There are a few groups that people keep mentioning, one of them is The Magic Gang. Having formed in Brighton, they’ve been building an ever rising local fan base and after a very successful mini tour around the UK, they are now on everyone’s lips as “the ones to watch”. There is no doubt that there are big things are on the horizon for Jack (rhythm guitar and vocal), Kris (lead guitar and vocals), Paeris (drums) and Angus (bass and vocals). I recently spoke to the band at the Brighton’s Vice Party to find out more.
Where did you all grow up?
[JACK] We are from area’s around Bournemouth. We didn’t know each other when we were there, but we all came to Brighton around the same time.
[KRIS] We met in weird different ways in the sixth Form.
What kind of music where you brought up on?
[KRIS] The Beatles and Stevie Wonder, my mum used to play it to me when I was a kid.
[PAERIS] My dad was really into stuff like Joy Division and anything on Factory Records. Maybe a bit of U2 as well.
[JACK] My dad listened and played a lot of T Rex. When I was younger I was more into Oasis as that was what my brother was playing.
Can you remember the first album you owned?
[KRIS] Good Charlottes second album (The Young And The Hopeless), the one with all the bangers on it.
[PAERIS] Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stone Age
[JACK] My mum bought me Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP. I liked it at the time for all the swearing on it, but I still like it now for lots of different reasons.
How did you all come together and decide to start a band?
[PAERIS] Me and Christian used to be in a two piece about four years ago. Then when living with Jack we started other bands, and then we kind of merged.
[JACK] It was like a Super Group of all of our side projects, which then became the many thing.
[KIRIS] It became more focused, just by chance really as people were kind of into what we were doing.
Can you remember your first jam?
[Jack] The first jam was when we wrote our first song together.
[KRIS] People used to call us a “slacker rock” band, but it is more like a “work very hard” band. We are really a bunch of boring bastards that will sit with a guitar for hours writing a song. But we do jam too.
How would you describe you music?
[KRIS] When we started it was sort of a bit more obvious, scrappy and alternative. The kind of vibe we are on now is more of a soulful pop song. It is more about writing songs than trying to jam something out.
[JACK] The songwriting has always been traditionally influenced, which comes from listening to stuff like The Beatles
Is there a story behind the name?
[JACK] It came about very quickly.
[PAERIS] It was quite a methodical process. We wanted it to be The ___ ___. Then we tried to get the last word.
[JACK] Crew. Group
[KRIS] Club. Boys.
[PAERIS] Then after a couple of hours we got to The Magic Gang.
How do you approach the writing process?
[JACK] Whenever we demo anything we will always play it to friends to see if it is good or not, as it is always good to get an outsiders perspective. But as far as songwriting goes it is just between the four of us.
[KRIS] Respectively, we are all songwriters on our own so there are always lots of ideas.
I’ve heard you are sitting on a pile of more than 50 songs hidden away.
[JACK] Not all are demoed, but yes. We have this problem where we change the set a little bit too much. If we had it our way we would play a different set each show, but that is a bit self-indulgent really.
[KRIS] The current set we are keeping for the moment. It is a mixture of old and new.
Is there a new release in the pipe line?
[JACK] There is not much we know about it other than we have recorded some tracks. It could be for an EP, or could be for a single? There isn’t anything else I can say really.
[KRIS] Hopefully it will be in the next couple of months. There will definitely be a song online at least.
What has been a musical eye-opener?
[KRIS] When I first saw Girlband live. I’m quite an old hat, I’m really into my traditional pop songs. They all had the same instruments as us but they completely utilised their instruments for a completely different effect. Mind Blown. It was all sounds and not melody, so it was really interesting that I enjoyed it.
[JACK] I think I am still awaiting a moment like that.
[PAERIS] When Mac Demarco came over about three years ago and there wasn’t that many people there. I had never thought of doing anything like he was doing.
What would be your perfect line-up of any three acts for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
[KRIS] Bulkans. They were a short lived band that have only put out one album, but it’s incredible. They are a hidden gem!
[JACK] Avi Buffalo. They did a really great album about five years ago and did another great album recently, but then immediately split up which I am gutted about as I never got to see them.
[KRIS] As we have been pretty contemporary with are choices, maybe we should choose someone who isn’t….. Bob Marley. We would probably have it at Bleach if Tim Hampson didn’t mind.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to The Magic Gang?
[KRIS] We would really like to work with Canadian cinematographer Evan Prosofsky. His cinematography is stunning. He now does everyone’s cinematography – Paul McCartney, Mac Demarco, Adidas. He is hot shit, now that everybody has realised how unique he is. It would be good to work with Phil Spector as he is now. A burnt out post 60s Spector who has lost his touch, and reality.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
[KRIS] Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
[PAERIS] LA Priest is sounding pretty good. He’s one of the guys from Late Of The Pier.
[JACK] Brighton’s Abittoir Blues are my favourite punk band.
[KRIS] They are amazing. It combines a punk intensity with beautiful melody, and has an emotive effect but not like an emo band. It’s very overwhelming and intense.
[JACK] Shannon And The Clams are an American three piece band represented as a two piece. They play like 50/60s songs with a garage rock feel.
Do you get to go to many gigs?
[PAERIS] We went to Secret Garden Party and saw Jungle which was pretty astonishing really.
[JACK] Darwin Deez was great there. But we don’t really go to many gigs.
If you could have written any song or album ever, which one would it be?
[JACK] The chorus in ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. I always wish I had written that.
[KRIS] I wish I had written Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, it was him at his peak.
What are you future plans?
[JACK] We are looking to just release – we have so many songs that it is about getting them out there as soon as possible. Also to play as much as possible. We are touring with Swim Deep in October and playing with them in Brighton at the Concorde 2 on 25th September.