Athletes in Paris – Interview

Posted: August 5, 2011 in Athletes in Paris

Can you take us back to what first got you into music, what inspired you to start writing your own songs and how did the band get together?

Music has always been an important part of all of our lives, Sting was an influential role model on Matt who spurred him on to learn the guitar aged 14, he didn’t realize it was a bass Sting was playing at the time, but regardless didn’t know to how to play it anyway so he just started to make it up as he went along. Eventually after a lot of mishaps it turned out alreet, resulting in the latest single Heartbeat as you can hear from some of the out of time guitaring on the record, only kidding.

For anyone who hasn’t heard your music how would you describe it?

Our music is upbeat with a strongly danceable groove as well as containing choruses to stick in your head. Again not literally. If an alien wanted to know we’d tell them it’s not too fast nor is it too slow, just right for jiggying about to. . . and if people thought we were aliens, probably because we sing in a North Eastern accent which makes the lyrics impossible to understand for some, they’re probably from say. . . Canada (hello we love you), so they’ll just have to draw their own conclusions which is fun.

You were Djangleabra and morphed into Athletes in Paris. What happened there? Is there anyone French or Athletic in the band?

It’s basically a story of one band splitting up and another starting afresh to do something new, musicians who like to play together will often stick together. And the name really is just a name, if you take it literally you’d be quite mis-led, for instance Matt thinks a triathlon is a type of telly!

You’ve had a good year so far, what have been the highlights and what are you looking forward to for later in the year?

Highlights of this year have been releasing Borrowed Time and Heartbeat on The Animal Farm label which have helped garner us a lot of support from Blogs and Radio around the world including BBC6 Music, Amazing Radio as well as local stations like Newcastle Radio, SparkFM and NE1FM who’ve supported us lots, thanks people. Also playing a packed show at The Alternative Great Escape Festival in Brighton was immensely fun as well as the N.E’s massively successful Evolution Emerging Festival (despite being too drunk). . . not forgetting headlining The Sage Hall Two for a load of drunken student yobbos and the BBC6 Music Session we just pre-recorded yesterday was big for us too. There’s been so much other great stuff too which there’s not time to mention.

You recently did a BBC session for 6 Music. How did that go and when can people hear it?

We were initially skeptical about traveling all that way down to London to play for anything that wasn’t Radio One, especially as it pollutes the earth (the car not Radio One. . . although hang on) but luckily it was worthwhile. Tom Robinson has played all three of our songs on his ‘Fresh On The Net’ show over recent months and apparently he loves them which is immensely flattering, so it was great to do the session for him especially as he does his homework on all the artists featured on the show, literally, I think they must have ran out of tables. From what we experienced the people at the BBC do a great job with great resources, which is why they made some great live recordings that you can hear this Sunday the 7th August at 1am on BBC 6Music, or listen again on BBC Iplayer if you’re not allowed to stay up late. The free tea and chocolate is nice, that’s where your license fee goes.

Tell us about the new single Heartbeat?

It’s out on the 08.08.11 so buy it and if you’re too skint to then you can find a free download here:

It’s written about a post dry spell relationship in Matts love life and features the lines “We move slow but think fast, I’ll try anything to make this love last” which was taken from the side of tin of viagra aimed specifically at O.A.P’s

Francophilippe and the Polarsets have done great remixes of Heartbeat how did that come about?

Well basically to cut a long story short we let anyone who wanted to remix Heartbeat have some stems from the original recording and make their own creation with them, so far the remixes that have come back have been exceptionally good, which I think is because people have been able to work to their strengths and put their stamp on it too. We specifically told Francophilippe and Polarsets amongst others what the plan was because we like their music first and foremost and it has turned out to be a case in point of the above.
Heartbeat (Francophilippe Remix)

Heartbeat (Polarsets Remix)

If you could ask anyone you like to do an Athletes in Paris remix who would you choose?

It’s hard to say as for instance I like the Aeroplane remix of Paris by Friendly Fires or the music Calvin Harris has created with other people like Dizzee Rascal but if they got a hold of our music maybe it wouldn’t be the same story, although it would probably be good wouldn’t it? I think a great example of a remix you need to check out is Cassette Boy’s flavoursome and original remix of The Apprentice, check it out, especially at 2:42

Music from the North East is attracting a lot of attention at the moment with the help of organizations like Generator and Amazing Radio based in Newcastle. How much do you feel a part of the North East music scene? Which bands would you recommend checking out?

We feel like the left out kid at school due to our own social inability. Ha! No in all seriousness we are somewhat active in the North East music scene and there definitely seems to be a resurgence in it lately for one reason or another. This has moved a little bit of a spotlight up here which means artists that might not have been seen have more chance to be seen now so it’s in our interests to stay involved I say. Some parts of the country could only dream about having a music venue like the Cluny or artists like Polarsets, Shields, Little Comets, Grandfather Birds, Sharks Took The Rest, Let’s Buy Happiness, Hattie Murdoch, Mausi and many more, all whom we recommend checking out. Without bleating on too much about it like “Music Maker Monthly” there is good opportunity on local grass-roots artists (i.e. not signed with a big deal) doorsteps so they can develop their act before using the scene as a spring board to fuck off to London and other places where they can really make it big! Ha!

With the growth of music sharing on the internet it’s much easier to discover new music through platforms such as Soundcloud or Spotify. Have you made any new musical discoveries you can recommend?

That’s true, but their names are so easy to forget aren’t they? Aside from the great local artists, new ones I’ve listened to recently via such means would be Janelle Monae, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Hoodlums amongst many more.

Where can people see you live next ?

6th August, Corbridge Festival, Hexham. Alongside Extra Curricular and Vinyl Jacket.

9th August, The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. Heartbeat Single Launch alongside Sarah Holmes and Hattie Murdoch.

8th September, 93 Feet East, London. Alongside Air Castle and One Sixth Of Tommy.

10th September, Sunderland Winter Museums & Gardens, 2-6pm, Split Transmission alongside Lake Poets and Mausi with guests Tom Robinson and Barry Hyde (The Futureheads).

27th October, Riverside, Newcastle with support from The Greeting Committee and Motion Tourist.

What’s next for Athletes in Paris ?

Well it’s an endless process of writing, recording, gigging etc which will continue. Recently behind the scenes we’ve been busy writing and arranging new material which will drip in to the live set one by one over the next coming gigs as mentioned here as well as making some new recordings this year too. Of course we’ll keep on promoting the release of Heartbeat, there’s three remixes and counting which are listenable via AthletesInParis.Com. We haven’t crashed any house parties or busked in a few weeks so we’ll probably do that too, so watch out kids, you could end up with one of those parties that goes wrong like on the news!

Anything else to declare?

Yes, don’t forget to download your free copy of Heartbeat via AthletesinParis.BandCamp.Com and add us Twitter and Facebook for all updates. Also to hear our BBC 6Music session with Tom Robinson listen in this Sunday morning 1am (Saturday 6th August night). Lastly if you want to get in to our Heartbeat single launch gig at the Bridge on 09.08.11 for only £3 then write your name on the wall of this Facebook group:


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