Quick Gig Introduction + Interview with Pete and the Pirates


First of all, if you don’t know Pete and the Pirates already, shame on you. You may need to go and get ‘One Thousand Pictures’, or the debut ‘Little Death’, and why not, the two EPs. You’ll fall in love with this quintet from Reading, UK, who are for a while into the ‘hype circle’.

Saturday 29th Oct. I was at Covo Club (Bologna) with a friend and a lovely colleague (check her out HERE). The venue is small, but I soon got that it’s the kind of place in which everybody knows everybody, and this is the first aspect of it that I liked. The second one is the list of gigs, and the names *Zola Jesus, Male Bonding*, and at last, but not at least Ciccio’s cocktails. Anyway, back on track, that Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing Pete and the Pirates playing live at Covo for the first time. I was probably one of the few, because these guys had already been there twice before that night. The band showed good energy on stage, and captured the audience’s attention quite easily. We also met a couple of freaky fans, and a guy who came from Tuscany *which is quite a journey by the way* to see them. The performance itself justifies the effort, both with the well known singles from ‘Little Death’ and some new tracks, like ‘United’. Thomas completely devoted himself to the audience, while the two Petes, David and followed him. Also Jonny, even if a bit covered by everything else (this is the drummer’s burden) played his part.

After a couple of drinks and lot of sweat later, we chatted a bit with Pete the bassist, and I had the possibility to use the soberness left to ask him if he’d be interested in a quick interview – online afterwards, mostly because of the spontaneity of the offer and the confusion of the place itself. Peter is a guy who keeps his word, so here we have a quick interview for a quick gig review:

This is the second or third time you’ve played in Bologna, at Covo, am I right? Did you enjoy the night? You’ve played in festivals but you also had smaller venues such as in Reading.  Generally speaking, do you prefer the smaller club, or maybe bigger stages? I get it’s a completely different atmosphere as well…

Yes we enjoyed the night very much, it was actually the best show of the tour so far, it seems everyone was taking extra special care to make it a great evening and it really showed.  Smaller venues are obviously more intimate but I think our music is well suited to larger spaces, whenever we play to a big crowd our music seems to have a good effect.

If I’m not wrong, there is one Pete (even if technically there are two Petes) and four Pirates. Where does this nostalgia for pirates come from? There’s also a Talk Like a Pirate Day (this year it was on Sept. 19th)…

I don’t know, Pirates are just a bit of fun aren’t they?

You’ve been around since 2004. It’s a long time, and lots of things have changed since then. How do you think you’ve grown as a band so far?

We’ve definitely been around each other for a while.  I think that our relationships have developed and blossomed into something pretty nice, I’m quite happy with it now.  For a while it seemed like things might not work out, people got a bit tired of each other I think.  But now it feels positive and we’re all looking forward to the next album.

In ‘One Thousand Pictures’ your music changed, matured somehow from ‘Little Death’, and is getting more creative. How was working with Brendan Lynch (who produced the album)?

Thanks. Brendan was fantastic to work with. He really helped us to gel as a band and always had useful things to say.  He’s a really good producer, and his engineer, Max Hayes, is also very good.

I love your videos, just thinking about all the times I watched ‘Winter’ last year. Can you tell me something more about the genesis of the video for ‘United’? Where did the idea of showing your fans’ cats come from?

It was basically Jonny’s idea to have a video full of cats, as a kind of comment on the sheer quantity of cat videos online these days.  Then we developed it to be a sort of community project with our fans, so that came later.

Your 2011 tour was a pretty long and intense one, if I recall correctly. You travelled a lot all around the Europe, but it’s almost over. Impressions so far, near the end of this experience? I’m not going to ask you which venue you liked the most, because I don’t want you to have to be biased.

Oh well, I think I already said Covo, but there are loads of good ones.  It’s more about the audience than the location really.  Berlin and Munich were both really good shows.  And all the Dutch ones.

When you played with Kaiser Chiefs at Kirkstall Abbey (Leeds) last September, how was the experience of playing in an abbey? Was that the weirdest stage you ever went on? 

The stage was pretty much a standard festival stage, next to the ruins of an Abbey, so it was really just like a festival gig.  It was quite intense though, with so many Kaiser fans in one place.

Are there any famous people, dead or alive, with whom you’d like to hang out?

Neil Young is pretty cool.

Have you guys already got any plans to get back in the studio after touring? Or are you going to celebrate and then take a small break (to recover from the partying of course)?

We’ll see what happens when we get home, probably have a small rest for a few days then get into the next album ASAP! Watch this space…

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