You might not have heard of The Calls, but if you’re a fan of The Beatles, The Who and The Smiths, then we’ve found the lo-fi Leeds-based band for you. Following the band’s latest LP release, The Night the World Stood Still, I got talking with lead-singer, Tom Fuller, about the band’s direction and much more. To kick off the interview I ask Tom about how the band got into creating music with such a signature sound. “It was a journey to get there,” Tom tells me, “we’ve always played indie rock, even in our old bands, and I grew up listening to a lot of ‘60s British Invasion music, so the early psych influence has always been there, with stuff like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who and The Small Faces, so that ‘60s thing has always been lurking about.” Besides musical influence, Tom admitted the band had “always been into our jangly guitars and vocal harmonies, but never really explored deeper than that, but we’ve always wanted to.” Now the band have taken on a more solid form Tom draws on how the band have evolved: “I think our music sounds and feels more authentic than ever before, because of the way we’ve really allowed ourselves to explore our creativity and find where we’re really at. Plus, we discovered guitar pedals, which changed everything.”
The Calls’ distinctive sound is something that is very much evident in their latest LP, The Night the World Stood Still. The title of the LP is “a play on The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is an old science fiction film,” Tom explains. “I always loved the phrase and I thought it would be good to use it for something. I liked the idea of focusing on the surreal aspect of [a night out] and turning that world inside out. Whenever I’ve had a night out I’ve always ended up finding the whole experience pretty surreal, so I think it’s still pretty accurate. When it came to naming the record, we brainstormed loads of different ideas, and looked at a few of the songs as being the title track, and that one just jumped out at us. It’s a great image, and for us it really encapsulates the vibe of the album.”
The Calls are definitely making progress with their music. Most recently the band had their popular track ‘May Day’ on BBC Music Introducing in North Yorkshire. I ask Tom what it felt like to have that level of exposure. “It felt great,” Tom said. “Jericho Keys has played our stuff before on his show but getting anything played on air is always exciting. He opened the show with it as well, which was really cool to hear. He couldn’t have picked anything better!" With the LP now out, I ask Tom if he has a favourite song off of the record. “They’re all favourites but in different ways. ‘Lost Art of Romance’ is the most fun to play live and always gets the crowd going, and ‘What Can You Do’ also gets people dancing about. ‘The Night the World Stood Still’ has the most awesome solo, and ‘I Am Gone’ has a great fuzzy instrumental. But I think as a whole we all like ‘I Can’t Afford It’ the most. It’s a real journey, and the outro is probably the most elegant part of the record and really rounds off the mini LP as a whole. I also think that compared to the rest of the album it gives a bit more of an insight into where the sound is going next.”
Following the release of The Night the World Stood Still, The Calls are due to play a headline show at The Lending Room in Leeds this Saturday. I ask Tom if he’s excited about playing the show. “Yeah, it’s all shaping up to be our biggest headline show yet. We’ve got a projection which our guitarist Will made, which is really cool, so anyone who’s not seen us live yet should come down to check that out,” Tom tells me. “The Lending Room is probably our favourite venue in Leeds to play as well, it’s got a great stage, great lighting and sound system and the staff are just as great. The support bands are ace as well - Velvela, The Omega Era and The Marble Arches - so all round it should make for a great night.”
With The Calls standing out as an example of underappreciated upcoming artists, I ask Tom if he thinks there are any other bands that Slanted should keep an eye out for. “In the Leeds scene, I’d look out for Stellar, who have a really cool ‘90s psych rock sound going on. The Seagulls are a band we played with last year who have some really well written jangly psychedelic songs with a classy old school vibe. Looking a bit bigger, I’d definitely recommend The Orielles who are from Halifax and just put out their debut album earlier this year, which is brilliant and definitely worth a listen.” Well, if you were looking for some new music, Slanted have got you covered with this list.
With the interview coming to a close, I ask Tom what’s next for The Calls. It seems the band are heading off to Germany and it’ll be the first time they’ll be playing outside of the UK. “We’ve got a show at Mukkefux Festival in Dortmund at the end of the month, which we’re absolutely buzzing about,” Tom says. After the show, The Calls will be heading back into the studio. “We’ve got absolutely loads of tracks and we’ve been demoing non-stop for the last six months so we’re just itching to get more out there.”