‘We are all very similar in our tastes, but our individual nuances help sculpt the sound of a song.’
Ahead of their forthcoming release ‘Stories We Tell’ (out 20th August 2020), Listen to Discover chatted with ‘As We Leave’ frontman Caine Entwistle to find out more about the Isle of Wight based band, their wide ranging influences and the positives of lifelong musical friendships.
Who is involved in ‘As We Leave’? Caine Entwistle, Kyle Abram, Tom Gardner (aka Gards) and Kit Jolliffe.
How did the band name come about? The name ‘As We Leave’ came about when myself and Kyle first started writing new and better songs than we had previously. We had no serious thoughts it would go anywhere, there were only two of us at that time, writing and recording, so we thought: “Sod it… let’s give the project a statement instead of a name.” At the time, every band seemed to be called ‘The..something…’ but we weren’t having any of that so, we came up with lots of obscure statements and ‘As We Leave’ stuck.
Who/what are your biggest influences? Life is the biggest influence on all of us. Gards has a little family, we all love to travel, love to read, love sport and the great outdoors. I love to cook and we all love our food, film and art. Musically it’s a real mixed bag of influences. From The Beatles, Tom Waits, Gomez, Neil Young and Pink Floyd to a more eclectic set of influences like Miles Davis, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Bruce Springsteen, Shostakovich, Leftfield, Jurassic 5, Air and Madonna!
What does each member of the band bring to the sound? We are all very similar in our tastes but we do have little nuances in each of us that helps sculpt the sound or style of a song. Sometimes there is great debate or trial and error in the writing or recording of an idea. At other times though we’re all exactly on the same page and the song writes itself guided only by mutual encouragement. The ‘sound’ largely depends on the song but in amalgamating all those individual nuances we get the ‘As We Leave’ sound.
I recently read that you are all lifelong friends. When did this turn into forming a band? We have indeed been life long friends. Me, Kyle and Tom met back in school over 25 years ago and we have been in each others bands since then. ‘As We Leave’ as an idea and a band is about five years old though. At times we had hiatus dependant on circumstances but at least two of us have been writing together consistently for all that time. Kit is the same age and went to another school, but we always knew him from other bands and when we decided to add a new member, naturally, we asked him. Fortunately for us, he said yes and we couldn’t have found anyone more perfect.
“Our recording sessions would probably be frowned upon by many artists and music buffs but frankly, we don’t really care.”
What’s the biggest bless (or curse) of working with people you’ve known for so long? I don’t really see a downside to it. We would all hang out and have fun even if we weren’t a band. The upside of being that close is we all take criticism constructively and everyone understands it’s not a personal attack, it’s all just for the benefit of the songs which is great. Although picking a song to cover has been and still is a difficult balancing act.
What does an ‘As We Leave’ recording session look like? Hahaha…quite fun!! I think we would be frowned upon by many artists and music buffs but frankly, we don’t really care. We work with our limited resources and make the most of each others skills. We record all the ideas, demos and first takes at ‘The Store’ – a small studio we built under Kyle’s flat – which is full of character and memories as well as some great music. There’s usually too much wine and beer, plenty of laughter, some bad timing and an equal sprinkling of real quality. After we’re happy we’ve done all we can on our own, we take it to Jim and Rob Homes at Humbug Studios or Abbey Records’ own live-in studios to make it all sparkle. The do-it-yourself approach has always appealed to us, ever since I heard Gomez’s ‘Bring it On’ in ‘98. I remember thinking: “That’s how to make a record!”
There is a wonderful sense of warmth to your new release ‘Stories We Tell’, was this the initial intention or how the track developed? I’m happy you think it has warmth! ‘Stories We Tell’ is an ode to nostalgia and happy personal memories so the sound was always going to fit that narrative: warm, melancholic, bittersweet yet strangely perky.
Where is your go-to place for writing new tracks? 95% of the time ‘The Store’ is the birthing room, but we have been known to throw some ideas down in the heat of the moment at a party, BBQ, campfire or in a van.
It goes without saying that Covid-19 is continuing to have a massive impact on the music industry. How has it impacted your releases and immediate future plans? Yeah COVID has been awful for the industry as a whole. For us personally, it has meant that we haven’t been able to do any live shows, and aren’t going to be able to until next year in all reality so we have been writing and recording a great deal. Expect plenty of releases over the next 18 months!
‘With musical influences ranging from Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye and Leftfield it’s a real mixed bag.’
What has been your most memorable moment as a band to date? I couldn’t say there has been one specific moment, it’s all a collective. The moment when you all know your onto a winning song and the apprehensive glances turn into unbounded joy – that’s an incredible feeling. It’s the reason we do it! Me and Kyle have always fancied writing film scores or compiling soundtracks for film so when we turned up in ‘The Kominsky Method’ on Netflix we were quite chuffed.
What are your go to albums or artists and what always brings you back to them? Oh soo… Anything by Tom Waits (particularly Closing Time & Rain Dogs), The Beatles (Abbey Road & The White Album), Neil Young (Harvest Moon, & After The Gold Rush), Gomez (Bring It On), Air (Virgin Suicides) and Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon) the drum sounds on each of those are absolute templates for us. It depends on what we are after though. Springsteen’s Born to Run is great for song-manship, Kit likes a bit of garage rock/punk, I’m partial to a bit of soul, Kyle has a soft spot for funk and Gards loves minimalism. We’re all adults whose formative years were the 90’s so its probably easier to tell you what albums/artists are an absolute no go, for example Ed Sheeran & Kanye West!
The music video for ‘Stories We Tell’ is so beautifully nostalgia tinged. Did you have this vision in mind when writing the track itself? I think the video is very us! We did it ourselves just after lock down so its a bit budget – like if Poundland did music videos – but we think it feels like a window into our world, which again fits with the narrative of the song and its sentiment. Watch the video on YouTube here.
Do any of you have other creative talents and if so do they influence your music in any way? Yeah we all have skills outside of music. Kit’s handy with tools and cars, Kyle and Tom are gifted at pretty much everything, I’m handy in the kitchen and all the artwork for our releases are my paintings. All our other skills influence us but not necessarily in a direct musical way.
And finally… What is the most random fact about ‘As We Leave’ that not many people would know? Hahaha… the facts that come to mind are not for public consumption!! One interesting fact though – considering I’m a staunch republican – is that myself and Tom played for Prince Charles when we were about 16. Everyone was scared to talk to him afterwards, apart from me, so that is how I found out about his love of The Three Degrees and him having no idea who Tom Waits is. I also have a deep deep love of Eastern Europe and when things get back to normal after COVID, I’m desperate for us to get back out there on tour or just to see friends!
Thanks Caine for chatting with Listen to Discover.
Photography by Tom Flower.