In the cave-like recesses of the Trent Student Union, Impact spoke to some of Nottingham’s youngest and most promising talent, local band Frontiers. Alex Noble (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals), Charlie Burley (Lead Guitar), Jacob Austin (Bass) and Jonnie Barnett (drums) filled us in on the musician/student conflict, Charlie’s enthused obsession with dubstep, and celebrity spotting backstage at Reading and Leeds.
If you had to choose between an academic lifestyle and your band, which would you choose?
Alex: Band, every time. A few years ago, the majority wanted to go into an academic career because of the environment we’d been brought up into, but once we realised we were good at playing music, we changed our minds. We’ve got a real goal that we’re working towards now, and we’re all on the same page which is the fantastic thing about Frontiers.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
Alex: Radiohead and Bloc Party. We listen to all types of stuff, Jacob listens to jazz… Sometimes we’ll listen to conventional music, The Horrors and stuff. We like to take shoe-gazey music and make it our own.
How did your acoustic gig at the Rescue Rooms go?
Charlie: I was really nervous! Every little breath you take at an acoustic gig can be heard.
Alex: It went down really well, it gave us a chance to break things down and see what our songs are all about. It was really fun; I want to do it again soon.
I saw you at Reading Festival last year. Was it quite daunting?
Alex: It was every single emotion you could possibly imagine. It was the most incredible weekend. We were carrying our stuff through the main festival sites because there’s no proper backstage. We were like kids in a candy store with all the celebrity hunting and going round all the tour buses. It was unbelievable to even be on the same bill as bands such as Kings of Leon and Radiohead.
You had a great review from Drowned in Sound. Do you see yourself playing at Reading again and what opportunities did it open up for you?
Alex: We played BBC Introducing but we have to progress if we want to play any major festivals this year, we’ve got to work hard over the next few months and branch out. We’ve based ourselves in Nottingham to get a fan base down, now we’ve got to expand further into the East Midlands, and hopefully play London by the end of this year. The student fan-base is key and magazines like Impact are really important for a band like us.
Are you hoping to get signed in the near future and if so to what label?
Jake: It’s hard because industry’s changing so getting signed to a major label maybe isn’t the best thing to do. I’m partial to independent labels such as XL, that’s got great artists on it…The Horrors, the XX, Radiohead, Vampire Weekend…
If you do eventually get signed, you’ll be searchable on things such as Youtube, Spotify, and illegal downloading sites. What are your opinions on free music broadcasting?
Alex: Live shows are so important now, and why gig tickets have gone up in price. It used to be that a band would do a tour to promote an album and now bands are doing albums to promote their live tours. It’s a completely different business model and it’s something you have to adapt to, otherwise you get nowhere.
You guys are obviously local lads. What are your favourite places to go out in Nottingham?
Alex: Rescue Rooms, Stealth. Bodega’s good. Goo Goo as well! And Ride.
Are you guys close to producing a debut album at all?
Alex: At the moment we’re just going to be doing EPs and the odd release, and hopefully get something out on iTunes soon. There are no plans for an album in the pipeline until we get a record contract.
Jonnie: But we are recording next week!
What was it like working with the producer of Pulp and the Arctic Monkeys?
Alex: He’s very forward with you. You play him a song, and if he doesn’t like it, he’ll tell you he doesn’t like it. You literally keep playing your repertoire until you come to a song that he likes.
Charlie: We’ve got such a good working relationship. When we first met him, we were little kids, we were terrified. But now we’re on the same wavelength, we know what he wants and vice versa. He doesn’t play up to the fact that he’s worked with big bands either, he’s very modest.