After the release of Cast’s newest single, and with their headline set at the Shiiine On Weekender rapidly approaching, we spoke to lead singer John Power about new music, festivals and Radio Three…
You released your new track, ‘Do That’, last week. What kind of response have you had to that?
It’s been very positive, really. I’ve obviously been working on the album so I’ve heard them all, but it’s got a definite groove to it. I actually really dig it.
I think once you hear that track about three times it will have you. It’s got a real uplifting chorus.
We’ve been playing it live for four or five months actually, the response has been good. It has a definite groove and there’s a lot of space in the verses.
When we were in the studio we were all dancing around the control room, but when you hear it on the radio it sounds very much like a great Cast single.
It’s great that people can get to know that we’re back. We have a new album coming out in February it’s going to be called ‘Kicking up the Dust’. There will be another single ‘Paper Chains’ out around then too.
We were at the Philharmonic shows earlier this year and were astounded by the sound of Cast with an orchestra, was it the same for you?
I suppose it was actually. It was very different. Normally it’s very rock n roll, because that’s what we are a rock n roll band with pop songs.
You had to take your foot off the gas, and I really enjoyed that because you have got there sweeping string arrangements and an orchestra playing behind you. It was something that was very unique and actually I’d really like to do it again sometime.
At first we didn’t quite know whether to play the way we normally play, but we really got into it. Everybody in the audience enjoyed it. It went more than well. Two sell out shows and a rapturous audience. It was great.
Was the idea of an orchestra something you had thought about previously or was that completely out of leftfield?
Yeah well actually I have a little daughter who’s five and for the first two years of her life I only listened to Radio Three. Not because I was trying to become a classical buff, I just wanted that sort of music playing behind everything.
Classical music hasn’t inspired me to the extent that I could reel off a list to you but there’s some amazing classical music, and when you hear it you know. It moves you in a different way.
Did it inspire me for what I’m doing? I think really those shows came about because we wanted to do something special to celebrate twenty years of All Change. We’ve always had strings in our music. Strings and orchestra had been a big part of the Beatles and Bowie and other bands of our lifetime, I’m inspired by sounds and sonics.
Do you still keep up with new music?
Not really to be honest. I’ve never really been a musical trainspotter. I hear new music, I have Radio 6 on all day but I never feel the need to dig deeper and find out what the music is. I don’t know why, I just don’t take in information like that. It’s like gigs, I tend to play gigs rather than going to gigs.
I do dig all genres of music, as long as it has a groove or a melody. I suppose with the new album I’ve been mainly listening to the mixes of that. I have been listening to Pixies new stuff, though.
You’re headlining the Shiiine On Weekender festival in November. From your careers with Cast and The La’s, do you have any favourite memories of festivals?
The first time Cast played the main stage at Glastonbury. We’d played Brixton academy the night before and then come up on the bus. We played an afternoon slot; it was a real mud bath.
There was a bit of mud getting thrown and we had a great laugh. We won the crowd over, and played a really dynamic set. The songs went down great if I remember right.
There’s been some great shows with Cast but we’re really coming into our own live now, the band are performing amazing at the moment, I really mean that. It’s weird, it’s kind of like there’s a certain something arrived.
I don’t know whether it’s because we’ve loosened up after being on the road for so many years, or whether it’s because we know each other so well, almost telepathically so we have that understanding. Anyway, were working great and having some amazing little shows and big shows all the time.
What are you expecting from Shiiine, and what can those going expect from you?
We’re really looking forward to it, I’ve heard from somebody who played it before that it’s a great festival, and I reckon this one will be a bit of a cracker as well. It’s a great line up over the weekend.
When we turn up at a festival we want to claim our spot there, make the most of the time that we have on stage. People can expect from us a rock n roll show with pop songs. That’s the kind of band we are.
We get quite heavy, but at the same time its buoyant. The festivals are always great because there are so many bands on. I’m sure the audience will be very appreciative. They’ll be there all weekend having a good time, and we want to be part of the reason for them having a good time.
Lately we have genuinely been leaving people with an impression. That’s what we’ve been doing lately. Once people see us they are saying they’ve realised how good the shows are. We really are on fire at the moment.