Jess Sits Down With Area 11 Interview

You released a new album earlier this year didn’t you and an EP earlier this month, right?

Kogie: That’s right yeah, we released our second album in July which is called “Modern Synthesis” and we did a tour to support that. It did way better than we anticipated and we got in the charts which was something we weren’t really expecting which is brilliant for us especially as a band our size. We just released an acoustic EP called ‘Let It Resonate’ with three acoustic versions of songs off the second album.

N: This is the first time you’ve done any kind of acoustic release, isn’t it?

Leo: I mean, yeah. On our first album we had like a fifth of a track that ended up being acoustic in five parts. There was a five part, eleven minute, eleven second you know, because eleven. Parv: That novelty wore off really quickly.

N: Haha, we can imagine!

Leo: There was a section of that that was just acoustic and vocals and that turned out to be one of the most favourite, oh wow great English from me [laughs] it ended up being the best off the album. We kind of dabble with having more relaxed parts throughout our songs but this is the first time we’ve done something fully, completely acoustic.

Kogie: It’s definitely the first time we’ve done a full record like this.

N: Should we be expecting any more acoustic releases in future?

Kogie: I think for the next album we’re gonna go full band. Lot of layers, lot of electric guitars, lot of synths. Leo: I think for that album, the majority of the album certainly, maybe 90% or so will just be our usual style, electronics and rock like Kogie says, but then, I don’t know, doing it was really fun. It was really chilled and relaxed because you don’t have to write a new song, you just have to rework something which is just as entertaining. Kogie: The hard bit’s already been done, less mucking around. N: Have you guys had a chance to play any of your acoustic versions yet?

Kogie: We did last night - one of the songs called ‘Red Queen”. Its a song that I wrote for the album which is already a bit soft, a bit mellow so it translated well onto acoustic so we chose that one to play live but I think it went down well.

Leo: Yeah it was really fun. It works really well with Kogie playing acoustic guitar and Parv switched to a clean patch. And I just… didn’t have a lot to which was quite nice for me. Just did some jazz clicks, it was great.

N: How long have you been on tour on this last stretch?

Leo: This is the seventh day. It’s quite a short tour, its nine days and seven dates.

Kogie: It’s effectively the second half of the tour we started in July playing different cities. We had a lot of acoustic shows and full band shows on our last one. This is a shorter one so its a bit of less strain on the old back.

Leo: And the old everything.

N: This is the first time you’ve toured with Fort Hope and Boy Jumps Ship, what’s been the best and worst tour memories from this short run?

Kogie: I’ve got the best and worst one. So me and Parv had a very unexpected wrestling match in one of the venues just on the floor. As everything it started out as a little joke but then someone applied a headlock, so someone took it to the ground and we were grappling for a good maybe five or six minutes?

Leo: Our sound guy, Drew, came out and said Kogie and Parv were in a grapple and it was the longest grapple I’ve ever seen in my life.

Kogie: We did end up kissing at the end which was the most unexpected part.

Leo: They kissed and made up, yeah. I missed this, I was gutted when I heard about it. Kogie: Could have been a threeway. Maybe tonight. Get couple of Shirley Temples down ya. Leo: That’s the area of a Christmas party right there. N: So where were you when this was going on?

Leo: I was probably doing all the loading out, ‘cause that’s what usually happens. Me and Ed our tech basically have the mentality of if we get it done now then there’s less to do later, whereas Kogie, Sparks & Parv are ‘well if we don’t do it now, someone else will do it’, and they’re right.

Kogie: I have very delicate hands. Leo: He’s a hand model. Kogie: I am technically a hand model. I’ve done one hand job so far… That is an unfortunate turn of phrase. But those are the choices I’ve made and I stand by them. Leo: He risks it by playing bass. Callouses.

N: So I guess speaking of technically side projects, we know you’ve all been involved in video content creation in the past, but some of you are in other musical side-projects as well?

Leo: I have sort of two things. I have a solo thing that’s just me its just acoustic stuff, but I’ve only just done one EP of that. That’s sans me dot band camp dot… Actually I think that’s wrong… I think its, and then I have another emo/pop-punk project with a mate. We put an EP out last year and we just write whenever we’re together but I’m in Nottingham and he’s in Cardiff so its a little bit difficult. Its just whenever we hang out which is quite nice. I think Sparks has the odd solo electronic venture he puts out ever now and then. Are you planning anything? Your elaborate prog album?

Kogie: My elaborate jazz-prog. That’s put on hold at the moment. I’ve got a few other things in the pipeline but not necessarily musically stuff, like writing a lot, screenplays that I’m working on with one or two people but I digress.

N: From your first album, anime was a large influence. But what else, both individually and collectively, what else do you draw influence from, both musically and non-musically?

Kogie: I guess we draw inspirations from loads and loads of sources. I think that lyrically and conceptually we draw a lot from philosophy, some politics and definitely biology. We studied biology, philosophy and music tech for our degrees within the band. We take a lot of inspiration from there and musically, there’s just so many bands it always a bit of a tricky question. Leo!

Leo: Thanks for that. I think we’re all from, maybe not different musical backgrounds, but we all definitely have very different musical tastes. Parv is very into his heavier stuff, Kogie’s more a classical rock kind of guy, massive Beatles fan, but aren’t we all? Sparks likes a lot of electronic and pop and then like me, I’m very into hardcore, more just, there’s so many different influences coming from the four angles and that kind of makes the band what it is. Like Kogie says, we use a lot of philosophy and science but we draw from our own experiences as well, try and make the song personal but also telling a story. This is something we like to do a lot and definitely with ‘Modern Synthesis’ it was part of this massive grand piece of architecture, if you will. I jest, I jest .

N: In 2017, obviously you’ve only just released a new album, but ideally what do you want to achieve by this time next year?

Kogie: Plans wise, musically, I think we want to release a new album, or definitely make really good progress on the next one. Tour wise, we have a few European dates booked which is the first time we’ve ever left the UK to tour.

Leo: We want to do a lot of festivals next year, hopefully.

N: Which ones have you got in mind?

Leo: I’d really like to do Reading & Leeds, but I’d also like to do in Europe something like Pukkelpop. I know its got a lot of good bands on that I’m a big fan of. UK-wise maybe Download? Slam Dunk would be really cool.

Kogie: RockAmRing.

Leo: Literally just cover the board, we’ll play anything.

Kogie: We won’t.

N: Are there any iconic venues you’d like to play that you haven’t already?

Kogie: We’ve ticked off a few of them in London. We sold out the Barfly which I was really pleased about. It was a venue I went to a lot growing up. We played The Underworld. I grew up in North London so that was another one I used to frequent.

Leo: My goal would be to play a sold out headline show at Rock City. You know, even tonight, its a bit of a name venue but you want to keep growing.

Sparkles*: I want to play the Roundhouse quite badly, even just as support.

Leo: You just want to keep on adjusting your goals so you have something to aim for.

N: I’ve got to ask, with nicknames like Sparks, how did those originates?

Kogie: Christmas crackers. We had our first Christmas dinner together.

Sparkles*: My Little Pony name generator. See, Sparkles* now enters the room and joins the interview. It’s a long story and its not very interesting but its just the duality of taking a lot of time to explain. I usually come up with a lie. Its just a boring story. Everyone else in the band has more predictable nicknames. It is a weird name but we need to sit down and come up the ‘official story’.

Leo: These guys all had their nicknames before I met them so for the first three to six months of me knowing Sparks I didn’t know what his actual name was. I asked him and I asked around and he wouldn’t tell me. Kogie I picked up on pretty quickly because I’m quite sharp and Alex, well Alex Parvis.

N: How did you guys actually all meet, seeing as you’re from all over the place?

Kogie: It was at uni. We were at Nottingham. Parv was on the same course as me and he knew Sparkles*. Actually, we started working together because I was working on this comedy music video at the time and he promised to produce the music for it because I can’t use a computer because I’m not that way inclined. I came to his house and he’s made this track, we listened to it and it was obviously terrible. Parv was living with Sparkles* at the time and I think the term is ‘idiot savant’.

Sparkles*: No its genius savant.

Kogie: He made the track, I was like ‘this guy knows what he’s doing’, we teamed up and I’ve been a burden on him ever since.

Leo: I just happened to be at uni in Nottingham as well at the same time but in a different area doing a music tech course. These guys came in to do some recording and they didn’t have a drummer at the time and so one of my mates knew our old guitarist and asked me if I would do it, sent me the song and I had a day to learn it. I hadn’t been in a band in a few years, I missed it and ended up driving to Nottingham three times a week which took two hours out of my day. I’d get back at like 3am to get up for uni at 7am and I nearly went insane, quit, but didn’t. My Dad saved the day.

Sparkles*: He was cut out of the will.

N: One last question, out of influences and/or people you’ve toured with before, who would you want to tour with next year?

Leo: Someone who I would absolutely love to tour with in 2017 is twenty one pilots. I saw those guys at Alexandria Palace and I was personally very impressed by their show. The, I don’t know, circus and spectacle of it. The replaced all the posters in the tube station with twenty one pilots posters that told a story as you went up. In terms of influences, Alexisonfire. Sparkles*: At The Drive In.

Kogie: I don’t know, that we’ve supported before, Enter Shikari. We played to a few thousand people which was huge for us.

Sparkles*: They just announced a US tour, we should bully them.


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