A lot of people are saying great things are going to come from The Tupolev Ghost. We had a chat with frontman James Parrish about the his hopes and dreams for the band as well as Swine Flu and Limp Bizkit.
From: London and Cambridge, UK
Sounds like: Rival Schools, Shellac, Slint
Thrash Hits verdict: This band is a fantastic amalgamation of all your favourite post-rock and post-hardcore sounds from the 1990s and the turn of the century. They also DSTRY stages with their cracking live show. The Tupolev Ghost are a fascinating, honour-fuelled band that a lot of people are going to get to care about if they get the breaks they deserve.
Who are you all and how did you meet?
“We had a couple of our original members emigrate as a result of being offered sickeningly high paid jobs abroad, so it has been a bit of transitionary period recently. We started as a three-piece, and now we’re four. It’s a long story but – as it stands – it’s myself on guitar and vocals, Andy (ex-Days Ago) on drums and Chris (ex-Days Ago/Capitals) and Ross (ex-Secondsmile). We’re safe as houses. This is a line-up I think we’re all happy with and from recent writing sessions we feel will bring the best out of the band.”
What made you want to start The Tupolev Ghost?
“It really was just for the love of making music. We’ve all been involved or close to the “industry” in its various capacities over the years so we are probably too cynical to be thinking of the band in terms of fame or fortune. That’s not to say we wouldn’t like our own plane like Iron Maiden or to sponsor a football team. Ross would like to buy Newcastle United and turn it all round, but he’s someway off the necessary funds to do so. At the moment.”
Where did the name come from?
“The name comes from the Russian jet, which is the loudest plane in the world. Our ex-member and expat all-rounder Steven came up with it one day. Super G Constellation was the other name we considered. I think you can see why we went with Tupolev. I was in a band before this called Soviet Method, and Left Of Central before that. There is a steady communist theme running here. Entirely accidental…”
How has living in Cambridge and London affected how you sound?
“Cambridge is really green and beautiful but is a little bit of safehaven musically. We played there for over a year and a half before we played elsewhere and it’s the same for a lot of bands. There is a lot of good music being made, particularly in and around The Portland Arms scene, but it seems to struggle to make it elsewhere. London is a harder crowd to please, but it makes you work harder at what you do and that can only be a good thing.”
What are your musical influences? Rival Schools and Limp Bizkit?
“To be honest, you’re not so far off the mark. We listened to Significant Other for about half an hour on tour and all quietly appreciated it. But you’d not tell from listening to us. We’re into a very wide range of music, and while we get put into the post-hardcore box with bands such as At The Drive-In and Shotmaker, that’s only a segment of the music we listen to. Of course, we love Dischord, Desoto and Touch & Go for the bands they put out but Chris is also very into technical metal, Ross is into a lot of folk and both Andy and I like a lot of the underground punk and hardcore that comes from No Idea and similar labels. Oh, and we both pretty much bow down to everything John Reis has ever put his hand to.”
Watch a clip of The Tupolev Ghost on tour in Ireland with pig-based japes
With which band would your dream tour be?
“In the current climate, I suppose it would be a band like Gallows. Simply because they will be packing venues night in night out and they have what we aspire to – passion and belief. Seems they’re doing things for the right reasons. We might not sound much like them, but we hope we’d appeal to a similar audience. And besides, Fugazi aren’t going to be touring anytime soon.”
What bands do you consider as part of your scene or as your peers?
“We’re signed to Big Scary Monsters which kind of placed us into a ready made scene of sorts. Holy Roar and BSM are both independent labels with a dedicated following amongst people who still care about artwork and ethics and we’re very lucky to be a part of it. We’re much more a straightforward, turn-it-up-louder rock band than a lot of the matheir acts on both labels, but for the most part we’ve been accepted in with open arms.”
What marks you out as different to other bands around at the moment?
“I’d like to think we’re writing honestly and without pretension – just songs, in the traditional sense of the word. Sure, we’ll use angular chords or throw in a few surprises, but we all see the appeal in having hooks and being as melodic as we are heavy. We also sound British when we open our mouths because, well, we are British. We’re old enough, maybe not wise enough, to know what we’re aiming for. We have never taken one band’s blueprint and said we were going to do just that. Our sound comes from years of listening to records, taping radio shows, from sitting on Napster getting what we could when it first launched almost ten years back. We’re not influenced so much by passing trends but by what has come before as a whole.”
You’ve just been out on tour. How was it and what have you got next?
“We just got back from 3 weeks touring and will be heading off on tour with Wintermute in June. If we’re not all dead from Swine Flu by then. If you’re not all dead from Swine Flu by then.”
What’s the best or funniest show you’ve played?
“The best show would be a while back when we played a venue in Ipswich to two people at the start. One left after 40 seconds of the first song. Then by the second, the place had started to fill out and we played on the floor, really going for it. Was the start of the realisation that we could play outside Cambridge and get a similar reaction, and perhaps the start of a real belief in what we were doing. That was maybe just over a year ago. With our current line-up we played The Old Blue Last recently and Ross jumped off his bass stack halfway through a song. That’s the sign of a show going well.”
Tell us a joke.
“I could tell you all manner of jokes but most of them will cause someone offense. The one I’m thinking of has the punchline ‘Harvey Andre’.”
The Tupolev Ghost are playing across the UK this summer. Go to their MySpace for exact dates and go and see them live. You won’t regret it.