled down, acoustic Sigur Ros set. It would be beautiful but quiet enough to not destroy the crowd before we even came on. Yes that’s right, Sigur Ros would be the opening band! Second would be Ute the band because they’re brilliant, but also for the hilarious off-stage antics that would most definitely ensue. Finally, main support would be Sons of Noel & Adrian. We don’t know them, but they are simply mind blowing. We’d then stumble on and everyone would leave quickly.
What band or artist would you love to hear making a cover of your song/s?
Purely for the hilarity of it, and because we mentioned them earlier, I’m going to say Dragon Force. That would be special!
Interview: Liane Escorza