Ever walked into a record store and felt somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of music on offer these days? 65daysofstatic feel your pain.
“There’s already too much music in the world.” explains Paul Wolinski, multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the UK based four-piece.
“So that’s why I like bands that have a bit of ambition. They have to believe that they are the most important band in the world. Otherwise, why bother?”
Hypothetically, if there was a section of the record shop labeled ‘ambition’, Wolinski reckons his band would be front and centre. “We always wanted to be the biggest band in the world,” explains Wolinski. “Whilst we knew, how ridiculous that is – given the type of band we were – it didn’t stop us wanting that to happen anyway.”
Formed in Sheffield in 2001, 65daysofstatic have already built a devoted European fan-base by combining their peculiar mix of instrumental math rock with dance inspired beats.
But when you’re a band with no vocals, no radio-friendly singles and no major record label to foot the bills, it takes more than just ambition to keep the dream alive.“It’s still a constant wonder to be able to go anywhere and have people turn up to listen to our music.”
“In the first five or six years, we all had to take on so many minimum wage jobs that we would then quit to go on tour, then find new ones when we got back,” explains the multi-instrumentalist.
“We’d stay for two, three weeks, then quit to go out again. You’d go into a job interview and convince them that your music hobby is behind you and you’re looking for a new career,” he continues. “Then you’d book another tour and quit again. We did that for six years.”
Even with such a relentless touring schedule, Wolinski admits he had his doubts as to whether any of the hard work would pay off.
“It’s still a constant wonder to be able to go anywhere and have people turn up to listen to our music. For a band like us – we always knew it was going to be a struggle because we’re so…’ he pauses, searching for the right word “strange.”
Heading to Australia for the first time in their eleven-year career, Wolinski believes their experience touring in the U.S and Asia while supporting The Cure will hold them in good stead for surviving Australia’s sweltering summer.
“We played in, well I guess you’d call it a jungle, just outside Tokyo a couple of years ago, in early September – which was probably the hottest show we’ve ever played,” recalls Wolinski. “It was 100 percent humidity or something ridiculous. It was crazy. We all lost half our body-weight. But we got through it.”
There’s also some good news for Aussie fans hoping to hear something new, with the band currently in the studio working on a few ideas for a follow up to their 2010 release We Were Exploding Anyway.
When asked whether they’ll be continuing to experiment with the more electronic sound heard on their last album, Wolinski says it’s too early to tell. “It’s certainly not We Were Exploding Anyway 2. It’s quite noisy and it’s quite strange,” he says.
“But you know, it’s interesting, everyone said our last album was more electronic; and it is, and we know it is. But for us, that wasn’t a particularly new direction really,” reasons the Sheffield native. “Because when we first started as a band, before we had a live drummer – we were all about the electronics and the kind of ‘dancey’ beats,” he explains. “So it’s been more of a natural evolution, rather than a radical sidestep from guitars to electronics.”
Despite a love of electronic music, Wolinski says they’re determined not to get carried away by adding too many “studio sounds.” He believes the band has learned how important it is to be able to reproduce whatever they create in the studio in a live setting.
“When we wrote [2007’s] The Destruction Of Small Ideas, we wanted to make the most of what you could do in a studio and worry about how to play it live later,” he explains. “That was quite a hard lesson to learn. I’m not going to say it was a mistake, but it was certainly regrettable, because half that stuff we still can’t play live very well.”“Everyone said our last album was more electronic; and it is, and we know it is. But for us, that wasn’t a particularly new direction really.”
“There’s so many things that that you can do with electronics live – it sort of makes sense to bring them to the fore.”
It’s not just on stage that 65daysofstatic are trying out new ways of doing things.
In 2011 the band teamed up with the crowdfunding website Indie Gogo to raise some cash for a studio recording of the Silent Running soundtrack.
Despite only needing to raise $7,000 for the project, the band received over $27,000 from fans – who each received a limited edition vinyl for their trouble. While humbled by the response, Wolinski believes the jury is still out on whether they’d attempt anything like it again in the future.
“There’s some great elements of crowdfunding, but what makes me feel uneasy about it, is that we’re a band, not a charity. There are some very worthwhile causes for people to give money to.”
Wolinski suggests that this type of model might be more suited to other, less mainstream art forms. “In England any budget that is left to support the arts is being decimated by our idiotic government,” spits the musician.
“There’s so many people who were trying to do worthwhile things that just have no way of making them happen. So it’s a great idea for projects that are quite obscure, the kind of things in the worlds of digital arts or installations.”
Despite his pessimism on the arts in general, he believes the music industry is healthier than ever. “I do like the way the music industry is evolving” he says. “Bands now get a lot more opportunities to interact with fans – it cuts out all of the junk in the middle.”
When it comes to showing a bit of fan-love, 65daysofstatic’s hands-on approach has seen them generate one of the most passionate fanbases going around. Known as ’65kids’, these enthusiastic gig-goers fill online forums and message boards with pictures of their 65days tattoos, remixes, and endless debates over the band’s musical classification.
But Wolinski isn’t buying into the inevitable questions about what subgenre of the so-called ‘post-rock’ scene his band falls into. “We just want to make people dance.”
If their Australian shows are anything like the performances that the 65kids rave about, then that’s exactly what people will be doing.
We Were Exploding Anyway is out now through Birds Robe Records. 65daysofstatic begin their Australian tour with a performance at Peats Ridge Festival before playing dates around the country. Full dates and details here.