Both literally and figuratively Alvvays have come a long way.
Only 12 months ago the band were virtual unknowns, plying a fine line in C86 inspired indie pop with some exceptional wordplay. Releasing a string of killer seven-inch singles, the sleeper success of the group’s debut album has propelled them to fresh heights.
Not that they seem fazed. Fresh from sound checking at London’s historic Shepherds Bush Empire venue, singer Molly Rankin is on reliably cheery form. “It was a very long sound-check!” she laughs. “No, this place is a lot different than the other places we've played. I feel like there's so much more history in England with the venues, so it just has a little bit more weight, coming into a place like Shepherd's Bush.”
But the band isn’t about to get carried away. Levelheaded almost to a fault, Alvvays are keen to look at the bigger picture, to look at what truly matters. “I think you can measure success in a whole bunch of different ways. It's a really great feeling when everyone in the band feels satisfied. That, to me, is the most exciting part. It's when they're all excited for upcoming things, upcoming shows. And still enthusiastic about the songs that we've been playing for two years.”
“I mean, it was a really gradual build for us so we're pretty appreciative and we still do pretty much everything for ourselves – so it's a lot of work,” she insists. “We're not basking in the sunlight, sipping champagne or anything. We're rolling around like hobos.”
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We're not basking in the sunlight, sipping champagne...
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Spending a huge amount of time on the road normally dulls a band’s creative faculties, but Alvvays seem to have been able to sketch out some fresh material. Introducing new tracks to their set, the band have also begun playing a Kirsty MacColl cover live as a special treat for fans.
“We like to mess around when we have time in soundcheck, try new things,” Molly explains. “There's a couple new things in the set, I think we've played four new songs or something, and tried out a couple things that we'd never done before that were on the record. Throw in a couple of covers that we're fond of.”
With the end of their current tour in sight, Alvvays are almost ready to begin work on their second album. “We got the tape machine that we made our first record with, we just got that like a month ago,” she enthuses. “So now it's in our basement and we can record whenever we want which is really exciting. And the summer has been fun for working on new stuff, but we really haven't had much time off the road. So once this tour is over and we have a couple more dates before Christmas, then we'll be good to go.”
But wait, Molly, what could it sound like?
“I think that it'll probably turn out similar to the previous songs!” she laughs. “To me, everything feels a little bit faster and maybe a little bit louder.”
The ability to visit places they had never dreamed of going to before is clearly something that still entrances Alvvays. During our chat, Molly speaks fondly of trips to Bristol and Manchester, before explaining that the band’s jaunts across Hadrian’s Wall have special resonance.
“Any time that we go to Scotland is a really important thing for us because we're all Scottish, basically,” she says. “And there's so many congruencies with where we're from, like Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. There's a lot of similarities with those places and it's exciting to make those connections. I thought Glastonbury was exciting for us and any time that we get to play in Toronto is also a great feeling, to be surrounded by people who know the songs and support you and aren't sick of you yet.”
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Catch up with Alvvays HERE.