Often compared to Elbow, Radiohead and Doves, Manchester four piece Multiplier have been tipped as an English Indie band to watch out for.
Their influences range from rock and indie to shoe-gaze pop and soundtracks. The band kindly answered a few questions for Playing With Sound about themselves and their new single ‘Love You To Death’.
PWS: For people who don’t know, what is the Multiplier’s origin? How do you know each other?
Phil: Andy and I initially ‘met’ via a musician’s website as we both wanted a songwriting partner. I can play, but can’t sing. Andy sings but can’t play! We always wanted to form a band, so when we had a handful of songs, we found Danny and Rod using the same method. So really we’ve all come together for the music, rather than a group of mates just falling into it
Andy: I’d just come out of a band, we’d been doing well for a time, but life got in the way as it does and the thing imploded. I was looking to pick myself up and get back into it but it wasn’t happening- the people I was meeting just didn’t “get it”… I was thinking of giving up to be honest. It was Jenny (my other half) who found the advert that Phil had posted. Up until then a lot of stuff that I’d heard was rubbish, the track that Phil had uploaded wasn’t, so I agreed to give it a go. We clicked right away…
PWS: Who are your influences? I believe you have a varied taste in music.
Phil: Yeah, our influences as a band really are all over the place. Rod is into a lot of American alternative bands like Slint, Tortoise, Dinosaur Jnr and Low, but also jazz legend Oscar Peterson. Danny’s influences include The National, Wilco, Richard Hawley, The Verve and Nirvana. My personal influences include bands and artists such as Magazine, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Television, Scott Walker, 90’s shoegaze bands such as Slowdive. I’ve also always been into film soundtrack music, especially John Barry’s 60’s / 70’s themes. Collectively, we have plenty of shared influences too, such as Doves, Elbow and early era Radiohead. We’ve never actively attempted to sound like any particular band or even genre. We just try to write good songs with plenty of dynamics and light and shade.
Andy: There are a lot of shared influences, yes. I’d add that I’ve always been bang into bands like The Chameleons, and Mark Burgess the frontman is my absolute hero. I got into them when I was a kid- and even then they were well before my time- but their music is something I always come back to. I was part of the “rock tribe” growing up; I would cite Chino Moreno of the Deftones as another hero. Most of that nu metal era stuff sounds cringworthy today but they at least still are, and will always be cool to me. On the other end of the scale I’ve always been into Massive Attack and PJ Harvey, amongst loads of others. I adore atmosphere in songs.
PWS: You have a new single coming out soon, ‘Love You To Death’, where did the orchestral element come from? Was it in the original arrangement?
Phil: I think the very first time me and Andy spoke, we talked about using strings if we ever got the opportunity to do so. For me it’s the film soundtrack thing again. David Green at PWS suggested that we could use a string section, so we were really up for that! The string arrangement was put together by Tim Crooks and he incorporated some elements from an early demo of the song, which worked really well. Hearing the strings being played as part of our song in the studio was an amazing experience.
Andy: I remember at the time we’d been talking a lot about the John Barry stuff and big vocalists like Scott Walker- I can’t remember if it was intentional but the result was LYTD, and at the time it was just an acoustic demo, which we recorded in my front room. We always dreamt that it would have a string arrangement, but we actually never expected the opportunity would come along to have that in a finished recording. When it was suggested that we would get that, we were pretty chuffed! From its inception though it’s always sounded like this, if only in our heads, if you know what I mean.
Phil: Probably worth saying that it will sound different- but still great- when we play it live. We can’t afford to bring an orchestra with us!
PWS: What was it like recording the track at Parr Street Studios with a professional producer?
Phil: Parr Street was excellent. A great environment to simply perform and be creative. Chris Taylor our producer, knew when to push us to get a better performance and when to let us get on with it. We really enjoyed working with him. We would love to do it again, soon!
Andy: Rod, our drummer usually records all our music, and previous records have been made alternately in a library and Phil’s father in law’s house! For our part it was a nice change not to have to worry about all that stuff and focus on getting a top performance…and Chris was the boss at getting the best out of you. Parr Street for me was a bit surreal. Every instrument, every bit of kit you touch has a story attached to it. There’s so many bands that we respect who have recorded there, you can’t help but feel chills. On the other hand I’ve still got that sense of pride that we’ve made our own little mark there, like we’re another (small) story in the history of the place.
PWS: ‘Love You To Death’ is about to be released on the Playing with Sound Label, how has being signed to PWS influenced you as an artist?
Phil: That’s a tricky one. It has certainly given us a lot of confidence that someone has believed in us enough to give us a deal, and let us loose in the studio. In terms of how that influences what we do as a band, we’ll have to see what happens next!
Andy: Yeah, that is a tricky question, aside from the beefier sound production of course, there’s that vindication that someone has seen something in you- to the point where they’re happy to invest- and it gives you a feeling of confidence that what your doing is on the right track. Funnily enough though LYTD was not the song that initially brought us to PWS’s attention. It’s quite an old song and we’d not recently played it in our set. It was actually amongst a second batch of songs that we sent to PWS as an afterthought, after they’d asked to check out more of our stuff. We’ve not yet recorded most of our material properly so the version we sent was literally a live recording in the worst rehearsal room you can imagine; the sort of cruddy recording most people would probably dismiss out of hand. Out of all the songs we sent, we never expected them to pick that one as a stand out song -we’d forgotten about it, and to be honest it might have been dropped from our set altogether at some point. Shows you how much bands know sometimes…
PWS: What has been your best/most enjoyable Multiplier performance?
Phil: Pretty much every gig we do is enjoyable and of course we try and improve with every show. Our debut at The Deaf Institute, Manchester was obviously special and it is a brilliant venue both to play and see a band
Andy: For me, I think probably a Night and Day gig that we did last year, we’d just come off the back of a recording and we’d played quite a few shows in the run up so we were really tight and my voice felt in really good form. People who don’t know us don’t expect what’s coming, so it’s always funny when you see the reaction to this guy in glasses absolutely smashing it out. Sometimes I kind of lose myself in the music at gigs like that.
PWS: Being from Manchester, what do you think about today’s the music scene?
Phil: There are some great bands around all with different styles. I’m not sure that there is a current ‘Manchester sound’ at the moment. If you can think of it, there will be a band performing it!
Andy: It’s definitely in rude health, and everyone is going in a different direction creatively, from Slow Reader’s Club to Lucky T Jackson, from our label mates Gold Jacks, The Tapestry and No Hot Ashes. There isn’t a set scene as such; everyone marches to their own rhythm and that can only be a good thing.
PWS: What can fans expect next from Multiplier?
Phil: Well obviously, April 8th (the release date for ‘Love You To Death’) is where our focus is at the moment. We’re busy writing new songs and arranging some shows for the spring and summer. So keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter!