Los Campesinos! kept their inebriated promises ... sort of.
Frame of reference time: The indie pop septet from Cardiff, Wales made a collective pie-in-the-sky vow in their early days that should they ever get big enough to play North America, they would all legally change their last names to Campesinos! (Spanish for peasants).
“We were all quite drunk at the time. It seemed like a good idea,” notes drummer Ollie Campesinos! (All members of the band unofficial go by the last name in public).
Well, success has arrived for the peasants and they’ve yet to make the official change: in mid-May, the group embarked on its first full-length tour on this side of the pond to promote Hold On Now, Youngster…, bringing cheery, unconventional and often raucous rhythms (accentuated by glockenspiels and violins) with a tongue-and-cheek youthful angst all over the continent.
Ollie says he’s excited about the wealth of English-speaking venues.
“It’s very exciting to go to these places, especially the ones we’ve never seen,” he said. “You get a variation of audiences from place to place — They tend to be more standoffish in London than they are in New York. But the best is that we can actually speak the same language as the people in North America. We’re often embarrassed about not being able to speak French or German when we play in those countries.”
Stops north of the border include Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but Los Campesinos! has a couple of Canadian connections beyond the comparisons the band gets with Arcade Fire (“I suspect it’s because we use violins a lot,” said Ollie.).
The 2007 single We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives is a shoutout to their pals You Say Party! We Say Die! The Vancouver-based indie rockers supported Los Campesinos! for several European dates, and crashed out at vocalist Gareth Campesinos!’ house.
The more significant connection is with Broken Social Scene. The band recorded Hold On Now, Youngster... in Toronto with producer Dave Newfeld of BSS and is signed to the collective’s Arts & Crafts label. No immediate plans to record with the notoriously collaborative group, however.
“Not unless they want to do Broken Social Scene Presents Los Campesinos!” Ollie laughs.