‘Fat blokes in suits’ who love to get heavy on stage

Young Knives
Young Knives
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‘We’re fat blokes dressed in office clothes’. Not perhaps the sexiest tag for a band but then again Young Knives aren’t your average band.

Together since 1998, and hitting the big-time nationally around 2005 with the release of The Decision, the trio are one of the more interesting groups on the scene.

They are also among the most disarmingly honest.

“I think a few years ago there was a spell when we went a bit rubbish,” says frontman Henry Dartnall.

“But luckily I think we realised it was a bit rubbish and came back from it.”

At another point in the interview he says, “We had a bit of a lull with our last album. It was probably a bit of a miss. That was disappointing, but I wasn’t going to stop making music just because we did a bad one”.

It’s hard not to like someone with that kind of honest and self-deprecating outlook.

Young Knives have never been a huge band in terms of commercial success, but they have consistently made good records over the last decade (2006 album Voices of Animals and Men was nominated for the Mercury Music prize) and have a solid fan base throughout Europe.

There is a chance for fans in this area to see them when they play 53 Degrees in Preston on Sunday.

Unfortunately they aren’t coming to Blackpool, though it’s about time they did. “It’s really weird but we’ve never played a gig there,” said Henry.

“I don’t know why, it just hasn’t come up, and it’s a shame because I’ve got a soft spot for Blackpool.

“My uncle lived in a slightly grotty basement on the front and I would go and stay with him quite often.

“It smelt of damp but that didn’t really matter because you could walk out of his house and go to the pier or wander on the beach and try and catch a seagull. I never did...

“I’ll have to go there before we play the Preston gig and have a look around, maybe check out a venue we can come and play at.”

The band believe they are back on track after a couple of years where they found themselves pressured into trying to deliver hits.

“Every manager you work with isn’t really interested in anything other than shifting 300,000 records and pushing you as far as they can towards playing stadiums because that makes more money,” Henry added.

“So we had to just get rid of all that really. We’re not very good at making music under pressure – it tends to stop you in your tracks.”

I ask what those venturing to Sunday’s gig, who haven’t seen Young Knives before, can expect?

“We walk on stage and people are like ‘who are these fat blokes dressed in office clothes?’ But that’s deliberate, like a false start, so what follows has more impact,” Henry said.

“I like being in a rock band so I like our shows to be loud and heavy and exciting and full of emotion. Basically if I’m not bleeding by the end of a show it’s not been a good one. I like at least one new gash to appear in the palm of my hand.”

Doors open at 7.30pm at 53 Degrees on Sunday. Tickets from www.53degrees.net are £10.