Rock Sound talks to the Kids In Glass Houses frontman as the band announce their final tour this October.
This morning the news broke that Kids In Glass Houses were calling time on their eight year journey as a band. Rock Sound, and the rest of the internet, was heartbroken by the news and so we turned to vocalist Aled Phillips for a conversation about the band, saying goodbye and what they leave behind. Have a read...
Does the response to your announcement today make you reconsider what you’ve just said you are going to do?
Says vocalist Aled Phillips: "Kind of but also not. I think some bands can hold on too long and lose something in the process. We always wanted to do it on our own terms and now is just the right time for us."
When did you first know the end was coming?
"The idea was creeping in as we recorded the last album, but the conversation actually came out of someone’s mouth in October last year. We weren’t fully in agreement then but it was getting more of a struggle to be in this band day to day. On New Year's Day I called everyone and said that this year should be our last so we can make the most of it. At that point we were facing a patchwork year and finding it hard to make ends meet and to make this album campaign last for as long as we’d grown accustomed too. Everyone seemed to be in agreement at that point so we started to make plans."
What has today felt like?
"Surreal, the rumours had started flying a couple of weeks ago about this announcement. I don’t know how it got out but whenever people asked us about the future we didn’t really answer the question properly. It was strange but really humbling to see what people have been saying about us. The prevailing sentiment is that we had a big impact, and the fact that we have had the privilege of soundtracking people’s lives for any period of time is amazing. That was the most touching for me, we know what it's like to grow up with a band, to become the other side of that experience is an incredible gift."
At the point when you decide to end a band you are not really thinking about legacy, you are probably more concerned about paying rent next month. It must have been a gift to be reminded of other things that this band has stood for.
"The reality of not knowing about where money is coming from next month or not having more than a three month plan for life has been a constant worry. It was refreshing to be reminded of other stuff. The 'Peace' album campaign has not really felt like a normal campaign, we toured pretty quickly after the record came out and then it’s been radio silence since. It’s easy to fall out of the habit and feel like you are not in a band anymore, some days I just feel like I was bumming around and the older you get the more you feel like you are wasting time. It’s nice to hear that people valued our band so highly, it’s a great reward."
The venue sizes on the October tour point to a fond time in the band's history, was that intentional?
"It was quite a weird one as we had a few options for how we would deal with it. We could have done ten dates in big cities but we chose to play as many shows in mid-range venues as we could. Those were the kind of shows we played when we were riding the hype and I think those were the places people fell in love with us. I think something got lost in translation when we got in the bigger rooms, the charm of how we came across as people and how we delivered music came across better when there were fewer people packed in tighter. It is getting back to that. Even though KOKO is grand, it’s still a vertical wall of people on top of you."
It could have and should have been different for this band, looking back at it now would you have changed anything?
"In business terms, if we were trying to continue the experience of success then we should have taken longer to write our third album and emerged with something that sounded more like our fourth album, more in keeping with what people expected of us. But that wasn't really us, we were always trying to prove something to ourselves and I think that was admirable. We always stuck to our guns even though 'In Gold Blood’ was not the brightest thing to do career-wise. But ambition and ideas are important, as a band you can only give it your best shot and you hope people come with you, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t."
What do you see yourself doing from Halloween onwards?
" Predominantly I’m going to focus art and design, which is what I was torn away from to do this band. I’m doing some stuff with Ben [Griffiths] from Save Your Breath. I’m probably still going to do music in some capacity. I don’t think I’d ever stray away from something creative, as long as I’m making something, that’s when I’m happiest. Fingers crossed that can pay the bills."
Are you the only band playing the final dates?
" Save Your Breath are coming out with us, they did our first really big tour and we wanted the shows to feel homely and to be with friends on our last dates. It was one of the most fun times we had on tour so we're going for nostalgia on this one."
Another point of confusion, are you playing your first two records and then the hits or is the order of the set different?
"We’re not trying to play two records back to back and then start playing songs from the last two albums, I think there has been some confusion on that today. The set will be littered with songs the first two albums, and to be honest that’s how it has been for the last two years anyway."
So you’re not doing a Prince?
"I don’t think anyone wants that."
What do you hope fans remember about your band and what do you hope other musicians will take from your career?
" I hope we are remembered as a live band more than anything. We always wanted people to come away from our shows feeling like they had been totally entertained. I think predominantly people will remember us for our first two albums judging by the comments online today, to be truthful I’m happy to be remembered by one person for one song. That achievement would have been trophy enough for me, so all this is extra.
As far as bands, without wanting to sound big headed, we had quite a big influence on the what you see in modern rock, we paved the way for some to come through after us. Mallory Knox have openly said today that we had a huge impact on them and it's amazing to have inspired anyone, whether they are in a band yet or not. It was an amazing career, whether we made money or not, it’s been an extremely gratifying thing. One we will not forget."
The Kids In Glass Houses Farewell Tour dates are as follows. Do. Not. Miss. Them.
05 - PLYMOUTH White Rabbit
06 - EXETER Pheonix
07 - PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
09 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
10 - LIVERPOOL Academy II
11 - MANCHESTER Gorilla
12 - SHEFFIELD Corporation
14 - LEEDS Cockpit
15 - ABERDEEN Tunnels
16 - GLASGOW Garage
17 - CARLISLE Brickyard
18 - NEWCASTLE Academy II
20 - BIRMINGHAM Institute
21 - COLCHESTER Arts Centre
23 - NORWICH Waterfront
24 - BATH Komedia
25 - GLOUCESTER Guildhall
26 - OXFORD Academy II
27 - READING Sub 89
29 - LONDON Koko
31 - CARDIFF Great Hall