By Lucy Harte
Almost four years on from their first EP, Patch & The Giant’s debut album All That We Had, We Stole is finally here. Unknown Magazine speaks to the Alt-Folk quintet about the creative process behind the album, their experiences on the road and what’s next for the band.
How does your debut album differ from your previous EP?
Luke: It’s better. In hindsight, there were a few changes that we would have made with the EP. A few things we would have done differently. Recording is entirely different to playing live. I feel like we’ve learnt from previous mistakes. Gabe: It’s longer, with more songs. Angie: We went into the process with a much stronger idea of who we were and what we wanted. We also told our producer to push us as hard as he wanted to, and this definitely had an effect on what came out; we made quite a few bold choices as a result.
All That We Had, We Stole has certainly been a long time in the making, how does it feel to finally get it out into the world?
Derek: Like un-beaching a whale. Gabe: Positive – it’s been a long journey and I’m pretty happy with the way it sounds. Can’t wait to share it far and wide. Nick: It feels good. I think it’s great to gig songs extensively before putting them down in a recording. This way the songs develop on their own and grow from the energy of the live performances. I’m also glad we captured some of that live energy in the recordings – I hope that comes across. Angie: Like having a child. It feels like the right time, and we’ve given the songs long enough to really gestate. We can be terribly excitable and will often change our minds about songs: structurally, stylistically and the like — so with this record, we really feel we’ve recorded the songs exactly as we want them to be recorded and therefore remembered forever! Luke: A relief. But slightly terrifying.
With a changing line-up there must be a lot of influences coming in, what would you say the main influences were on this album, musical or otherwise?
Luke: People. People that were previously in the band and people that are in the band now. People that we’ve played with and people that we admire. We kind of look at ourselves as musical sponges, hence the title of the album.
You’ve previously stated that the name Patch & The Giant has a “strong theme of story-telling”. Would you say the whole album is interconnected or is each song a separate story?
Luke: There are certain themes that flow throughout, but overall they’re individual songs. When exploring themes or ideas in the past we’ve realised that sometimes one song isn’t enough so it can stretch over 2 or 3. But it’s fun to explore similar themes within separate contexts. Stories are the greatest things we have. We’re just trying to find the most interesting way of telling them.
In the music video for Flowers there’s quite a few shots of the coast, and many songs on the album allude to rivers or the sea; is there a particular reason for all the maritime imagery?
Luke: I grew up on the coast and the sea was just always there. Then I moved to London and it was nowhere to be seen. I guess it’s comforting, a homely thing.
You’ve been touring as Patch & The Giant a few years now, what has been your best and worst experience on the road?
Derek: It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hedging my bets on the album launch being the best, and the worst… Well it’s a toss up between van-come-cabin-fever, or the reality when you think that nothing is real anymore, and that is a very dark place… Gabe: Best experience was chasing Ardal O’Hanlon for a photo at a festival a couple of summers ago. Worst… 6,000 hours of collective hangovers. Nick: I honestly can’t think of any bad experiences on tour, apart from a little snoring here and there. We all get along so well and we all love travelling and playing live, so there’s little that can go wrong. We’ve had some pretty amazing experiences. Touring Italy was a definite highlight. There are too many good times to sum up. Angie: Worst = dislocating my ankle on the first night of our first European tour. Best = the drugs they gave me in the hospital. But also just all of the other times… Playing in the snow at the top of a mountain in France was pretty special. Luke: Leaky tents at festivals can bring you crashing back down to reality.
What’s next for you all after this tour?
Angie: We’ll be taking a few weeks off to sleep and recover and then not long until festivals begin. We’ll also be cracking on with some new material.