"Heh heh. That’s an amusing way of putting it! I don’t see the subject matter as a way of us not being commercial. There are times when we do keep to the 3 and a half minute pop formula, though admittedly, it’s not that often. I don’t agree that because we write about disparate subject matter means we’d never be accepted as commercially viable. I like to give the general public a bit more credit in what they would accept as commercial - i.e. not just relationship or emotive subject matter. "
The video for Build Around Me is centred on the M62 being built around Stott Hall Farm. Why did you decide to film here and is the song about this or is a metaphor for something deeper?
"We didn’t film there ourselves. Someone wanted to do a film to go alongside the song which we were happy to have done. The song is as it appears. It is a myth – there was no big standoff between the land owner of the farm and the road builders but something about the potential conflict of this scenario really interested me. I’m really intrigued as to how people deal with conflicting agendas and how they are worked out, or not."
You describe your latest material as ‘concur v2.0’. Why, and how is it different to your first album, Able Archer?
"As soon as we finished the album I personally (I can’t speak for the rest of the band) drew a line under the songs as a finished piece of work and very quickly wanted to start creating a new phase of the band. I’ve thrown a lot of songs and ideas out that I felt could have been on Able Archer as I’m very conscious about not repeating what we’ve already done. I want the new material to stand on its own while still sounding like us. I think the new stuff is more direct, aggressive and more considered than anything off the first album."
Who in the band writes most of the songs?
"I tend to write the songs and the guys help arrange them. Mostly I’ll come in with everything pretty much figured out but sometimes the guys will flip a song on its head and it’ll end up being completely different to what I brought in. Those songs tend to be my favourites! Able Archer, Lucky Jack and a new one called Blast Lung were all like this."
I see you have played Leeds/Reading in the past on the BBC Introducing Stage. Are you still performing at festivals? Where can we hear you play at the moment?
"We perform at festivals when we’re asked! The last one we did was Live at Leeds – if that’s a festival…? We had a great time doing that. We’re playing at an all weekend event at The Well (formerly Joseph’s Well) the first weekend in October which I’m really looking forward to. After that we’re doing a tour in December which should take us all over."
Do you think that collaboration within music is a good thing? I understand Chris used to work with DIY promoters Forest of Sound. How did this work and are there any other side projects to I Concur?
"I love collaborating with other people and wish I could do it more. Chris for a long time promoted with Paul (a good friend of ours), and has also played with Vessels in the past. I played in a rock and roll band The Lazy Darlings with a friend of mine David James who was the singer in Cardboard Cowboy. I think it’s a good thing to play with other people as it pulls you out of your comfort zone and makes you re-focus on what you’re doing."
What is your impression of the UK music scene at present?
"That’s quite a large area to cover! I think it goes in peaks and troughs at our level. Good bands don’t last forever. New bands need to fill their shoes when they do break up. Unfortunately I can’t say I’ve seen as much of that as I would like. As for the mainstream UK music scene I couldn’t comment as I don’t have much knowledge or interest in it."
Do you think Britain’s got talent?
"If you go by what you watch on TV, not particularly. But there are always astonishingly talented people about. There has to be or you’d never be surprised by anything."
What do you think about those artists considered to be sell outs? Can artists still stay true to their musical roots even when big record labels start to invest?
"I tend to see three kinds of musician or artist: The first sets out to be a musician with artistic beliefs and never intends to shake from them. Then there are those that start out that way and are moulded so they are more acceptable to the mainstream. Then there are those that just want to be famous or achieve celebrity and have no real interest in music.I think anyone can stick to their roots as long as they had some from the start. If the only way people can make a career is that they change an aspect of themselves then I won’t judge them. I have no interest in anyone’s art, music, film, or whatever, who is bent on just shifting units. "
Rate Katy Perry
"Without going away to check who she is or what she does I have no idea."
What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
"Record a really good 4 or 5 song EP before you gig anywhere. Get out and make contacts, get to know other musicians and promoters before you really get started."
What does the future look like for I Concur?
"I tend to just deal with what’s in front of me. I have a hard time looking too much into the future so I’m just focussed on getting enough material together for album number two. We’re all really enjoying playing together – it’s never felt better than now so I hope the future is double fantastic."
Any last words of wisdom (or just need to get something off your chest)?!
"Always leave enough room for extras."
Interview by Anouska Semp