30 seconds interview: The RPMs

The RPMs

Brighton bunch The RPMs are back with new single, Your Ghost – a soaring indie tune that has ‘festival hit’ written all over it.

Out on 16 March via Xtra Mile Recordings, the catchy keyboard-led track coincides with the band’s debut SXSW gigs in Austin, Texas, where they play the prestigious British Music Embassy showcase that same day.

Formed in Dorset by childhood friends Jack Valero (lead vocals, guitar) and Callum James, (drums and backing vocals), the band moved to Brighton and haven’t looked back since. Festival appearances at Glastonbury, Isle Of Wight and Camden Rocks have cemented their energetic live set, while the likes of BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio X have been all over their nineties-tinged sonics.

Now a five-piece for maxed-out live effect, they’ve been working with producer Gethin Pearson (Mallory Knox/Charli XCX) to hone their ambitious sound.

With loads in store post-Austin, we caught up with Jack for a SXSW-themed edition of 30 seconds….

What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
Baba O’Riley by The Who.

What’s the first gig you went to?
Would’ve been something at Glastonbury when I was a baby! Did my first one at six months old and never missed one since.

What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
Guitar of course! But then didn’t pick it up again for many years. Went through a piano phase, a violin phase (not sure what happened there) and then finally mastered guitar when I was 14.

What is your worst musical habit?
Playing when people are trying to talk to you. But I think all musicians have that to a degree. Even worse if you’re a drummer!

What’s your favourite venue?
Oh that’s a very hard question to answer. I don’t know if you can ever have only one favourite. Also depends if you mean fave one to gig in, or watch a gig in? I think one of our favourites to play is Concorde 2 in our home town of Brighton. Really big long room so the sound is great all the way to the back. Plus the backstage security guy is awesome.

What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
Everything! You take inspiration from everything around you. World events, personal situations/experiences, other people’s situations/experiences.

What track of yours best represents your sound?
At the moment it’s definitely our new single Your Ghost. We’ve been working with a new producer Gethin Pearson, which has been very liberating as he’s allowed us to follow our instincts and skip off down the rabbit hole with our ideas, style and sound and explore a bigger and more contemporary soundscape.

You’re off to SXSW next week – what are you most excited about?
You mean apart from the shows we’re playing?! Really looking forward to getting to play in front of Americans for the first time and a full on international crowd, plus randomly discovering some amazing new bands from other countries that we’d probably never get to see otherwise and diving into the sheer crazy chaos of it all. There’s a ton of bands we wanna go see as well: Pale Waves, Frank Turner, Superorganism, Bang Bang Romeo, Gaz Coombes, Girl Ray, Our Girl, Public Access TV, Shame, Catholic Action, Strypes. Also, excited to see some of our fellow bands like Yonaka and Himalayas. We’ve all met before at various gigs and they’re a great bunch of people and we’ve all been talking about meeting up over there for a drink and hang out! And of course go see the bats at dusk from Congress Bridge…it has to be done! Can’t wait ?

What’s on your SXSW shopping list?
Probably whatever our girlfriends’/mums’ want us to bring back! And we’ll have to resist the massive temptation to mysteriously come back with one or two more guitars than we went over with…

What will be soundtracking your long flight over there?
Haha! We’ve actually all discussed this and I’ve had mine planned for years now. It will be Baba O’Riley on take off (the trick is to time the vocals coming in when the wheels lift off the tarmac) and then Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen on landing. Cannot wait to be coming in over that Texan landscape with Springsteen blasting through my headphones!

What are you planning for the rest of 2018
Gigs, gigs and more gigs with two more single releases thrown in for summer and autumn. Got a lot of festivals lined up and a load of new material to get out there too, so keep an eye on us ‘cos we’re gonna be busy!



16 March – British Music Embassy Showcase, SXSW
17 March – Artist Group International/Xtra Mile Recordings Showcase, SXSW
31 March – Stockton Calling Festival
14 April – When In Manchester Festival
03 May – Lincoln Engine Shed – BBC Intro ‘Plugged’ night
05 May – Live At Leeds
06 May – Liverpool Sound City
14 May – Frank Turner Lost Evenings Xtra Mile Festival, The Roundhouse, London
26 May – Bearded Theory Festival
04 August – LeeFest Neverworld