Face to face with The Spitfires

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Their sound is gripping and they have a lot to say. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up to The Spitfires. Championing mod culture ethics and putting the main focus on meaning above all, they are the band music needs. August 21 will see the release of The Spitfires’ debut album ‘Response’, which is no doubt one of the most anticipated albums of the summer among those who love real music. Lead singer and guitarist Billy Sullivan tells Rock Britain all about the album, touring and vinyls.

– August will see the release of your debut album ‘Response’. How would you introduce this record to listeners?

– I’d say it was an album in the traditional sense – one piece rather than a few singles and filler tracks. It’s got some real hard-hitting moments and also some soft moments but flows really well. It’s reflection of the band at this time. 

– What are your biggest impressions and memories from working at the album?

– Well we started recording it back in August last year and I think it took us about 5 months to record. I had an idea of the sound I wanted us to achieve and we just built upon it. Once we introduced brass to a few tracks and strings – they really gave the songs a lift. Hearing a song you wrote on a bus being played on violins is a mad experience. But the whole thing was a very enjoyable experience. Tom Pullen the producer really done a great job on it.

– You’re releasing ‘Response’ via your own label Catch 22. What’s the most important thing for you in running your own label and releasing your music via it?

– Well it’s having as much control as possible with the record really. We’re a band that know where we want to go and how we want to do it. We get involved in every aspect of it all. But we’ve got that gang mentality between the band, producer, management etc. We all believe in it. 

– The record is out on vinyl among other formats and you released your single ‘Stand Down’ on vinyl as well. Do you collect vinyls yourselves and if you do, what’s the gem of your collection?

– Yes I do collect vinyl – nothing beats playing an album and looking at the big 12″ artwork, the photos, the lyrics and sleeve notes e.t.c. It’s part of the whole experience. The gem of my collection is probably my Clash singles – the artwork was great on all them early singles and of course they’re fantastic tracks. 

– You’re supporting the release of ‘Response’ with a massive tour. If you designed a poster with a slogan for the tour, what would you write on it?

– ‘Brace yourself’… Oh how corny. We’re really looking to put on a ‘full show’ let’s say. With a brass section e.t.c. It’s not gonna be a tour where we turn up, play the album from start to finish and fuck off back to the hotel. I’d like to think there’s much more about us as a live band. 

– The Spitfires have toured a lot. What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you on the road?

– I’m not really sure! We’re quite boring on the road. All that ‘rock n roll’ cliche rubbish is overrated. 

– How did you get into mod culture? 

– Through The Jam and Paul Weller really. I got into The Jam when I was about 7/8 and became obsessed with it all. I’d like to think I don’t make too much of a big deal about it. It’s just who I am. 

– What’s the most crucial thing for you in this culture?

– It’s just attention to detail. In all aspects. 

– What do you lack most of all in modern music?

– Meaning! Everything is so middle of the road with big drums and chanting choruses. No one has anything to say. It’s depressing really. 

– What is your most favourite album of all times and what makes it so?

– ‘All Mod Cons’ by The Jam. For reasons I said above – the whole experience of putting the record on, the artwork, the lyrics and of course most importantly the songs. 

– Where do you see The Spitfires in 10 years?

– I don’t know where we’d be in 10 weeks let alone 10 years! I’d like to think we’d still be together.

The Spitfires’ debut album ‘Response’ is out on 21 August.

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