We've still got a lot left in the tank
The very driven Courteneers are coming back to Leicester and its ‘amazing’ crowd. Gemma Peplow talks to frontman Liam about fans and fame.
While most bands will always tells us how excited they are about coming to play in little old Leicester, The Week can tell Courteeners frontman Liam Fray genuinely means it when he speaks about his love for the city.
“Last time we played Leicester we got a fantastic response, literally, the walls were coming off,” he says. “It was the first night of our tour and it really sent us on our way. It was a very nice feeling, so thank you, Leicester. It was amazing.”
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So there you go, Courteeners fans here in Leicester. You made a good impression – just make sure you live up to it next week, yeah?
“I think there will be a lot of chopping and changing with this tour, seeing what works,” says Liam. “We’re always a bit surprised by the number of people coming to several shows.
“We toured with Morrissey a few years ago and there were people who would take six weeks off and go to every show. I’ve been doing acoustic shows as well, and I can’t hear what I’m doing because of the noise.
“This is going to sound quite arrogant – here’s your sound bite – but other people don’t get that, and I know because I go and watch bands all the time. I don’t know whether it’s the rapport, the relationship with the lyrics or whether people just see four normal lads who’ve worked hard and did well. Are still doing well – we’ve still got a lot left in the tank, hopefully.”
The Mancunian indie rockers are back on the road for their biggest UK tour to date, following the release of their third album, ANNA, which peaked at number six.
“Not bad that, when you consider the likes of Emeli Sande, Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard and Jake Bugg have been hogging the top 10 spaces for yonks. An album release is always exciting and I think it’s a lot more prevalent now with Twitter and stuff, you get instant feedback, I suppose. I use Twitter quite a lot, I think it’s an interesting tool.”
At the time of our interview, the album had just been released and was number one in the midweek chart. “So there’s a big smile on this face,” Liam said. “Although it’ll probably be number 38 by the end of the week, once everyone’s been to Tesco to buy Les Mis and Fleetwood Mac.
“For smaller bands like us, mainstream chart success doesn’t happen so for it to be anywhere near the top 10 is an amazing testament to the people who’ve bought it.”
And to the band as well, of course.
“Well, yeah, we’ve done our job. You always want what you create to do well, whether that’s numerically or critically. I was pleased with it. We know it’s the best we could do.
“We took our time with it. You know at school, when you do your homework the night before and think ‘if only I’d had another day’. Well, it was never rushed. We worked hard and we worked long and I’m very happy with the results.”
Their work ethic and hunger for success is something Liam will never apologise for. “Some magazines will talk about how driven we are (as if it’s a bad thing) and that’s absolute nonsense. It’s great to have ambition; if you haven’t got ambition then don’t bother. Why would you create something and not be bothered about it doing well?
“We want as many people as possible to hear our songs. I hate that ambition is sneered at. But this is the only thing we’ve got. This band is everything to us.
“It sometimes feels like if you come from humble beginnings and say you want to do well, people want to put a negative spin on it.
“But we know there’s a groundswell of support from fans.”
The Courteeners are on at the O2 Academy on Monday.