Nottingham based synth-pop duo April Towers (Charles Burley and Alexander Noble) formed in August 2013 after originally meeting at school. Previously involved with other bands as well as creating solo work, their latest single Silent Fever was released on April 15th on LAB Records. They are playing a handful of festivals this summer, including the headline slot for Dot to Dot festival in their hometown on May 29th. We caught up with the lads ahead of them playing Indiefest in Estonia this weekend.
How do you feel your sound has developed since you first formed in 2013?
When we first started this project, it was a bit of a stab in the dark for us sonically. We didn't really know what we wanted to be, and I think that is reflected by the diversity of our earlier demos and singles. As time has passed we have a much clearer focus of what we are trying to achieve as a band, and hopefully people are starting to identify with the April Towers ‘sound'. We like to think of ourselves as writing upbeat melodic pop songs that get people dancing!
With there only being two of you, do you find you each have your own ideas on everything and work to merge them, or do you individually have certain roles in the music making process?
Our songwriting process varies from track to track. The only thing that remains consistent is that we never write together! We send each other things back and forth via email. We spent time in a previous band trying to write music together in a cold rehearsal room and it just didn't work for us. Essentially either Alex or myself (Charlie) will come up with a basic idea or template for a track, and then send it over to the other to listen to and get feedback on. From here Alex will spend time writing the lyrics (that is his role entirely), and I will begin to build and produce the idea into a proper track. Then we come together in my studio and record the vocals and we're away!
You've supported some great acts and caught the attention of key people in the industry; was there a defining moment where you felt that you had made it?
Haha I don't think we feel like we have made it yet. There is still a long, long way to go. There are certain moments where you feel things really begin to happen – getting on the FIFA '16 soundtrack was certainly one of them, as well as selling out The Rescue Rooms in our home city of Nottingham. Everything still feels very fresh and exciting to us at the moment, so hopefully there are plenty of big things around the corner!
Have you always wanted to be musicians or is it something as a career that you have stumbled upon?
Our mutual love of music really spawned from listening to bands like The Arctic Monkeys back in school. This was the common factor that made both Alex and I want to start making music, and it was the reason we picked up guitars. We both come from households where music has been a very important part of our lives, but actually making that transition into a successful musician takes years and years of hard work and devotion. You have to sacrifice everything to get where you want to be.
Who would you describe as your biggest influences in a musical sense?
Bands like LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip have played a big part in helping shape our sound. The ability to write interesting electronic music that also conveys emotion is something both those bands have mastered, in the same way that the likes of New Order and Depeche Mode have in the past. On a personal level, Alex's favourite band of all time are The Beatles and Radiohead are mine – so without question these have both also had significant influence on us and our songwriting approach.
Is personal style important to you? Do either of you own and wear anything (good or bad!) that you or others would say characterises your dress sense?
I wouldn't consider us ‘fashionistas', but we try and keep things looking slick and smart! We both love a good turtleneck. Alex loves a blazer as well. Maybe we need to wear something more quirky to get more attention? I'm thinking maybe an eye patch for the winter months!
Are you playing any festivals this year? Which are you most excited for?
We are playing a fair few festivals this summer, but Secret Garden Party in particular is one that sticks out in the diary! We have heard some incredible things about this place so can't wait to go and find out what all the buzz is about!
What is Nottingham's music scene like? Do you feel your musical style fits in with the majority of artists from the area or are you hoping to redefine the norm?
Without question Nottingham's music scene is in the best place it has ever been. We are so happy to be a part of it right now – there is so much going on to proud of and shout about. I think since the arrival of Rough Trade, [a new music venue in the city] the whole city has adopted a new level of enthusiasm towards the scene as a whole, and that has really helped bands like us. I do think musically we are a lot different to many of the other acts in the city, but that's the great thing about it – everything is so diverse! Check out Saint Raymond, Eyre Llew, Field Studies & Georgie to name but a few!
What do you guys do outside of work, how do you chill out?
In terms of chilling out it would be a lie to say we don't spend the majority of our time in the pub! We love a good ale. We are also now official quiz hosts in our local ‘The Orange Tree'.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
We are off to Estonia to play a festival at the end of the month, before heading to play our first ever show in Paris. Then we are in the studio solidly working on material for our debut album. Let's just hope the weather doesn't tempt us into spending too much time in beer gardens!
Words by Sophia Miles