What are your names?Tom Keogh – Vocals, Guitar
Jamie Corish – Vocals, Bass
Nat Jones – Guitar, Keys
Rob Maclennan – Drums
Tell us the story behind the name ‘ Flatlands’.
Flatlands came to Tom as he was interrailing with his ex-band member in Germany. They were going their separate ways after school, both locationally but also in music taste. Tom wasn’t ready to stop playing in a band, though. As such, the idea for a new band with a stronger focus on rock was formed as he was travelling through some literal Germanic flatlands. Neat, right?
What is your genre of music?
We play both Indiepunk style music, inspired by the likes of Modern Baseball, The Front Bottoms and Brand New, as well as the occasional Post Rock esque number, akin to such Oxford legends such as Foals and Radiohead.
Give us a little bio about you as a band and individuals.
We initially came together from opposite directions. While we all at school, Tom and Rob were the lead singer and drummer, respectively, of the indie folk band “Midnight Run”, whilst Nat was one of the brains behind the prog-rock epics served up by rival band “The Aureate Act”. As they approached the end of their time at school, they came together one night to form the skeleton of a new band.
Looking for a bassist proved difficult: no one in our year who played bass really wanted to commit to a band with bigger aspirations than school concerts. Jamie, however, offered up his dedication to the trio despite having no idea how to play a bass guitar. He set himself the task of learning the bass in two months before their first gig. Amazingly, he pulled it off and the rest is history.
Are you a signed?
You are releasing new single ‘ One Major One Minor’ can you tell us more about it.
One Major One Minor came out with the Provisional Licence E.P in February 2017. The music video soon followed. Since then, it’s had some nice reception from various bloggers, radios and music journalists. Been great to hear the feedback.
What was the writing process like ?
Nat originally came up with the main guitar hook and demoed it for the others at home. The rest all came together in a couple of rehearsals and Tom sorted the lyrics while getting driven home after each failed driving test.
What was the recording process like?
It was a real pleasure recording OMOM at Evolution Studios in Oxford. Tom, Jamie and Rob laid down the main bulk of the song in a few takes and then it was over to Nat and the vocalists to add the overdubs. It all went really smoothly under Nick Moorbath’s capable direction. What was anticipated to be a major problem – bringing clarity to the individual guitar layers – was easily resolved with his skill.
You also released a very cool video for the single, what was the video process like?
Filming OMOM music video was great! We had a brief outline of what we’d do beforehand but really it all fell into place on the day. We knew that in order to match the musical and lyrical content of the track we’d need to make it light hearted and self-deprecating, hence all the continuity errors and the silly story line. Credit must go to Charlie Landells for producing the video so well. He also did a cracking job of putting up with us for 8 hours.
What’s your best memory from the video shoot?
It’s got to be experience Rob’s acting masterclass. The boy’s got serious talent. Is burping on cue really serious talent?
What are you most looking forward too?
We’re looking forward to the future. 2017 looks to be an exciting year with the prospect of festival slots and amazing touring band gigs to come.
You also have an EP coming out called ‘Provisional License ‘ tell us the meaning behind the title.
Provisional Licence has been floating about online for a few weeks now. It’s officially out on 9th March. Our E.P Launch gig at The Library Oxford will see physical copies being released for the first time. The title riffs off the One Major One Minor lyrical content. It’s basically Tom feeling a bit sore about failing his driving test 3 times* but it also references how this E.P is a bit of a “test drive” for us too. We’re not fully fledged as a band but we’re aiming to use the E.P to springboard to greater things.
*He has since failed for a 4th time and then passed on a 5th. Go Tom.
Describe each track in three words
One Major One Minor -Tom can’t drive
Truth Be Told.. – Obligatory Love Song
Ghosts – Skins, The Musical
Will you be heading out on tour or any gigs coming up your fans/new fans can know about?
9th March at The Library in Oxford is a must. The support bands are fantastic and the tiny venue should make for an intense live experience. Tickets are selling fast though! Our tour plans are still currently under wraps… hopefully more on this in the next few months though.
If so where will you be heading?
Hopefully cities with good music scenes. We’re looking at places like Manchester, Brighton, London, Sheffield, etc.
Will you be selling merch at any of your gigs?
Yes! We have T-shirts and CDs ready to be distributed at the 9th March E.P launch gig. What’s more, these will soon be available online via our Facebook page.
What made you go into music?
Encouragement from family and school are key to us all. What brought the 4 of us together was that we all started a gap year at the same time last September. Being abandoned by our mates as they went off to various universities up and down the country brought us together. We’d all played together in various guises whilst at school so the time seemed right to establish ourselves in the Oxford music scene
Do you play any other instruments?
We’re all classically trained musicians, actually. Tom and Nat play the piano and violin, Jamie is an awesome cellist and Rob is a percussion weapon. Nat claims proficiency at the banjo but this is yet to be attested to.
Who are your influences?
Again, different for each member. There are 2 sides to the Flatlands sound and this is shown by our influences. Nat is much more into prog rock, electronic and UK alternative/Indie music, Rob’s grooves reflect both hard rock influence from the likes of Muse blended with exciting funk similar to Tower of Power. Jamie and Tom tend to be a bit more American in their garage rock tastes. Together we hope that we bring a fusion of our tastes into our music.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
We’re quite prosaic in our inspiration. Basically, if something sounds good and is fun to play, it gets the nod. Nat or Tom usually come up with the initial idea and then it’s down to us as a collective to develop it into something more complete. As a general rule, we try not to write lyrics first. Crowbarring chords around a story we’re trying to tell never tends to work for us.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Always hard to tell as teenagers. We’ll all be playing music though, that’s for sure!
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Rob is a bit of an organisational God. He fences internationally, plays at professional events as an orchestral percussionist for a bit of cash on the side and is an A* student in the spare time he has in between. As for the others: Tom wheezes through half marathons, Nat professionally drinks his body weight in alcohol (and runs faster half marathons than Tom) and Jamie rigorously combs the Star Wars prequels for more evidence that Jar Jar Binks was a Sith Lord.
What would be your dream hometown venue?
Oxford does grubby little pub venues so well. The Library is going to be super exciting on 9th March as its so small, that when it gets packed, it really feels nuts to play live.
If you could collaborate with one UK Artists or Band who would it be?
It’d be awesome to jam with someone like Johnny Marr. His guitar work is simply the best. You’d be in the studio and you can imagine him just adding on incredible overdub after incredible overdub. Flatlands aren’t anything like The Smiths but we appreciate the genius.
If you could collaborate with one US artists or band should it be and why?
Spending a few weeks locked up in Mac DeMarco’s Brooklyn flat/recording space would be pretty awesome.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to get more into the music scene?
Oxford has a fine heritage of music talent that makes being part of its current scene really exciting. In recent years the likes of Glass Animals, Wild Swim (now Low Island), ArtClassSink, Balloon Ascents (now Neverlnd) have shown that young ambitious musicians can thrive. Hard to pick a specific song but we really value the bands produced in Oxford.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Never give up on your dreams. Only joking. Get performing out of your hometown. Play the next county, get down to London, go abroad! Gig once every 6-8 weeks at home, if you’re any good, the show should be really packed.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
If you’re in a band you’ve got to be ready to criticise each other. We’re all really good mates here in Flatlands so telling each other our ideas are dud is pretty tough. But tough love triumphs when trying to put together a decent run of tunes.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“You can drink a drink but you can’t food a food” – Confucius
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?