The 22nd of January 2007: an iconic date in The View’s calendar which saw the general release of the chart-topping and platinum-selling debut album, ‘Hats off to the Buskers’. Ten years on and a total of five albums released, The View embark on the 10th year anniversary tour giving their fans what they want with a set of the UK number 1 album ‘Hats Off to the Buskers’ played back to front. We caught up with Kyle before their sold out Sheffield date at The Foundry and spoke about everything from how the band have battled the struggles of success and kept together for so long, to Kyle’s upcoming solo album.
Do you think the music industry has changed since you released ‘Hats off to the Buskers’ ten years ago, and if so, how?
We were on a major record label back in the day so it has changed for us. We don’t get as much attention. We do a lot of stuff ourselves so we’ve got a lot of freedom and that. But there were a lot of guitar bands and the radio was dominated by bands like that – you don’t really hear them anymore.
Do you think it’s harder for new bands to break through now compared to when you started?
I don’t know. If I knew what I know now back in the day I think we could have made it a lot better for ourselves like if we had a hindsight I definitely would’ve taken fewer drugs.
Where do you get your inspiration from for ‘Hats Off to the Buskers? For me personally – when I first got that album – the songs ‘Skag Trendy’ and ‘The Don’ for me were all about growing up.
At the time it was about breaking away from the norm. We all had different trades: I was a bricklayer, Kieron was a Civil Engineer, Steven was a butcher and Pete was a joiner. We all gave up at the same time. When we were rehearsing, we used to rehearse at a place called The Bay View and all the workers used to laugh at us when we had the guitars on. That’s when Kieron wrote ‘Superstar Tradesman’. He started coming up with a tune, and we gave our jobs up there and then. There’s a lot of bands nowadays who are not willing to do that because they’re so scared about what could happen and that’s what keeps you trapped in the norm, doing a normal job, but we were like fuck it! We only had like four songs but we knew we were good so we thought ‘Let’s go for it.’ We were rehearsing every day and we lived with each other. So, when we did a gig, people were like ‘How’d you get that good?’ It was just down to rehearsing and really writing a lot. There are a few bands that I know that have not even pressed their album yet but they’ve had it for the last three years or something and been touring but just playing the same songs over and over. If you’ve got something there, you should get it done, go away and finish it, lock yourself away and write it. I don’t think people even do that anymore they just expect it to happen. We got on tour with ‘Babyshambles’ because we knocked on the door of the bus and gave Pete a CD and it was like ‘Oh my god, I wonder what it’s like on that tour bus!’ Now people give them to us and even though some of them might be shit we still listen to them.
How has the reaction from the fans been on the anniversary tour?
It’s been great, this is meant to be the smaller part of the tour but we’ve upgraded and we did Wales the other night. It was the biggest venue we’ve ever done in Wales, even when we were top of the charts we would only do a two-hundred capacity and now we’ve done six-hundred at this venue. The other night in Wales it was like starting again. It’s funny because you see the dads or the mums, who came to see us the first time around, who have brought their daughters, so it’s like the younger generation – you’ve got to keep coming up with some new shit.
Kyle playing with The View at The Foundry last Sunday in Sheffield.
Which tour in your career stands out the most in your mind?
I don’t know. There’s been tours where we’ve had two buses and security and being young you don’t realise how much that costs, you just think that these people are just here to do you a favour but it’s like £250 for personal security. I didn’t think we needed it but at the time, but if we didn’t have it we would have probably got filled in! I just never knew it was that much, I thought they were going on tour with us. I remember being in Manchester and this security guy comes down and works with us for the day and because he is my pal it used to be great, like ‘no one’s gonna touch me’. In the old days when we had catering, it was like upgrading but because we were so fucked up back in the day there were shows cancelled left, right and centre. Now I see it’s not fair, you’re playing academies, big venues and sometimes playing to five thousand people. We did a show in Austria and we had a day off at a snow bombing festival. I had to go on stage and I hadn’t slept and I fainted on stage. I like what we’re doing now because everyone has got a level head and now nobody is arguing. It’s like we’re just pals again and it’s what it was like before we had money. We couldn’t buy loads of alcohol and drugs. A while ago there was at least one person fucking up in the band but we’re all solid now, well up to now. Touch wood. Looking at even the lights we’ve got on the show tonight, I think why the fuck didn’t we use them before? We had money for security guards but no cool lights, and it makes such a difference. Now we’ve stopped bevvying for a bit, we start to think how to make the show better.
How have things changed now? Have any of you settled down?
Yeah, we’ve just had a baby. I’ve got a mortgage, Low has two kids but still, it’s not really ‘settled down’. I moved back to Dundee about a year and a half ago. I was always moving about – London, Liverpool and Spain. I’ve always been unsettled but I think that’s what was making me unsettled because I was never settled. I never had a place to hang my hat so now I’m getting my arse in gear.
How do you think the music scene has been affected now ‘T in the Park’ has finished?
Well, it’s like people who don’t really like music go because it’s just a great weekend. There are a few festivals in Scotland but they are hard to get to. It’s not like in England – like in Liverpool you get them in the city centre. We never get anything.
A lot of musicians are opening up about mental health and addiction. It’s known that you suffer from panic attacks and addiction – do you think being a creative person contributes to this?
It does, but you kind of feel that you’re allowed to take drugs and drink because you’re an artist – to an extent it is mental, so you need a drink. I never realised for years (liquor was my thing) and for a while, I couldn’t get out of bed without having a drink or with writing, I’d need a drink. It’s just a vicious circle so eventually, you’ve got to break the mould. It’s hard being in a band because every time you go to the toilet people always follow you in and offer you a line and I’m like – ‘Read the papers I’m off it!’ but people are still like ‘Oh come on!’ It’s mental because [I have to think] do I just not go in there because of people? That was half the battle, meeting people without having to be shit-faced all the time. I’ll have a beer but then that’s it, I don’t want it. I can’t drink anymore and I think a lot of people in bands are like that. With some of the bands, I’ve toured with I always get attached to the lead singers. I feel connected and in a safe haven and we will just get fucked up together. But then there’s Thomas from The Blinders – he’s so switched on compared to what I was like when I was twenty. I was just pure like led astray. It’s just great seeing someone go absolutely mental on stage with the face paint and top off just like yeah! I used to have to get plastered before I could go on stage back in the day and forget the words, fall on stage and fall off, so it’s just great seeing that confidence on stage. They’re a proper good band that are switched on. We had a big entourage with us and part of being into The View was getting fucked up and everyone knew that so everyone came to do that. When we tried to do acoustic stuff it was just impossible. We were like, ‘We are trying to show you our softer side,’ but it was just impossible, they just went nuts and were speaking over it.
Kyle took a CD to help Northern Exposure raise money for charity Help Musicians UK
I’ve read that you like musicals and ABBA, do either of these have an impact on The View’s music?
ABBA, yeah, because my sisters used to listen to them when I was younger and I like all the harmonies. When I go to do my harmonies I think, ‘What would ABBA do?’ With musicals, there are a few bits – like at the start of ‘Give Back the Sun’, one of the songs on the second album. The start of it is a ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ kind of thing. I was actually meant to be in a production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in September but I’m doing a solo album. That was the plan, I was playing Judas in it, I went to a couple of rehearsals but it fell through.
Lots of bands come and go so… what’s the secret of being together for this long?
Well, we had the same nursery, primary school and high school and we lived next door to each other. We’ve been in the biggest fights ever, we knock the fuck out of each other, then shake it off like men. There’s a few bands that I’ve heard of that got signed, got loads of money then got dropped. For us being on Columbia and then on the flip-side like where we’re not on a major label no more – it was like a kick in the teeth. We never got taxis delivered to our door no more and no tequila bottles sent for you with flowers on your birthday, nobody cares for you. You’ve got to do it yourself, so it was a bit scary. When we got dropped off the major [label] it was a bit of a reality check and a bit shit and we needed to keep in the band. We gave up our trades, so if we give up on the music it goes against everything we stand for. We’ve got to make an album to keep the money coming in.
Your last release was ‘Rope Walk’. Are there any plans for new music?
Well, I’m doing a solo album, recording it in June in Paul Weller’s studio in Surrey. It’s self-produced: we’ve got an engineer and my brother’s playing bass. Billy Mitchell playing guitar, not Billy from EastEnders (!), there’s another Billy Mitchell and we’ve got a new drummer so it’s all good. I’ve got a few shows coming up, a couple of spot shows in Scotland. I’m in the studio but I’ve not really rehearsed with the band, I’ve got all the songs demoed so I’m ready to go but just getting hold on a new band. It’s weird because I love The View and with the new bands it’s like – What if we don’t get on and they’re nutters?! But my brother’s there and he comes on tour anyway. Me and my brother can bicker like old school and punch each other but we can’t be doing that on tour.
Where is the best Geographical location for a gig – North or South?
The North definitely but Glastonbury is south. Glastonbury is good because it has a good vibe but the North is the best and everyone knows that. It’s just standard, isn’t it?
Who had a ‘Face for the Radio’?
My pal Clarky – he’s one of those people who would pick up the ball when playing football and say ‘It’s my ball. I’m going home.’ We used to go camping and he used to get on the train at stupid-o’clock in the morning because he was too cold. He always had cash as he was the first person that worked. He hates it [the song ‘Face for Radio’]. He says ‘It’s not me with the face for the radio!’ and I’m like ‘It is mate.’ He hates me going on about it.
Which sets have you got planned for the festivals, is it the same as the ‘Hats Off’ tour?
We’re doing the ‘Hats Off’ thing for all the festivals, we’ve got like seven booked. We’re still waiting on Reading and Leeds and waiting to hear back from Glastonbury.
NEW TOUR DATES: http://bit.ly/TheViewAreOnTour