We had a chat to Leon and Tyla from The People The Poet at the Brighton date of their UK tour supporting Deaf Havana.
Check out the interview below!
L: I’m Leon, I sing
T: My name is Tyla and I play guitar and do rubbish backing vocals
TNT: so you guys changed your name a couple of years ago, what prompted that and can you explain the reasons behind it?
L: We used to be a band called ‘Tiger Please’ and then we started writing an album based on our fans life stories and after like 2 or 3 years writing the album we didn’t really feel the band name ‘Tiger Please’ didn’t justify everything which we wanted to do, i think what we’ve done with the fans stories has become very serious so it didn’t feel like the right name to represent it, so The People The Poet was a nice insight to what we are and a nice tribute to the fans
TNT: as you just mentioned your album is based on fans experiences what was the inspiration behind that as it’s not something that’s really been done before?
T: How did we come across it?
L: I Think it was we’d just written an EP called ‘Seasons’ under Tiger Please and it was like a year of my life kinda thing and then it was kinda like I was 20 or 21 and it was kind of like what am I supposed to write about? I haven’t been through anything else and it was kinda like 90% of the songs I felt I was listening to were about love and I’d just written about heartbreak and love and it was kinda like I don’t want to write about this anymore so how can we come up with a way where we can write about stuff which is meaningful and so people can relate to something? I think it just came to me one day, yeah it just seemed such a simple idea but its way more than we ever expected.
TNT: hows the reaction been from the fans the songs are based on?
L: Amazing! yeah just
T: We were quite worried at first, obviously it was a lot of pressure on us but everyone, well I think everyone that the songs are about have all said its really cool and they’re really proud of it and stuff
L: It’s not even just like the people you write the songs about when you’re going we’re still a small, a very small band but the fans that we do have they’re all of a sudden we’re not just a band we’re someone who they’re gonna go and tell their life story at the table whilst you’re selling merch and they’re kind of, all of a sudden want to off load their whole entire life story on you, so yeah we didn’t expect anything.
T: We got a lot more response than we thought we would as well.
L: I think it was at first, like it was just an idea where it was like ‘That’s a good idea’ to just not have to really think about what I’ve gotta write about and go searching for inspiration, it’s a simple idea, no ones really don’t it before, awesome. It’s so hard, so hard.
TNT: Is there a particular song on the album that stands out for you guys?
T: We all have our personal favourites don’t we. I like um, I’ve actually forgotten the name of the song, the one with Francis Dunnery on
L: Nobody Else Like You
T: Oh Nobody Else Like You, just because, I can’t believe that, just because he’s one of my favourite singers and we just emailed him and asked him if he wanted to sing on it and he happily said yes. I think that’s my favourite, personally, whats your favourite Leon?
L: That’s really tough! I think my favourite is probably Pink Ribbon because it’s about a woman called Sam and of all the stories I’ve stayed in touch with all of them and we always see them at shows, on this tour we’ve seen probably like five of them, and with Sam her story was, like she originally sent in a story to me about 4 years ago and I couldn’t write about that particular story and then a year later she sent me a message saying do you mind if I send in another story and I don’t think I ever expected the story she was going to send in. She sent in this story saying ‘Ive been diagnosed with cancer’ and from that February she got diagnosed, which was like three years ago, I’ve stayed in contact with her like nearly every, at least every other week, and sometimes it’s every week, just like a few days a week so its gone from being a fan to being a friend which I’m checking is ok kinda thing, yeah she got, she was given the all clear like 2 years ago and then it come back what a year and a half ago so its kind of a journey so she had that was given the all clear then heard the song and was like ‘yeah this is amazing, I’ve got this song to remember the fight’ and then she was obviously it spread and then this next time round she said she actually listened to the song whilst she was, well, whilst she goes through Chemo and whilst she was shaving her head and yeah so, its intense stuff kind of thing, but yeah because i’ve got really close with her it’s probably the biggest song and one of the songs we don’t play live
T: Yeah we don’t play it live
TNT: So now you’ve got ‘The Narrator’ under wraps, whats coming up in the future ?
T: Well, we’ve got a couple of festivals lined up, move on from here and concentrate on just touring and getting a name out there at the moment, we’re still writing the second album, hopefully it wont take as long to write this album, we’ve already done about half of it so
L: It’s nice to kind of write like other bands do, coz we’ve been writing in such a different way that its like to have almost no pressure in a way, because it’s a completely different process writing, so at the moment we’re just enjoying writing the songs.
T: and not worrying about having the torture of it
L: Not having the pressure that you have like yeah.
TNT: Whats been your favourite venue or city to play so far?
L: Brighton of course!
T: Yeah haha, I just had my grubbs burger from down the road, chilli and peanut butter, was good. You know the best one on this tour besides Brighton, I don’t know, I’ve really enjoyed Newcastle Academy, it’s so big, and last time we played it we played the smaller academy and had a game of football in the actual arena so it was kind of cool to play the actual arena but for reaction it would be between Oxford and Wolverhampton, it’s all good, not going to complain
L: yeah the entire tour has been brilliant, its yeah brilliant!
TNT: Whats your favourite song to play live?
T: Heart of a Lion! just because I have a guitar solo now
L: Yeah selfishly it’s probably the only song on the entire album which is by myself, yeah I like playing Heart of a Lion, its kind of nice to just kinda be like ‘This is about me, you listen ok’ haha
T: It’s quite a dancey verse as well
L: Yeah I like it
TNT: Whats the best touring advice you’re received?
L: Touring advice?
T: erm Make sure you book Travelodges that have carparks
L: Received or to give?
L: I don’t know, If it was Deaf Havana they’d just say drink, just drink more!
T: It’s been hard to keep up with them
L: Book Travelodges so you don’t have to sleep in a van, we’ve done that for 4 years, longer than that, I keep saying 3 or 4 years all the time, its like a habit, we’ve probably spent more like 6 years in a van, just like sleeping in the top of it,
T: I love my free cup of tea in the morning with Travelodges, We’ve hit the big time now! Travelodges!
TNT: What bands are you most excited for in 2014?
L: Excited for?
T: erm in looking forward to hearing like new stuff by Twin Atlantic and the XX, We like a lot of Scottish bands
L: Probably the same
T: Foo fighters have a new album coming out
L: Foo Fighters, you can always, when you like think the rest of the industry is s**t you always go ‘Musics crap these days, ah don’t worry Foo Fighters got a new album coming out, every things gonna be fine, its gonna be rescued again!’
T: Well hopefully, yeah, the last one did well, my mind has gone blank there’s probably a lot more bands that I’ll remember once this interview is over
L: can you think of any? Who should we be looking forward to?
TNT: Kids In Glass Houses final tour?
T: Ah the final tour, I got tickets to that, their last show’s on Halloween, managed to get tickets so I’m looking forward to that
TNT: That’s all the questions we’ve got, so thank you very much!
Interviewed by: Samantha Stott