The ship is only just sailing | Tall Ships

Up-and-coming British indie band Tall Ships speak to us about their ‘brainiac indie’ sound ahead of their Malta gig next week, during the Nil by Mouth sessions at V-Gen, Paceville

Tall Ships will be performing at V-Gen, Paceville on October 5.
Tall Ships will be performing at V-Gen, Paceville on October 5.

Your music has been described as 'brainiac indie'. Are you proud of this appellation, and what do you think it refers to?

Well - we definitely don't mind being called intelligent! I think it refers to our lyrics,  primarily which take a huge amount of inspiration from science and scientific ideas. We write songs about evolution, plate tectonics, the Big Bang and so on... which I suppose could create that impression. Musically we use a huge range of sounds and layer them up in quite a technical way so I suppose that could be another reason. We really don't mind being referred to in that way though because we do put a huge amount of thought into every aspect of our music (though it could be a bit misleading because none of us are particularly clever at all... ha!).

Likewise, it's been said that your music is rewarding, if a little bit 'demanding' at first. Is this a compromise that you're willing to make while composing your songs?

We don't really think about it, to be honest! We write the songs how we feel they should be without a thought to whether their demanding to listen to. I think it's always great when music challenges you on some level - when it makes you reassess what music is or should be. If you go through that process when listening to a new band and then come out of the other side understanding it, it's infinitely more interesting and affecting. There is nothing worse than hearing the first 10 seconds of a song and knowing that you can already predict where it will take you for the next three minutes.

What would you say are some of your proudest achievements as musicians so far?

That's a tough one. Being able to say that we've toured all over the UK and Europe is pretty special. It was a childhood dream of ours to be in a band, so to be able to say that is pretty amazing. The main thing, though, would probably be having people now who come to our shows, who sing our lyrics with us. It's amazing to think that the songs we write really mean something to people and that they bring them pleasure to listen to.

How would you describe the UK scene... specifically the Brighton scene? Was it a challenge to break through and get noticed - what did it take, and would you have any advice to aspiring bands who are in a similar situation?

The Brighton scene is pretty good. There's lots of interesting bands around doing interesting stuff, so it's a healthy environment to be in. The only reason we are where we are now is through playing any and every show that was ever thrown our way. We've toured relentlessly and built up a name for ourselves in that way. It's a really rewarding (but very hardworking) way of doing things, you meet amazing people along the way and its those people you meet that can help you out as well.

Are you looking forward to playing in Malta? Is there a particular vibe that you expect from the island?

Yes! We can't wait. We're just looking forward to the sun and want to go swimming in the sea! We're most excited about playing though, its going to be a huge amount of fun!

Tall Ships will perform on October 5 along with fellow UK act Joe Gideon and the Shark along with local band The Violent Violets. The Nil by Mouth Sessions will continue on October 6, headlined by UK band Esben and the Witch and local acts The Areola Treat and Carrie Haber. Tickets at €18 (both days) and €12 (each day) are available online from HairyAmp's website or by calling 99 846382/79 861473.