The Pigeon Detectives: ‘Music has become a throwaway commodity’
Pigeon Detectives

Indie rockers The Pigeon Detectives release their fourth album, We Met At Sea, next month. Showcasing a range of styles from gritty grunge to disco-pop, it’s perhaps their most eclectic offering yet.

With the Leeds band also gearing up for a 15-date UK comeback tour, frontman Matt Bowman spoke to WOW247 writer Mark Butler about their new material, how the internet has transformed song-writing, and why he couldn’t be more excited about the opening of Leeds Arena.

Pigeon Detectives

Hi Matt. Your new album, We Met At Sea, is out in April. What can you tell me about it?

We wanted it to be an album that comes to life in front of a live audience. It was recorded straight off the back of touring the previous album.

We’d had 18 months on the road, were in that live mentality, and we went straight into a rehearsal room. Previously we’d have written songs on an acoustic guitar, but this time we went to work as a live act.

Some of the tracks are very raw and grimy rock, while others – particularly Light Me Up – have a real Saturday night party quality. Was that variety a deliberate aim?

We’ve always had a punk element about us, so we wanted songs that you can grit your teeth to. But we also want tunes that people can dance to as well. We’re massively influenced by The Beatles, and they were masters of melody.

How do you think it compares to your previous efforts?

I think it’s the most instant record we’ve done. In this day and age, music has become a commodity, and it’s so throwaway. Websites like Spotify and YouTube mean that people are always having a quick listen and then moving straight onto the next thing.

So we wanted it to be something that people would instantly fall in love with.

Do you think that quite a few singers and bands have been changing their songwriting style to accomodate the impact of  the internet, then?

I don’t think anyone would admit to it – because songwriters are generally quite a pretentious bunch – but yeah. Back in the day people would listen to whole albums. Now they listen to individual tracks.

It means that you have to think about writing a collection of work, rather than a whole piece of work. But if anything, it actually forces bands to write better songs, because everything has to work. You can’t have much filler.

You’ve got a huge UK tour lined-up for April and May. Are you excited about hitting the road again?

I can’t wait. After the UK shows we’re jumping straight on a ferry to Europe for a load of gigs, and we’re planning an Autumn tour too. We were created as a live band, so on-stage is where we want to be.

Your gigs are generally no-nonsense, old-school, rock affairs. Are you planning on adding in any extra touches this time around?

No, we’re not into gimmicks. It’s just about the tunes. We don’t try to burn people’s retinas with strobe lighting. We let our music do the talking.

The opening of Leeds Arena this year has been welcomed by many. But do you think that it could end up overshadowing the city’s successful grassroots scene?

Not at all. I think it’s amazing for Leeds. It’s just what the city needed. It’s not going to affect the smaller venues in the slightest, because bands like The Strokes and Kings Of Leon weren’t going to play them anyway.

And at grassroots nothing’s going to change. But it means we get to see people like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John coming here, and that’s a very positive thing for Leeds. We’d love to play a show there too. Why not?!

You’re on album number four now, and it’s been an eventful five or six years since The Pigeon Detectives first landed. How would you sum up your rock career so far?

The first two albums were a whirlwind, but that’s because we didn’t know what we were doing. We were just a bunch of mates who played together in a band, then suddenly we’re in the charts, off to America and Japan on tour, and playing Glastonbury. We were the main cog in a huge machine.

After the second album we re-grouped and took stock, and started to remember why we were in a band in the first place. We’ve always had fun, but I’d say we’re enjoying ourselves more now than we ever have.

We Met At Sea is out on April 29, and the band tour extensively in April and May.

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