On The Road With RHODES
David RHODES on touring, recording his debut album and his tail-chasing bass player…
RHODES is on the phone to MTV UK from the countryside of Yorkshire and the first thing he says when we pick up is, “Can you hear the cows mooing in the background?” No, no we can’t David [RHODES’ first name], but we’re glad to hear he’s holed up working on his album. “I actually have birds tweeting on the record,” he tells us. “I’m recording in a barn so there are a lot of them around.”
Finally in one place again after more than a year of relentless touring, RHODES tells us what his highlights have been, what’s to come later this year and where his “cheeky chappy” bass player fits into it all.
MTV UK: You’re on the BBC Introducing Album, but how would you introduce yourself to the MTV audience?
RHODES: Well my name’s RHODES, I write thematic soundscapes; I suppose it’s kind of indie pop music with a cinematic vibe to it.
MTV UK: You’ve just wrapped up your UK tour – what was the best thing about that experience?
RHODES: It’s been really cool, because I spent most of last year touring, but mainly just my solo show. I incorporated a band into a few of my shows, but this time round I took them for the whole thing, and it just felt right. It felt like I had developed my sound, because I’d been growing it in the studio, and it felt really natural.
We finished off at London Underground, which was strange, because I had been to a lot of shows there and it was the biggest solo show that I’d done. It was great. I like having a little gang of us on the road now and I’m looking forward to continuing on like that, while keeping that dynamic of me being on my own for a few songs, and having that progression throughout the sets.
MTV UK: What was the funniest thing that happened on the road that you’re allowed to tell us about?
RHODES: Well Michael the bass player is such a character; he’s from Newcastle, so he’s got that cheeky chappy vibe. Our tour manager says he’s always out ‘chasing tail’ after the shows, talking to different girls, which is always amusing to watch. He’s like the class clown. You can always expect something funny to happen when he’s around.
MTV UK: Maybe it’s a Newcastle thing; the Geordie Shore boys are always ‘chasing tail’…
RHODES: Yeah, I’ve watched it, my girlfriend is a big fan! I think it’s definitely a Newcastle thing.
MTV UK: Why did you choose ‘Turning Back Around’ as the lead single from your new album?
RHODES: I think it’s just a nice little taster of how my sound has evolved while recording the album. It’s been an interesting process, going from being solo to making this bigger sound, and this one’s a little bit more up-tempo. It shows a different side than my last three singles did.
MTV UK: Who do you think has influenced your sound and your writing over the years?
RHODES: I’m really into bands with big sounds like Arcade Fire and I really like early Coldplay stuff. But I also love older music, like Arthur Lee, blues and early folk songwriting. That being said, I love Grizzly Bear; they’re probably the most current reference I have. I don’t like to reference other people’s music too much, but I think subconsciously things are going to filter through in the process. I really like film music, like Danny Elfman, and creating that kind of mood and atmosphere.
MTV UK: You played the Burberry party at London Fashion Week in February – is fashion something that’s becoming more important to you as you’re doing more live shows?
RHODES: I think so; my sister’s a designer and it’s always been a thing in my family to be quite image conscious. The Burberry thing kind of happened by chance, but I’m really glad it did, and I’m doing a few things for them now. It’s really fun and I love British designers, so it’s really great to be part of that, especially as Burberry have always been supportive of new music.
MTV UK: We know you’re playing a bunch of festivals this summer; what are you most looking forward to about that?
RHODES: I’m really looking forward to everyone being in the same place, all the artists I’ve played with over the last year, congregating on the same site. Citadel Festival is going to be great, because Ben Howard is one of my favourite artists at the moment, Bombay Bicycle Club I’ve never seen live, and it’s in London too. It’s just really exciting.
RHODES new EP, ‘Turning Back Around’, is available to download now.