Ellen Tout speaks to Kids In Glass Houses about their new music, festivals and how they avoid getting starstruck.
Aled Phillips, Kids In Glass Houses lead singer, runs swiftly up St. Pancras train station escalators, taking two steps at a time. The boys have just finished their Station Sessions set and are a band on the run, this time from a swarm of amorous girls.
Kids In Glass Houses guitarists Iain Mahanty and Joel Fisher seem to take it all in their stride, Joel modestly admitting after the concert, “This only happens at one-off gigs like this, it never happens in our normal lives. It’s a treat. It’s all in the name of fun, it’s definitely a compliment.”
Decidedly down to earth, Iain and Joel let the fame wash over them, even with fans queuing since lunchtime for a prime view of the concert. Undeterred by the commotion of the busy station, the stripped-down, acoustic set highlighted the versatility of the band. From metal-festival Sonisphere, which they played a few weeks prior, to this intimate stage with hardly a whisper of doubt. “Fuck the trains” they add, outplaying the station announcements and passing commuters.
Their set follows a support slot from Spycatcher who belt out an acoustic cover of Ne-Yo‘s ‘Closer‘. Kids In Glass Houses‘ hit-littered set ranges from crowd-pleaser ‘Matters At All‘ to new single ‘Gold Blood‘.
This one-off gig comes as part of the Station Sessions Festival, a six week long celebration of the UK’s emerging musical talent. Previous acts to grace the station platform include Guillemots and Alice Gold, all in support of the Princes Trust. Every show is completely free and takes place in London’s St. Pancras International, running until the end of July.
“We enjoyed the gig, it was really good. Pretty unusual from what we usually do, a lot quieter!” says Iain. “Acoustic shows are always a bit strange. But we had a bit of time to work and play with the new material.
“You get more nervous doing little gigs like this, it’s more intimate and we don’t do it as often. The crowd know if anything goes wrong,” adds Joel.
Their new album, ‘In Gold Blood‘ is set for release on 15 August. Talking about their new music, Iain says: “We tracked it live, so it’s a lot less processed. Recording it was awesome. The sound’s a lot more mature, like every band says, but this definitely is the best material we’ve written.”
Originally from Cardiff, the quintet have become the jewels in the welsh rock crown, supporting a number of big country names along the way. “We’ve been lucky enough to support the Manics, the ‘Phonics and Lostprophets. Most Welsh bands that have been important, we’ve had the privilege of supporting them, so it’s always good to stay supportive as well.”
One way the boys show this support is in curating a stage at Welsh festival, Merthyr Rock. “We thought we’d put a stage together so we asked a bunch of local bands who we are either mates with or who we think are wicked. We also asked Jettblack along who are just fucking class.”
Clearly proud of their Welsh roots, Joel reminisces: “We used to go to local, Cardiff festivals like Compass Point and Cardiff Big Weekend.
“The first real festival we went to was Download when we played it back in 2007. We’d never been to a big festival before. We thought it was amazing, we slept in a van and went up four days before.”
Seasoned names on festival bills from Reading to T in the Park, do the rock starlets still get nervous meeting their musical heroes? “We don’t really get starstruck, it’s difficult to know what to say so we never really go up to people,” says Iain, Joel in agreement.
Having played alongside Biffy Clyro on the Sonisphere bill, Iain adds: “We’ve met Biffy a couple of times. They’ve been around a long time and they’re very appreciative of what they’ve got. They’re grounded boys, they’re really nice.”
But not all bands leave the Kids In Glass Houses boys so unfazed, reveals Iain: “We managed to blag ourselves to watch the Foo Fighters side-stage at T in the Park.
“That was amazing because obviously Dave Grohl has been a massive influence on all of us. That was something special, normally things like that don’t faze or interest us. We just do our own thing.”
And what can we expect from Kids In Glass Houses in the future? “We’ve been lucky to play most of the big venues in the UK. But a support slot at Wembley stadium would be amazing,” says Iain.
As the interview comes to a close the pair remain polite as ever. Even as Iain admits: “I’m not one to bitch, so not naming names but we have met a few bands who’ve let it get to them.” But it’s certain that Kids In Glass Houses‘ name won’t be joining that list.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to catch the boys Stations Sessions‘ gig then fear not, they are set to play V Festival this summer, as well as Belgium‘s Pukkelpop and the Festival de Nimes in France.
Station Sessions continues for one more week at St. Pancras station and finishes on the 29th of July, click here to see the full line up.