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Saturday, 13 February 2016
Little Man Tate at Leeds Festival 2007
John and Maz from the band chatted with us about performing on the main stage and how far they've come since performing in the tents last year.
You performed at Reading yesterday and hit the main stage at Leeds here today, how was that?
Jon: I haven’t heard that word in ages...incredible! Nah, it was very good. Bang on.
What’s it like coming back here this year and being almost Leeds Festival veterans?
Maz: Totally different because we were in the Carling tent last year. If you’re in one of them it almost just feels like a normal gig, albeit in a tent. But this year being on the main stage it was a whole different ball game. I was so nervous. Because you play in daylight and you can see everyone.
Jon: I was too. And we weren’t absolutely wankered either. It was rate bad at first, he [Maz] was throwing up this morning just outside the bus. I came out the shower was like “where’s Maz?” He was like “bleeuuurrghhh...”
You travelled from Reading last night on your tour bus. How are you finding life practically living on a bus?
Jon: It’s great, travelling in a smaller bus and sleeping in a hotel. You wake up and you’re in a different place. It just makes it so much easier. You get to see a bit more of the places that you’ve played. ‘Cos we’re very cultured...
Maz: Culture vultures!
And you’ve been doing this for quite a while now. How does it affect things spending so much time away from your friends and family?
Maz: It’s good. When you come off tour it’s like, not in a cheesey way, but “oh I haven’t seen so-and-so for a month” or whatever. Over the summer we’ve not been very busy so we’ve had quite a lot of time off. You soon get brought back down to earth when you’re with your mates. It’s like “Ohh, have you heard that new song we’ve written?” And they’re like “Yeah, it’s shit!”
Jon: We do! Honestly, his mate...they keep us very grounded, don’t they? They’re like “Alright, knob head – you’re on telly!” We’re like “Cheers, mate. Ta!” His [Maz’s] mate Jonny saw us on Popworld – we were on Popworld once. We got the girl Alexa though, thankfully.
You supported the Stereophonics earlier this year in Blackpool. What’s it like going from being an unsigned to something as big as this?
Maz: I think in a weird way we are virtually unknown at the minute. If we’d have done the Carling tent this year it would have been mad. But as soon as we hit the main stage I bet there were loads of people out there who didn’t really know who we were. We’re still getting there, I don’t think we’ve reached our potential yet.
What would you prefer at a festival: performing to a lot of people who know your music and really love it; or a whole bunch of new people who you can share your music with?
Jon: No, we want the ego boost!
Maz: You can’t argue with that. Me and him [Jon] were sat in a pub in London and Barney [manager] texted us and was like, “How do you feel about playing the main stage at Leeds and Reading this year?
Jon: Well, we got a choice: high up on a tent or the main stage. And we were like...well you never know when it’s going to end. We could have been really high up in one of the tents, but Main Stage...what have we got to lose?
Last night the Klaxons performed the NME tent, and people were crashing over the barriers. How did today’s set compare to that?
Maz: We got that last year.
Jon: I think we got that this year, to be fair. I mean, during the last song there were more people crowd-surfing and coming over the tent that what I’ve ever seen at one of our gigs before. Last year in the Carling tent that happened for us. We had people outside the tent, people crowd-surfing and going mental. But it kinda got lost; people forgot about that. But then you hear people saying “such-and-such played in the tent and it went mental” and it gets shit loads of press and that. Yet we did it and it didn’t get...you know. We’re kind of at the point now where we deserve to have more credit than what we get. We don’t want to be just a band. We want to be the biggest band in the world. If we didn’t think that then there’d be no point being in a band.
Jon: We’ve had that much shit at times that we thought "let’s just prove some people wrong."
Maz: It’s changed now.
Jon: We don’t want to be the biggest band in the world because we want an ego boost or we want shit loads of money. We want to prove to everybody that we can do it. That we’re good enough and we can be fucking Oasis.
Maz: Yeah, definitely.
Jon: It’s us and the people who give a shit about us, and that’s why we’re in a band. Not for all the knob heads that slate us.
You say you wanted to be the biggest band, but we met last year at a much smaller venue: the Marcus Garvey Ballroom in Nottingham. Have your aspirations changed since then?
Maz: Yeah, ‘cos we’ve got it now. We’ve worked all of our lives to be able to play in like...Manchester to a thousand people. And we never thought we’d ever get it. But we got it! And it’s like, “right, we’re here now; let’s not throw it away”. Let’s not try and be just the usual run-of-the-mill indie band, and aim for something higher. If you’re not aiming for something then what’s the point of being in a band?
Jon: We’re not gonna be a Thirteen Senses, or the Thrills. We’re not going to be one of those bands who just pop up and disappear. This time when we met last year I was saying we were just happy for everything we’ve got. Which we are, but we’ve got that pissed off lately with people not giving us the credit that we think we deserve as songwriters and as a band. You know, we’ve not had that. We don’t need comparing [with other bands], we just need to be Little Man Tate.
There are a lot of very successful bands here from Sheffield this weekend: the Pigeon Detectives are performing this weekend too. What do you think makes Sheffield such a hotbed for new talent?
Jon: Little Man Tate. I think we kicked it all off.
Maz: Nah, it’s all over the country, isn’t it. Guitar music is everywhere, it’s not just Sheffield.
Jon: But all the bands that have been signed from Sheffield are good. You might not get along with everybody and like everybody or whatever, but they are all good. But for every band that’s signed there are another two or three from Sheffield or wherever else that are just as good, if not better. You’ve got to have that bit of luck. We’ve had the luck to get us here, and now we need a little bit more luck to get us, you know...
What advice would you give to those unsigned bands in Sheffield and South Yorkshire who want to hit the big time?
Maz: I’d probably say, never turn a gig down and get a good manager!
*Jon and Maz look over to their manager*
Jon: We love our manager. Our manager’s gorgeous. We love him so much!
And what’s coming up from you guys in the next couple of months? What can we expect?
Maz: Next week we’re playing Jersey Live Festival. That should be good. Then the big one’s 15th December at the Empress Ballroom. I think we’re obviously going to be doing stuff between now and then, but that’s what we’re aiming for.
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