Rave reviews are par for the course
The Week is feeling under a bit of pressure. Mark Huckridge, guitarist and keyboard player with experimental rock-electro four-piece Gallops, is telling us about a very cool interview they did not so long ago atop the Great Wall of China and, well, we really can't compete with that, can we?
We don't quite have the funds to whisk ourselves off to exotic locations for our interviews – despite our protests with the top dogs here at The Week HQ – so we're having to settle for a chat over the phone.
We think it's okay. Despite receiving rave reviews for their debut album, Yours Sincerely, Dr Hardcore, which was released in December, and having toured all over the world in the past year or so, Gallops aren't going all diva-ish on us just yet.
"We got together in 2007 and we're based in Wrexham, north Wales," says Mark, politely introducing the band. "We all met through mutual friends and being part of the music scene in Wrexham. We just decided that we'd like to start a band together and it took off from there.
"We play quite experimental music, really, a bit of a mixture of rock music with electronic music and sort of soundtrack. To be honest, I think we've ended up with quite a unique sound because the different members of the band are all into different things."
The album was released on London DIY label Blood and Biscuits last month. The result of years of hard work, the band waited eagerly to see how it would go down.
"We've had a lot of good reviews for the album, on the BBC website, Q magazine and popular blogs on the internet," says Mark. "It's been getting 8/10, 9/10 reviews so there's been a really good response, better than we could have expected.
"It's taken us perhaps a bit longer than your average band to put it out but it's been worth taking the time over.
"We all work normal jobs, so there was not as much time as we would have liked to spend on it but we've got here.
"Our style of music is quite complex. There's quite a lot of different elements going on so it takes a bit longer to write a song than, say, a three-minute pop song. One of us might have a riff idea, maybe a melody, and we'll all work together to get it together as a song and we'll put in our own little bits.
"There's no one main songwriter. This album's got bits of everyone. Sometimes some of us will think our ideas are better than everyone else's but we're all pretty open-minded and we all have a fairly similar vision."
Since the release of their self-titled EP in 2009, Gallops have been busy, especially so in the past two years.
They played SXSW festival in America in 2011 and have toured all over Japan and Europe, with their own headline dates as well as shows supporting the likes of Deerhunter, Maps and Atlases, Battles and 65 Days of Static.
"I think people are really starting to get what we're doing now, we seem to be getting a worldwide fanbase and it shows from the sorts of gigs we're being offered," says Mark. "There seemed to be quite a lot of hype around the album as well. People were waiting for it, which was really nice.
"We're getting to see the world and play our music, and there's no better way to do it."
Now they're looking forward to their biggest UK tour to date.
"It's definitely the one with the biggest profile," says Mark. "I think we're quite an intense sort of live band. We're quite loud and I think if you've only heard us on record you might be surprised at how intense our music can be live. And that's not just something we think, it's been remarked on in reviews.
"I'd probably say the highlight of us being together as a band is touring. When we went to China we filmed a documentary for the British Arts Council and they were taking us to all these major landmarks and we all got to go to the Great Wall of China. Being up there and doing an interview, I just couldn't believe it.
"We're playing Europe in March and April and then going to South East Asia, so we're really looking forward to that."
Gallops play at Firebug, Millstone Lane, Leicester, on Wednesday, February 13. Tickets are £6.