This year, we went to Swn festival as the official water sponsor. As well as speaking to Pretty Vicious, we also got to check out a wider range of pretty awesome bands.
What brings you to Sŵn?
Sŵn is a beautiful festival. We’ve only ever played in Wales once before and never in Cardiff. It’s nice to play to a whole new group of people; people who haven’t heard us play before. We’ve also played at Green Man, which was one of our last Summer festivals. It’s in an incredible location and there was an amazing crowd.
What other bands have you got your eye on at Sŵn?
We’d love to see Beach Baby on the Sunday, we’ve played with them once before and they were great. We also want to try and catch William Joseph Cook, we were meant to play with him two nights ago but it got cancelled because he was ill so we’re keen to see him live.
We’re also looking forward to see the bands we don’t know that well. Festivals like this are a really good opportunity to discover new bands and see things you wouldn’t have seen before. It can really open your eyes to completely different genres of music.
We love this kind of multi-venue approach to music. South by Southwest are the pioneers of this kind of format. You get to see more of the city, and it keeps things exciting as it adds a time pressure to get between venues.
Other than the obvious, what do you take on stage with you?
We always take some good quality H2O on stage with us, so we’re grateful for the water supplied at the festival. Our tastes are different though; Leo and Matt like sparkling but Rupert and Will like still.
How do you write your music?
We take inspiration from a huge pool of things and somehow meet in the middle. There’s lots of old soul, the Maccabees, Jeff Buckley. We love guitar-based music, and the blues.
A song usually comes from a basic idea like a few chords, or a couple of words and then we build and reconstruct, add more layers to make it a full song. It’s very rare that a song comes easily, written in a few hours but when it does, they tend to be the best songs.
What’s next for Palace?
Sŵn is our last UK date this year, and then we’re straight off on our EU tour, which finishes in Brussels on 17 November. As soon as that’s over, we’ll be in the studio recording our debut album. We will have a tiny Christmas break – we don’t like to have too long off but we do need a small break for our sanity. We’ll be back in Cardiff sometime soon, hopefully.
What brings you to Sŵn Festival?
Sŵn is a great example of a metropolitan festival – you get to play to crowds all year round, stay warm and you don’t have to camp.
If it wasn’t for Sŵn, there’s no reason I would have come to Cardiff as I don’t have a massive fan base here. It’s great for artists like myself who aren’t that well known. The festival is already set up, you get your name included amongst some pretty big artists and people pop along to see you and you grow your audience.
What is your inspiration?
Growing up I was madly obsessed with artists like Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush. I grew up listening to folk music, a lot of Bob Dylan. I’m still not a massive fan of modern music even now.
My dad’s Glaswegian and has a heavy influence on my music taste, so Pink Floyd feature heavily, as well as Prefab Sprout, which is always a weird one.
What’s next for PIxx?
Tour starts on the 10th with LA Priest. I’m playing nine dates across the UK with him and I’m a huge fan so it should be good. Then I’m heading out to New York to record some of my album with the bassist from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who I’ve worked with a couple of times before. It’s the first time I’m going anywhere on my own, but I’ll be there for Thanksgiving, so I’m looking forward to it.
Were you looking forward to performing at Sŵn Festival?
Sŵn was something that we had wanted to do for a couple of years, so we were pretty thrilled to be invited to play. We would have attended whether we were playing or not, it’s a great festival.
Have you played any of the Sŵn venues before? Do you think the festival atmosphere changes things?
We’ve played Gwdihw a few times, both during festivals and just one-off gigs; it feels like home. Festival gigs attract a much more varied crowd, and we love playing to people who might not have heard us before, hopefully rewarding them for taking a punt on our band.
Are there any other bands you are excited about seeing at the festival?
We’d love to be able to see Oh Peas! for the first time, she’s one half of Totem Terrors, a great Cardiff band. We’ve also got Simon Love, Ultimate Painting and Crows-An-Wra on our list of ‘must-sees’.
Other than your instruments, is there anything you always bring on stage with you?
As a singer, I drink around four pints of water in a 45 minute set. Ideally I’d want a jug of water for each gig. Elliot, our drummer, always has about five sets of drumsticks on his body at any one time, just in case.
What are your rehearsals generally like?
We will plug in and play until something collectively hits us. All of our songs are written as a group, which means we write songs pretty quickly and often. We’re at our best when we’ve been playing for about seven hours and are exhausted. It’s great writing songs as a group, together we can come up with things that we would not be capable of on our own.