We caught up with Rob and James Simpson from Kent’s dirty pop band Get Inuit to talk about Spaced, fellow band Spring King’s secret weapon, and what they really listen to in the tour bus.
Where does the name – Get Inuit – come from?
James: It’s a pun.
Rob: Yeah, it’s a silly pun of “get into it”.
James: Jamie came up with it, and I’m blaming him entirely for it.
Rob: It’s in an episode of Spaced. There’s an inuit/into it joke and yeah, we stole it from that.
So you guys were Simon Pegg fans before it was cool?
Rob: I think so.
James: Yeah, just about. I’ve re-watched it after all the [Simon Pegg] films came out, it’s a great show.
What are your influences when you write stuff?
Rob: Um… It’s sort of a whole range of stuff on an individual level.
James: Yeah, it’s really different.
Rob: There’s core stuff that we all agree on. Which is like, 90s grunge, and pop. Actually, we all really like over-the-top pop. In a weird way. Like, James loves Katy Perry.
Okay, so we’re talking like proper bubblegum pop?
[both, smiling] Yeah.
James: Really cheesy. I like Taylor Swift’s new album, and I’m not afraid to say that.
James: Yeah, but then we all like Nirvana and like, Sonic Youth.
Rob: I feel like those are the obvious influences because of the guitars, you can hear Weezer or Sonic Youth.
James: The pop stuff and the guitars – that’s what comes through.
Do you guys just hanging out in the tour bus, blaring out some cheese?
James: Yeah [laughs], we played Busted last night.
Rob: Hmm, yeah that was a bit… That was on the edge of my tolerance.
James: I like them!
Rob: See, that splits people.
James: The thing is, when you’re driving at night, you need something amusing to keep you from falling asleep. So… Ollie loves Blink 182. He’s got them tattooed on his hand.
But they’re a classic, right?
James: Haha, yeah maybe. I dunno. But yeah, that’s what goes on in the van. I don’t know how much it influences our songwriting. It keeps me awake while we drive – singing along to silly songs.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.
James: No one knows, at 3am on the M25. Well, they know now! Oh well, we’re not ashamed.
Rob: We told Huw Stephens that we wanted Sum 41 played on Radio 1.
James: And then he did! For about 30 seconds. He played In Too Deep which is not their best material…
It’s not, but…
James: No, but it’s a classic! It’s got good harmonies and a cracking guitar solo.
Hey, and the music video.
James: Yeah, it’s one of the best music videos ever made.
Do you ever take it as far as, say… Justin Bieber?
James: Jamie was playing one of the new Justin Bieber songs recently…
Rob: I’ve got mixed feelings, because the songs are good, but the good ones are the Ed Sheeran songs that they’ve just given to him and not changed in any way.
James: It just sounds like an Ed Sheeran song.
Rob: Yeah, like “here’s a demo I’ve written on an acoustic guitar, let’s just replace the vocals, and release the song”, and it’s like, oh, okay. I mean, they’re good songs, they’re enjoyable, but… I don’t know, I don’t like him as a person.
James: Yeah, I find his personality a little grating…
Rob: Yeah, a bit…
James: Like, he’s very much a spoilt kid.
Rob: Which is fine, because he’s just been made that way, it’s not his fault
Rob: But… I still don’t like him.
How reflective do you think that kind of mainstream stuff is of the music industry in general?
Rob: There’s a weird thing in the music industry at the moment, where no one knows how to make money if they’re not doing that. So… There’s like a weird thing where people are talking about a guitar revolution in the indie scene for years and years and years, an the reason it’s not happening is because when one band breaks through, the labels just look for identikit bands. Like when The 1975 broke through, they just wanted bands like that.
James: Before that, Mumford and Sons, and then there was this big folk thing, and no one really got as big…
And then they released their second album…
Rob: Yeah, and they sounded just like Coldplay.
James: But yeah, there’s definitely a pattern where they want the same thing as what came before. Looking for the next one instead – that would be nice. Not saying that we are the next one, but…
Rob: Some of our mates might be. I’d be happy to see our peers doing well. Because then that would mean everyone does well.
James: Yeah, if Spring King or VANT or any of these guitar bands here today start doing well then that has a knock-on effect on everyone. It affects gig turn outs, because people are like “Oh, I quite like that Slaves band, maybe I’ll go and check out more guitar bands”. That’s a positive.
Definitely. How long have you guys been ‘doing’ Get Inuit?
Rob: About two and a half years?
James: Yeah, maybe a bit longer but we weren’t really public for the first nine months.
Rob: Yeah, we didn’t really do a show to start with, but then put a demo out and started writing more because people liked it. We put two songs up on BBC Introducing and then that took off.
James: Yeah, the first demo we put up on the BBC Introducing upload was the first day that we had a Facebook page as a band. And that got played on BBC Kent and then a week later it went on Radio 1, and then a week later it was played on 6Music.
Rob: So it was like “actually, this could be quite good, let’s write some more stuff!”
James: Yeah, write enough songs to do a gig or something.
Rob: Yeah, because we only had like four at that point, and only two recorded. We’ve grown from there. So it’s been proper for about two years.
And how’s the journey been so far?
Rob: Ups and downs.
James: Lots of ups this year though.
Rob: Yeah, this year has been very strong.
James: We went to America – that was amazing. I think we got really lucky with our slots and showcases. One on the first day of the festival, which was like a Huw Stephens showcase, which got completely rammed. They had to open the window shutters so people on the street could see. And then we had one at the end of the week, that was great – seeing all the bands we’d made friends with over the week and yeah, it was cool.
Rob: We had like a group of British people clubbed together, which was nice.
Are you guys looking forward to playing here at LeeFest?
Rob: Yeah, I’m excited. It’s our first time here.
James: I came to a LeeFest about four years ago, but it was very different to this. It’s not the same thing as it is now – it’s grown a bit!
Rob: But yeah, we did Truck Festival a few weeks ago. The atmosphere seems pretty similar. It was the same size, I feel like it’s a lot of new music fans. That’s nice. At some festivals, only 50 people turn up because they’ve heard of you and no one else cares. Whereas new music festivals… Everyone has done their research in a way. They listen to the new stuff and then come and check it out. Hopefully it’s that sort of vibe. I haven’t been out there yet but that’s how it seems, looking at the lineup…
It seems pretty chilled so far. Are you guys here until tomorrow, or…?
Rob: No, I’m moving house tomorrow, so I just want to go home. But we’ll be here until the end of today.
James: Yeah, we’re staying until the last band, aren’t we?
Rob: Yeah, Spring King. We went on tour with them.
Are you looking forward to seeing them again?
James: On a personal level?
Rob: I dunno, they smell pretty bad… [laughs]
James: No, no, they’re lovely. They always smell great, and their bass player always gives the best hugs!
Rob: Yeah, James gives the best hugs I’ve ever received.
James: Yeah, like as if he hasn’t seen you for a hundred years.
How would you describe your music to someone totally new to it?
James: Um… I guess it’s kind of hard. The best thing you can do is kind of push play. There’s a lot of… I mean, it’s obviously loud, it’s energetic, for the most part… Our entire thing is about energy. We’ve been the support band a lot recently, so our job is about getting the crowd hyped up and excited. So we’ve worked a lot on presenting the songs in that aspect live – to be as energetic and hyper as possible. So, it’s really full on, lots of pop harmonies, but then really aggressive guitar music.
Rob: There’s a lot of energy onstage now. It’s taken a few years to get there but I feel like we put on more of a show now.
So, when people talk about ‘stage presence’?
James: Oh yeah, well Jamie definitely has some moves… They need to be seen to be believed. Film them and put them all over the internet like “check out this weird guy!”
Rob: He’s got some flowery moves. He won’t like that I’ve said that but hey, I’ve said it. It’s on the record now.
So are we talking like, getting the crowd to do the hokey-cokey?
Rob: Yeah, he’d definitely do that if you suggested it to him
James: He’s just that kind of guy.
Rob: But yeah. Our sound: pop harmonies. Loud guitars.
James: Oh, here’s the rest of them! Hi Get Inuit!
Rob: We’re talking about you!
Ollie Nunn: We’re starting to get a bit suspicious…
Rob: We were just saying about your moves… I described them as flowery.
Jamie Glass: Nah, they’re definitely more floppy. Like an octopus.
Rob: Hmm, okay.
I was just saying to these guys you should get everyone to do the hokey-cokey…
James: There might be a break down, it’d be quite appropriate for it.
Jamie: I don’t actually know how the hokey-cokey goes.
Rob: Well, you do the hokey-cokey and you turn around.
And that’s what it’s all about. Thanks for your time, guys, see you in August!
Catch Get Inuit at Green Door Store’s 234 Festival across the Bank Holiday weekend (27-28th August, free entry). The band return to Brighton to play with Spring King and Kagoule at Concorde 2 on the 27th October (tickets here).