Pleasure House – Interview

Tuesday 17th May 2016

Birmingham based band, Pleasure House are currently creating waves with their debut EP ‘Show Your Colours’.  They’ve supported the likes of Prides, Fickle Friends and Blossoms, to name a few, and have also been picked up for airplay and featured in numerous online magazines.  Not wanting to be one to miss a trick, I catch a moment with the band to find out more about them.

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When and how did the band meet, and what made you decide to start Pleasure House?

Alex (singer): Me and James (drummer) have been friends since school, and we were in a band together when we were like 15. I moved to Brighton and spent a few years as a performance artist writing music for theatre and making sound installations, and James had been smashing the local circuit as a session drummer. When I returned to Birmingham we met randomly at a gig he was playing and after consuming a silly amount of tequila we decided to get something going again. We got in touch with Abbas, who at the time was songwriting with urban artists like Knox Brown, Wretch 32, Jacob Banks, and then James met Jon in their local pub. The next day we transformed Abbas’ living room and did not stop playing until the early hours of the morning. Everything just worked – Pleasure House was born.

You’ve just released your new EP ‘Show Your Colours’. How are you finding the reception to the new material?  There seems to be a lot of pleased fans on your social media.

The reception so far has been amazing. We’re on a journey of progression at the moment so it’s awesome that our fans are moving with us. There’s been so much love for the new direction we’ve taken with this EP and we’ve gained so many new fans that we love.

We celebrated with a completely sold out release show in our hometown and the place was just electric. Everybody knew every word, there was a ridiculous stage invasion and I found myself climbing the speakers.

How difficult was it to decide on the tracks that made it on to the EP, and are there any other tracks you would have liked to include?

Because the recording process can sometimes take such a long time, and because we are constantly writing new material, theres always moments when you wish you could put other, possibly fresher tracks into the mix. But it’s good to remember that there’s always time for other releases, maybe an album in the near future. With this EP we’d settled on the 3 tracks and were happy, until we wrote Cyan and we just knew that it had to go on the EP. There’s that moment in the room when everybody just looks at each other like ‘yeah this is the one’. 

Tell me about your writing process, and who you draw inspiration from.  Do you write collectively, and what’s your process?

Generally it will begin with a small idea that I’ve worked on at home, maybe a chorus or a single line or melody. Once I’ve played with it, i’ll try and make it audible for the guys. I used to produce a lot of hip-hop and electronic music before the band, so I’ll usually jump on my laptop and get an mp3 down. Then we’ll meet up in our lockup and we all just jam it together until things start to stick. That’s when the real magic happens because every single member is allowed to sprinkle their individual flavours into the tune and then it becomes Pleasure House. It’s crazy to think but sometime we can finish a tune in less than an hour. I think when you live and breath something together you start to understand each other’s strengths and nuances. Outside the rehearsal room, Jon and James are two naughty best mates at school, so when they play together there’s a telepathic understanding which makes such a tight, explosion of rhythm. 

You got picked up by BBC Introducing.  How was that for you guys, and has it helped with your exposure?

Yeah it’s helped us massively, not only for the exposure but also for the people we’ve met and the things we’ve learned. Being supported in your home county is really quite humbling and the guys at our local station BBC West Midlands have always been so good to us and so supported since day one. 

Who came up with the video idea for your single ‘Cyan’ and who did you work with to create it?

It was a collective thing really. Like the EP content, or the artwork which I painted by hand in my kitchen, we wanted everything to be real and organic. We wanted to shoot a performance video which gave the view a vibe of what we’re like live. There’s a lot of psychedelic, subliminal stock footage which I’ve been collecting since my uni days and it I think there’s lots of different things you can take from the video if you look carefully. We got our close mates Leo and Tom to film us so it came across as natural and raw and then it was painstakingly edited by us all in a room conducted by the main director. It took forever but we’re stoked how it came out. 

Word has it that you’re announcing some UK tour dates soon. Are you able to give us an idea of where we can catch you playing live?

We’ve just announced a couple of dates so far, a massive one in Birmingham with Sundara Karma and in London we’re co-headlining with a wicked band called Marsicans. We’re also super excited to be joining the massive lineup at this summer’s 110 Above Festival, and we’ve just announced our first ever European festival in the Czech Republic which is crazy for us. 

Which tracks get the biggest response from audiences at live shows?

Luckily we have incredible fans who 1) are insane for pretty much every song in our setlist and 2) like to have a drink and thus are more than happy to have a dance. If i’d have to pin the biggest response it’s probably M.O.B, because no one can resist a good singalong. When your fans are louder than you are that’s a pretty special moment. M.O.B always goes off, I guess it just has a certain ingredient that gets you going. 

What other artists are you listening to at the moment, and what was the last album you bought?

The last album I bought was James Blake’s new album and it is truly a divine piece of work. Then when I thought life couldn’t get better Radiohead released their new album. I’ve had them both on repeat for about a week now.

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