Picture: John Barwood

Bristol based five-piece The Lasting Days are one to keep an eye and ear out for this year. The alt-indie rock band features male and female harmonies, violins, synths and ‘organic vibes’ .

Their music has been used on TV series ‘Departures’ and they have just released their first album. On behalf of Westworld, Jenny Pearce spoke to Rich Smith (vocals/guitar/violin), Sarah Proudfoot (Backing vocals/piano/violin), Huw Jones (Guitar/Mandolin/Backing Vocals), Rich Riley (Bass) and Pete Beddoes (Drums) about their music and hopes for the year ahead.

Can you give us a simple description of The Lasting Days?

We’re a five piece and with a kind of alt-americana/indie-rock vibe that features male-female harmonies and often violins and synths too. Our music ranges from quiet acoustic tracks through to full-blown post-rock type stuff.

You got together back in 2007, how did it happen?

We were each playing at various open-mic and house parties in Exeter whilst we were at University there, but never got together as a complete band. It was only when we all ended up in Bristol a few years later that we wondered ‘why have we never formed a band together?’, so we did.

Did any of you study at UWE? What did you study?

None of us were UWE students but we have lots of friends in Bristol who are. Between us degrees range from English to Computer Science!

How do you feel about the education cuts?

S.P. I actually work at UWE at the moment. I think that there should be fair access to education and it would be sad if all these changes and cuts meant that people missed out or were put off.

Who writes the songs?

Rich Smith (our leader).

When you are writing what comes first, or does it differ every time?

Music tends to come first, then lyrics. When we play as a band things tend to get mixed up and improved. There is always a degree of collaboration. Some songs seem to write themselves, whilst others take a little longer to get just right.

What are the main inspirations for your songs?

The main inspirations are people we know and places we’ve been.

You’ve just released your first album. What are your hopes for the record?

We are really proud of this record, it was a real DIY effort with half recorded in studios and then lots of nights spent building make-shift studios in our flat. This has given it has a really organic vibe, whilst still having good production values. In fact some of it was also recorded at UWE and UWE students helped to record and produce it.

You can check out our website or Spotify… or buy it at Rise Records in Clifton. We would love as many people to hear it as possible – hopefully it will be a real stepping stone for us.

What’s your favourite track on the record?

We’re proud of them all but it’s got to be Little Silver and the closing track Lenador (one of the tracks that we recorded at UWE).

How did you get your music on Departures?

They contacted the label because they really liked the track. It’s a really cool show about some guys who go travelling around the world and our track was used to close the Rwanda episode. We’re excited as it has just had a DVD release. You can see a live version of the track on our website.

Where did you celebrate the new year and what do you hope it brings?

We were involved with a massive-house-party-jam in Bristol which has become a bit of a tradition for the band (and the neighbours).

We want to play as many festivals and gigs as possible and get the album out there. We’ll also start recording material that we are writing at the moment. We’re also going to make some music videos. It’s a lot of hard work sometimes but it’s so much fun.

Do you have any favourite bars in Bristol?

Mr Wolf’s is definitely a favourite, and also The Old Duke for the music. Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft is always good for a night out. We all live really close together round there so it’s where we normally hang out.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIZWIEQGv04[/youtube]What is your favourite venue to play?

In Bristol we love Mr Wolf’s. It has a great sound and great atmosphere and Mr Wolf has been really supportive of us, as well as loads of other local bands over the years. Definitely come and see us there if you get the chance. There is also a great little festival called Campfest out in the Brecon Beacons that we play each Summer. Epic fun.

Where is the weirdest place that you played?

Anyone in a band knows that you end up playing some weird places. We’ve played a bird sanctuary, and some very dodgy pubs. Earlier this year we even ended up supporting Chesney Hawkes at Exeter Uni. A fun but pretty surreal experience!

Have you anything to add?

Come to The Croft on the 4th of Feb (our first gig of the year and a great local venue) and then Punk in Soho London on the 17th Feb. We’ve also agreed to play at a very large festival in the summer, but we’re not allowed to say which one yet.