Barker House Farm decorated for Cartmel Extrav
Extrav 2014: Counting Coins interview

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In the first of a series of interviews conducted throughout the Extrav week, SCAN speaks to Hull-based band and Cartmel Extrav highlight Counting Coins.

First off, you are obviously a part of Cartmel’s line up today, is this your first time at Lancaster University, or have you played here before?

Yeah we actually played here last year, and it turned out to be a cracker. I believe it was a fresher’s party.

Was that with Cartmel as well?
Yes it was right here in this hall with them. Back by popular demand, obviously.

Ah nice one. Obviously someone in the exec is a big fan. Where have you guys travelled from today?
Hull, end of the line. Nominated for city of culture, would you believe!

Is this part of a specific tour right now for you guys? Or is this more of a one-off show?
It’s one big disjointed ongoing tour really. Well, it’s not a strict official tour, it’s more like a collection of one-off shows around the country. We’re a DIY band, and it can be difficult getting time off work to do this.

Right so this isn’t a full time band for you guys?
It’s definitely a full time band, we pour a full time amount of work into it!

Sorry, you treat it like a full time band, but your daytime jobs are also needed.
Yeah, there isn’t much money in it but we take it very seriously. Actually there’s been some interest though. We got contacted the other day from some guy in America who is interested in producing us, but you got to take it with a big pinch of salt; you can’t trust many people who say things like that really. DIY all the way.

Yeah that is a bit weird. Who knows? You say you are a DIY band, but you are also signed onto a label?
We are signed onto a label, but it’s only a small one. DIY label. Local to us in Hull. They’ve worked with a few other groups of our field as well. They’re more of a means to an end really. It’s not required to be signed onto a big label, we’ve got them to help with publicity and getting our CDs out there, so we can get known and get more gigs, which is what we are really focused on. We’re a band that exist to get out there and perform live in front of people.

It’s also a lot to do with the personality of the band as well. There are good reasons to not want to get a major label as well.
Yeah exactly, we like not being told what to do. Plus, there doesn’t really exist a major label that represents what we do.

That brings me onto my next point actually. I personally would describe your music as a mix of ska and punk, but what do I know. How would you describe it?
For sure, I’d describe it to be very ska-y, very punk-y, with a bit of gypsy thrown in there. I’d say there’s a strong hip-hop influence in the vocals as well. Some people describe our music as a little folky, it turns out. So yeah, it’s just a mix-mash of everything we grew up with really.

I’ve noticed on your Facebook page that you guys get a lot of fans interacting with you on there. You have people who are passionate about your music, and your track “What gives you the right” seems to be quite popular. You all clearly mean something to people out there, and it must be great having such a small barrier between you and them as well.
Yes, like I said before there isn’t any major label in this field, as all the greats before us were all also on DIY labels. If you are a fan of this genre, you absolutely will come and check bands like us out, fans come to the music. And the fans aren’t small in number either. This use of the word DIY makes us sound very small, but we’re playing all the major alternative festivals in the country, and we’re breaking Europe this year where we’ll be playing Belgium and [elsewhere in] Europe in a two week tour in November, now that it’s possible to actually go.

Ah wow, how has that happened then? Were you waiting for enough demand, was it financial or was it something else?
Actually, the demand has always been there. We’ve been requested to go there for a while now off the success of our earlier releases, thanks to the connections our label has. But now we have a van to travel in. We’ve got a good set up for travelling now so we can go where we please.

Right then, last question. Do you have any major releases in the pipeline? Any new material for fans to be excited for?
We just released an EP in the winter, “Reach for the Sky”, and we’re in the middle of concocting an album. We’re trying to decide whether to release another EP or pour our efforts into putting out a full album, though we seem to heading closer to full album territory.

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