Interview with The TenFiveSixty
In 1983 the American alternative country band The Long Ryders were releasing their first album 10-5-60, a catchy melody sprinkled with punk and psychedelic rock influences from the Paisley Underground Movement, their first album. They were claiming they were rebels; singing about parties, cops, women and gangs, it was the 80s.
When choosing the name of their band, Rik Hornby and Jen Bailey were looking for something different and unique, probably not willing to name their band after an animal (no offence Noah and the Whale, Crocodiles, Pony Pony Run Run, Niki and the Dove, and the others). They eventually opted for The TenFiveSixty, because of the 1993 comet (10560 Michinari) and, of course, because of The Long Ryders.
Their poignant and dazzling music will imprint on you and transport your mind miles away from home. Hornby and Bailey write dark lyrics, creating eloquent addictive songs. The fusion of the two, added with Bailey’s fragile voice, Lykke Li-like, makes indie rock or British pop as they call it, sound fresh and exciting as ever.
However, on stage, you’ll find their sound more intense, dark and mesmerizing than their first release, Do This For Me. The TenFiveSixty deserve much more attention than what they have gotten so far.
The Upcoming caught up with Jen Bailey (electric guitar, synth and vocals) and Rik Hornby (electric guitar, part of the vocals), on a cold and windy London afternoon.
How did it all get started?
Jen: We met each other in a music shop in London, and Rik was playing something, I liked it. We got chatting and…That was it! But the band didn’t form straight away; we talked about it a lot first.
Rik: We did a lot of planning and kind of started writing. It was about three years ago…
Jen: …And realised that we could write together.
Rik: It never felt forced, it always has been quite natural. And Seb Sternberg, the drummer, arrived last September. I’ve known him for a few years; he’s the best drummer I’ve ever met. He’s always going to be first choice. We’re not really technical, we don’t reeeeeeally (he insisted on the really) know what we are doing. We know what sounds good, but we don’t know why it sounds good, so it’s still fascinating; music still really fascinates me. We do it all by ear, it works because of that. If it’s sounds good to us, we know it’s going to be all right. We are pretty choosy.
What would your dream stage be?
R: We always wanted to play gigs in cinemas. I actually have a list of places (laughs). I’d like to play in the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, because when I was a teenager I used to work there. I used to carry bags of ice for the bands who played there and then tidy all the dressing rooms after they’d gone, so I always think it would be nice to play there. Where else…
J: Hollywood Bowl!
R: Yes definitely.
J: Preferably with the amount of fans to fill it. (laughs) In London, I’d say Brixton Academy; I’d really, really like that.
How did you go from just playing together to have a manager and gigs all around London? Give us some tips!
J: Work hard! Don’t spread yourself to thin.
R: It will sound a bit cheesy but you have to believe that what you’re doing will have some worth, some time, somewhere.
J: Have something you believe in…But make sure it is good.
R: There is no point just playing the guitar…
J: …You have to be the best at it!
R: It got to be some kind of…I’d say magic, but oh, I hate that word! (laughs)
Why did you choose Do This for Me as your first single?
J: We were working on our songs for our first album and tired to choose which songs could be single material and chose the one we thought was the best.
Are you creating the lyrics and music at the same time? What’s your process?
R: It’s funny the way it works. I need a starting point with music, once I have got that, I can carry it on. Jen, always starts but then sometimes, I’ll write a couples of lines but then she just takes it off of me, and makes it great!
J: It’s just finishing it (the songs), that’s the problem…
R: We have to abandon it….
J: …We have to say leave it now, it’s done.
You are officially releasing Do This For Me on the 25th of June; did you also make a video?
J: Yes. We wanted it to look really… not like “old” but we didn’t want any HD or anything, we wanted to make it like a VHS tape. Hopefully it’s going to look great. And the director had a brilliant concept. If it doesn’t get banned it’s going to be amazing… We came away with some injuries, let’s just put it like that. You’ll have to wait and see. You’re going to be shocked (she says to her press manager).
R: The last thing we wanted it to be was a performance video. We are in a position where we can make a video, so we might as well do something interesting, why not, it might be the last video we do, so why not do something different.
J: And if you want to see a band play, you can go see a gig. I think a video should be a little piece of art really. We didn’t even want to be in it.
R: We had to be talked into being in it by our Director, Michael Pearce.
There’s also a remixed version of Do This For Me by Crocodiles – How did that happen? Did you meet Crocodiles?
J: Uhm, you went on that boat trip last year (talking to Rik). It was a kind of release for their album.
R: That was mad, they kind of did like a 35-years-after-the-Sex-Pistols Jubilee thing. It was pretty mad, in a good way. They’re a great band. We know them because our producer had worked with them on this album in Berlin and he talked to them about us. Then we had a few drinks with them and we all got on, it was great fun.
What sets you apart from the other bands?
R: Uhm…I’m gonna wear some pink socks tonight, for the gig… I haven’t seen a band wear pink socks for a while. (laughs)
J: It’s hard to think of an answer that you wouldn’t hear any band say. Every band thinks that they’re the greatest. I think we will always separate ourselves from any other band purely because we live in our own little world, the “TenFiveSixty world”. I think we are very aware of subtlety in the lyrics.
On the press release I was given is written that you share a love for lost romanticism, soundtracks, 60s’ girl groups, 80s’ hooks, good footwear, attention to detail, and the darker side of classic British guitar pop…
J: Doc Martens!
What’s the darker side of British guitar pop?
R: The dark side is just much more interesting. In a kind of happy-tappy way, the sunny side. It just draws you in more, I think there is a natural human reaction to the darker side of things and I just think it sounds better really.
What are your plans for this summer?
J: We are doing a little tour at the beginning of July, just five or six dates around the country. And then we are off to New-York City at the end of August. We just want to put ourselves in another hot city, somewhere we don’t know, and just write… Fingers crossed.
R: And we are going to be cat-sitting a cat called Sputnik, so we thought we’d go and do some writing.
Photographer: Marco Arias Rua
Have a look at The TenFiveSixty’s official website here.
Do This For Me will be released on 25th June 2012, and is also available in vinyl. Their vinyl with a hand-made screen-printed cover would be a great addition to any record collection. We are looking forward to their first album, scheduled to be released in October 2012.
Listen to Do This For Me here.