With a new album and extensive tour schedule underway, Nightingales frontman Robert Lloyd very generously took a few minutes to speak about their current activities with ITM?
ITM?: This wouldn’t be the first time The Nightingales have played live dates in Scotland?
RL: The first time I went to Scotland is when my previous band went on tour with the Buzzcocks, they took the Prefects up there in the late 70s, we went on tour with them and we played Dundee, Clouds in Edinburgh, the Silver Thread bar in Paisley, and it would have been quite a few years before we ever went back.
We did actually do a small tour with Josef K, we did a few gigs, what is it, Malcolm Ross? I’m not fully sure. I don’t really follow music or lots of other bands or whatever, I don’t listen to the Marc Riley show or anything, I listen to Radio 4, I’m more of a talk radio sort of person. I know when we were in Edinburgh quite recently Davey Henderson was there.
ITM?: You do a lot of things in Europe nowadays, how has all this come about?
RL: We were doing a gig in London and this bloke called Andy Wilson came backstage, he knew I was a fan of them and he’d written this book about them. We got talking and he was saying ‘I can put you in touch with Faust’ and were we interested in playing this festival they put on every year, the Klangbad festival which is named after their record label or the other way round.
We said yes and it just went on from there and now we do all our recording there and Andy our bass player, he’s the engineer at the Faust studio. He knows the band and the studio better than anyone. It’s in a village right in the southwest of Germany. The area’s called Schwabia. the nearest town of any size is really Basel in Switzerland and it’s miles from anywhere, it’s really difficult to describe where it is.
Jo from Faust is a proud Schwabian whereas the other people from Faust were all from Hamburg and up north anyway. It’s in a village called Scheer, see if you can even find it on an atlas, it’s tiny really. It’s got a really huge collection of equipment and sometimes when we tour we borrow their instruments.
ITM?: Your record label is in Hungary now, does this connect with your recording in Germany?
RL: Somewhere through all of this we had an American in Budapest called John Henderson get in touch saying ‘next time you’re in Europe would you like to do gigs in Vienna and Budapest, I can set things up for you’ and now he puts all our records out on his label, it’s called Tiny Global productions.
We’re touring Europe later in the year and we’ve got gigs in Hungary, Serbia, we’ve got gigs that are basically in the east. He’s great, he’s really into the band which is unusual for us. A lot of people we’ve worked with have been fairly lukewarm characters really.
ITM?: You’re known to be quite good mates with comedian Stewart Lee.
RL: Over the years he’s been a real supporter of ours, he’s put us on at the South Bank Centre and he curated an All Tomorrows Parties at Prestatyn and he had us on there. He’s doing eight or nine shows with us to help us sell tickets, really, doing eighties material he used to do.
He’s opened up for us a couple of times before, it’s not really political stuff, more like scatological I suppose, I think the jokes bear up, just doing this fifteen minute club kind of thing. Even if people don’t like the music no-one could say it’s no good because the band are really tight just now.
ITM?: What other bands and musicians have you met up with while doing all of this?
RL: We play in this town in Austria called Ebensee every year and the Monochrome Set played with us last time we played there. I never knew them very much despite them being on Cherry Red at the same time as we were but what a nice bloke Bid is.
A few years ago I had a stroke and Bid had a stroke and he was talking about how me him and Edwyn Collins should get a band together called ‘The Real Strokes’.
Edwyn gets in touch every now and again. We did a single with Vic Godard recently not so long back and Edwyn is good pals with Vic and he got in touch with me around the time we did that record anyway, it was earlier this year we did that. Subway Sect were a great band and all that came about quite weird.
I was telling you about that gig Stewart Lee put on at the South Bank centre and I asked Vic and Subway Sect if they would open up for us and they did and after the gig Vic said ‘I’ve written this song for us to sing together’ and it took us seven years to get around to recording it.
It did really well for us, Marc Riley made it record of the week and we never get played on daytime radio anywhere. I dunno, I’m just babbling on now …
The Nightingales latest album ‘Perish The Thought’ is available on the Tiny Global label. More at thenightingales.org.uk