4 Feb 2017

Interview: The Pigeon Detectives

From classic indie floor-fillers to the first live airings of the new album, Back To Ours gig-goers are in for a treat.

February’s Back To Ours festival equals a trio of firsts for Yorkshire indie rockers The Pigeon Detectives.

As lead singer Matt Bowman puts it: “It’ll be the first time we’ve played a gig in a shopping centre; the first time we’ve played gigs in schools; and the first time we’ve played a UK City of Culture.”

Tickets to see the band – who made their name in the Noughties with indie anthems from the platinum-selling debut album Wait For Me and its follow-up Emergency – are turning out to be the hottest of the half-term holiday festival.

The good news is more tickets are being released at pop-up box offices to the east, west and north of Hull from 10am today.

And there’s another first in store for lucky music fans who manage to get their hands on tickets – the first live performances of the band’s fifth studio album, Broken Glances.

Matt, for one, can’t wait. “The Hull gigs will be the first time we’ve test-driven the new album,” he says, understandably keen to reassure fans that the songs they know and love will also get an airing. “We’re astutely aware that when you go and watch your favourite band, it can be a turn-off when they just play their new album. So we’ll be trying to showcase the best of the old alongside the new.”

Lose Control has a big driving bass line running through it – if you don’t get up and tap your feet to that, you’re probably dead.
Matt Bowman, lead singer, The Pigeon Detectives

Broken Glances represents a new direction for The Pigeon Detectives, influenced by the involvement of Richard Formby, a producer associated with more leftfield electronic acts such as Ghostpoet and Spaceman 3. He helped the band to test the boundaries of their indie anthem comfort zone. “He wasn’t going to let us take the easy way out,” says Matt, laughing.

“Our influences are older bands such as The Doors, The Beatles, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk … but we are still a guitar band. And there are definitely still some raucous tunes on the new album, such as the current single Enemy Lines.

Lose Control has a big driving bass line running through it – if you don’t get up and tap your feet to that, you’re probably dead. Others, like Falling In Love let the songwriting shine through – it’s just a grand piano and me on vocals.

“At times over the years, our songwriting’s been fairly self-indulgent. This album almost documents the journey. A lot of the new songs are about our fanbase and the people who’ve helped us to get where we are. It’s about them and it’s for them.”

Playing gigs in the heart of communities for Back To Ours is another way of reaching out and thanking fans for their support over the years. On Thursday 23 February, The Pigeon Detectives play North Point Shopping Centre, Bransholme; on Friday 24 February it’s Sirius Academy West, in Anlaby Park Road; and on Saturday 25 February, it’s Preston Road Freedom Centre. After Hull’s shopping centre, school and community centre? A European tour.

This breaks down those barriers and makes the experience of listening to live music more accessible. What’s not to like? We’re fully up for it.
Matt Bowman, lead singer, The Pigeon Detectives

“In the past, we’ve played in an elevator, a swimming baths, a roof of a car park,” says Matt. “Weird and wonderful, quirky venues are not a new concept to us. We know that it captures people’s imagination to see a band in a setting they don’t necessarily expect.

“At the end of the day, not everyone goes to traditional music venues. This breaks down those barriers and makes the experience of listening to live music more accessible. What’s not to like? We’re fully up for it.”

The new Pigeon Detectives album, Broken Glances, is released on Friday 24 February. 

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