SO WHAT I’M IN LONDON AND I’M F*%£#D UP AND IT’S TUESDAY is sign-posted outside Colours Hoxton in a high-octane yellow so bright you can’t ignore it.
Embarking on their first headline tour across the UK, NOISY have locked and loaded their trademark swing-board like a happy-sad badge of honour. In this respect, they’re like feral animals marking their territory: the placing of the swing-board is a pre-show ritual that equals in importance to a successful sound-check and the sinking of a pint. First seen outside a Soho House (“as if!”), the sign – a play on the smart-mouthed, snarling lyrics lifted from their first EP – has been spotted and photographed at pretty much every city NOISY have played in, accompanying the band like a marketing exec’s dream.
In fact, the swing-board sign was possibly the one item in their inventory that wasn’t stolen from their van on the evening before they were set to begin touring with You Me At Six in September. Back on the road two days later, and graciously playing on borrowed equipment, NOISY are living proof that the show really does go on; in spite of a hit to the ego.
Since the strange, and for lack of a better adjective, fucked-up chain of events that involved bartering, negotiating, internet-stalking, and some impressively quick-wit, NOISY have gained a series of high-profile stamps of approval in the industry as both musicians and sting operatives. As twenty-somethings playing life like spin-the-bottle, they’ve accidentally-on-purpose created a category of music that exists in a no-mans-land of rock and rave, with lyrics written by the Friday people, for the Friday people.
A couple of thousand quid down, but armed with a real life rock ‘n’ roll story, we sit down with the band to catch up on what the hell happened to their equipment, and what they’re doing with it now that they’ve got the majority of it back. Here comes trouble…
- - -
- - -
You’ve told the story of the stolen equipment to Rolling Stone, NME and probably every other person who has asked since that chain of events took place. One more time for us?
Cody: There’s a story that’s like a half-hour long. There’s also a story that’s probably five minutes long.
Spencer: Shall I just go from the beginning then?
Connor: [Laughs] He loves this story…
Spencer: We were supposed to go on tour with You Me at Six starting in Manchester. We’d decided to leave the van in London until the Manchester show. It was only for a couple of days. On the day of the show, our tour manager goes out to get the van, parked by his house. It was gone.
What was the collective gut feeling?
Cody: Obviously the main one: all of our shit is gone. The second one: we’ve got a show tonight. We can’t play that show. It’s then us, scrambling about, trying to fucking process it.
This is equipment that you’ve been collecting over the years? Items that have personal value to you, as well as allow you to make the sounds you make.
Spencer: Equipment we’ve been collecting for years. Ten years or more.
Cody: And it’s expensive as well, man.
Spencer: There’s a lot of it.
Cody: Too much.
You landed on your feet relatively quickly: within two days, other musicians had lent you out equipment and you were able to get back on tour with You Me At Six for the final run. Did you find it strange playing on equipment that wasn’t your own?
Cody: I’m the vocalist so I just stared at everyone and felt sorry for them.
Connor: The first night was a bit of adjusting but I feel like, considering the stress we were under, the first gig went quite well.
The day of the final YMAS show at O2 Forum, Kentish Town was an interesting one for NOISY?
Spencer: We were in the van coming back [from tour] and we get a message from one of our mates saying: “dude, I’ve found your guitar online.” This is it?” Yeah. That’s it! This is mental. We looked at it, and saw our amps as well. We let the police know, but we needed it back and couldn’t risk losing out on it. We made a fake account so it had no tie-back to us. I started speaking to them, bartered with them a bit and got them to a price. I was willing to just buy it back at this point.
Nice detective work.
Spencer: We end up just taking the guitar. A few days go by. We message them again. “Hey mate! Loving the guitar. Have you got any other bits?” We receive pictures of all our guitars: Cody’s bass, Connor’s guitars, our amps. We can see in the background of the photos that they have other bits. They’ve got everything. We think fuck it. Let’s do it again.
This is quite the rock ‘n’ roll story. Did you press charges?
Spencer: No. We didn’t. Connor: We said that if we got the stuff back, it would be done. It’s not worth getting into trouble with anyone. It was: get the equipment back. Move on.
Spencer: And we’d already paid some money for the guitar. It wasn’t like they were losing out. It was an even-straw.
You’re new single ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Raver’ is out now, tell us about it!
Cody: We’re playing it every night on this tour. It’s a bit of a different direction for us actually. It’s more of an Oasis-style, let’s-all-sing-along-in-a-field kind of vibe. Which is something that we’ve always wanted.
Connor: Oasis meets LCD Soundsystem.
- - -
- - -
Would you say that track leans in to the more rock ‘n’ roll or raver elements of your heritage?
Cody: It’s mashing the two together. We’ve always wondered what we are as a band and thought about how you would sum us up. We’ve never really been able to pin it down to one thing. Then we wrote this song, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Raver’ and that’s what we are. As musicians. Those are the influences that we pull to make the sound of this band.
Connor: Sonically, I’d say it’s the most rock ‘n’ roll we’ve gone.
Connor: But it’s still got the electronic influences. Heavy drums.
Cody: It’s a bit U2 at points. It’s got an acoustic guitar! Mental.
We couldn’t help but notice your trademark swing-board as we walked in. Tonight you’re playing at Colours, Hoxton and it’s a Tuesday. Where did this idea come from?
Cody: It was just a lyric. ‘So What?’ was the first tune that we put out. We always thought it was really funny but also a bit of a statement. We wanted it everywhere.
You’ve said of your lyrics that “there’s a lot about the night before and songs about mates.” Have you ever got in any trouble about something that’s gone in a song?
All: The unreleased song.
Cody: We’ve got an unreleased song. One of our mates – I won’t name him because he’ll fucking hate me.
Spencer: Name him!
Cody: He might love it. Our mate K*%£#, we’ve got a song about him. It isn’t actually about him. It was based on the events of something that he was involved in. He fucking hates it. I remember at Boomtown, playing it through the speaker. He was saying [deepens voice] “this is about me, init?! This is about me. It fucking is, isn’t it?!” As soon as we said, yeah it is about him, he goes: “I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it.” Funny kid. We’re a big fan of The Streets, and how vulnerable Skinner is in his lyrics. We’re three normal lads. We’ve always wanted to tell that story in our lyrics.
NOISY makes music for the Friday people, “for all the 20-somethings smashing it on a weekend, spending five days aching, and the getting out and doing it again.” When you’re young, there’s the perception that when you get to your thirties, the fun is pretty much over. Though I’ve met thirty year-olds who are having more fun than the lot of us combined…
Spencer: It definitely gets harder.
Cody: When we were eighteen, we just used to meet down at Wetherspoons on a Friday night, a Saturday Night, maybe even a Sunday day – which is so alien to me now. We still like to go crazy, but I think we’ve chilled a bit.
Connor: One night and you’re out.
Cody: It’s hard to distance yourself from it sometimes, when you’re around certain kinds of people. Touring is like a holiday. Everyone is keeping each other’s vibes up. There will be down days, but we’re just enjoying it. Looking after ourselves and doing the best show possible is the priority. Getting fucked up and stuff, does come second. That being said, you’re in a party every night. We’re in people’s Friday nights. You have to dabble into it.
Artists have spoken about the fact that touring comes with extreme highs and extreme lows: you play a sold-out show, or ten, twenty sold-out shows. Then, the party is over as soon as it started and you’re back on normal time again. What has your experience of touring been so far?
Cody: There’s also a sense of achievement. There’s anxiety before shows. These are our first headline dates. There’s a lot of pressure to smash it.
Connor: In a weird way, there’s also a bit of relief.
Cody: The walk back is never in a straight line.
- - -
- - -
Words: Jessica Fynn
- - -