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EXCLUSIVE | We Are Augustines Interview

The heartfelt rockers talk touring and chariots…

Brooklyn-based trio We Are Augustines were formed out of the ashes of the band Pela, and released their highly acclaimed debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships in 2011.

The band have spent the last year touring relentlessly, and have built up  a loyal following thanks to their impassioned live shows.

We caught up with singer and guitarist Billy McCarthy and drummer Rob Allen to find out about life on the road... and rock and roll chariot racing.

The songs on Rise Ye Sunken Ships covered some dark areas lyrically, yet live they can seem more optimistic, celebratory even, with a real sense of inclusion between band and audience. Has your relationship with these songs changed since you started touring them?
Rob - The songs are about topics that happened over a period of time. They have a lot of meaning to us, especially Bill and that won't change, but, if anything, we are living proof that things can get better, opportunities can come your way and that is worth celebrating! We are jovial, energetic people who want to enjoy life and I think that's what you see when we perform.
The first time I saw you play live it was like watching Tom Waits fronting the E Street Band and backed by the The Memphis Horns. How would you describe your live show if you were forced to give a snappy sound bite?
Billy - I'd say simply that we are an honest and heartfelt rock and roll band.
You've been touring pretty solidly for the last year, are there any particular highlights that stand out for you?
Rob - There has been so many! I'd have to say the warmth we have received from the UK and Europe in general has been overwhelming. Playing Reading Festival was a great highlight too.
You're about to return to the UK for another run shows, and deservedly playing bigger venues than before. Do you feel any particular affinity with British crowds, especially considering the early support you received in the UK, and of course the fact that Rob is English?
Billy - Rob obviously loves playing in the UK! He gets to play in venues where he watched some of his favourite bands as a child. The UK has been wonderful to us on all levels and for that we are extremely grateful. The folks in the UK just get seem to get what we are doing. The UK crowds shout with us, sing with us and dance with us and that bond is something special.
Your shows are incredibly energetic and rousing, and you really seem to give it your all. Presumably there must be days when you wake up tired and ill and just want a day off - so how do you push yourself to go for it so completely night after night?

Rob - To be honest, we just love what we do. That's it! That and a togetherness is enough to get us through anything.
After your earlier band Pela suffered a series of record label problems you decided to release Rise Ye Sunken Ships via your own Oxcart label. Do you still think this was the right decision, and do you think you'll bring out future releases this way?
Billy - Yes definitely the right decision, we are really proud of how everything has gone. We will see how the future goes but for now we feel really happy with everything.
As a band you are very active across sites such as Facebook and Twitter. How important has it been to you to be able to connect with your audience directly like this?
Rob - Social networking allows us to contact, inform and connect with people all across the world in the blink of an eye. It's incredible really. It enables us to spread our music to places that wasn't before possible.
Billy, your lyrics are very descriptive. Have you ever considered writing in another medium, such as books or a screenplay?
Billy - I have actually. I have a few projects that are inspiring, but the road has been #1 this year.
Have you begun work on the next album yet? If so any hints on how it's going, what direction it might take, and when we might get to hear it?
Billy - Yes we have. Very excited. We can promise it will be from the heart - passionate and full of life. Like a furious rock and roll chariot rattling around the bend!

Gavin Cullen
We Are Augustines play the following UK dates:
SUN 30th SEPTEMBER - BRISTOL THEKLA  0845 413 4444
WED 3rd - MANCHESTER HMV RITZ  0845 413 4444
THU 4th - LEEDS COCKPIT  0113 245 5570
FRI 5th - NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY2  0845 413 4444
SUN 7th - GLASGOW ARCHES  0844 847 2487
MON 8th - NOTTINGHAM RESCUE ROOMS  0845 413 4444
TUE 9th - BIRMINGHAM BALLROOM 0844 873 7359
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