On the eve of their latest single launch, we catch up with Wakefield three-piece, One Day, After School frontman Dean to find out a little bit more about the band…
BM: So, who’s who? And where are you all from?
ODAS: We are Dean Freeman on vocals and guitar, Dan Hayes on drums and Andrew Whittaker on Bass. We are from Wakefield
BM: You’ve been knocking about a while now. Where did it all start?
ODAS: The band started as a bedroom project, and has kind of evolved from there. One Day, After School has had a rotating membership for a long time. The current live line-up has been together for about a year now.
BM: Have you all got experience of playing in other bands?
ODAS: Our bassist Andy has had an illustrious career as a singer in Metal bands, most recently Red Riding Quartet. However, he fancied learning the bass, so we took him on. Dan’s side project was jamiesaysmile. Dean’s life is One Day, After School…
BM: ‘One Day, After School’. Intriguing name. Where’s it come from ?
ODAS: It’s the name of an Arab Strap song and by a nice co-incidence we release our records on Philophobia Music which is named after the Arab Strap album from which the song was on. There’s a tip for aspiring bands looking for a label.
BM: You’re latest release is out this week right ?
ODAS: Yes. ‘When I Loved Music, When Everything Was New // Footprints On The Ceiling’ is released Oct 15th as a digital download and limited polaroid single.
BM: Why did you choose to release it as a double a–side?
ODAS: The double a-side came about because we had two really contrasting instrumental songs and given that Mogwai are heroes I thought it’d be cool (and new) for us to release something completely instrumental. The tracks are about nostalgia. I’ve always been anti-nostalgia but by consciously referring to a band I’ve loved since I was a teenager and writing in that way, it seemed kind of ironic. Footprints On The Ceiling refers to a famous story in Wakefield when Arctic Monkey played this 100 capacity venue called Escobar and the next day there were footprints on the ceiling from the crowdsurfers. I was going to make a documentary about the Wakefield music scene with that name but just can’t do it, so I took the title for this.
We recorded it at Greenmount Studios earlier in the year. It was part of sessions that produced some tracks that will go towards an album, but we loved these both so much, we decided a release this year would be cool. Lee and Jamie at Greenmount are ace, it is my holiday going into the studio with them and turning off the outside world.
BM: You’ve mentioned Mogwai and Arab Strap, would you say they are the bands that inspire you?
ODAS: The bands that have influenced us most are Mogwai for the variety and power of their work. Arab Strap for their honesty and integrity. Low for their simplicity and genius. Manic Street Preachers for always trying to be true and interesting even if they don’t always succeed. But these days the influences aren’t really other bands so much. It is books, comics, maybe films. Songs are just a medium to tell a story.
BM: To the uninitiaited, how would you describe the OD,AS ‘sound’?
ODAS: Our most recent EP drew comparisons to Slint and Mogwai. I always kind of want to step in at that point and say, yeah, but with just three people. It’s not epic. It’s maybe influenced by those bands but it has a basic approach of three people. At least, the live element does. The songs are created from ideas in the studio these days, then retro-actively made to work with the three piece setup. We get occasional guests in on various instruments. We’re working on an album and the ambition has stretched beyond what three people can do. It’s going to be interesting to see how we figure that out. In terms of the album beyond our upcoming single, there’s more influences like Arab Strap, Massive Attack, 65daysofstatic.
BM: What about early influences? Did you grow up in a musical household?
ODAS: I wouldn’t say so. I don’t know anyone in my family who plays or played an instrument. I was brought up with Status Quo and Def Leppard. Which shows in the tunes – obviously.
BM: And as a band. What would you say are the tunes that bonded you together?
ODAS: Bonded? We tolerate each other at best!
BM: Who’s the main songwriter in the band ?
ODAS: I write all the music, usually starting with a rough sketch, collection of riffs, which are then built in the studio. That has been the way for the last year or so. We only spend 8 hours on every song, so there is a freshness and spontaneity to it. Lyrics come in at different points, they are anguished over quite heavily. Sound wise I seem to reference The Delgados quite a bit, and other Chemikal Undergorund bands. I like a good drum sound.
BM: We are in the digital age, and your release is coming via a download, and single. Do you still think that artwork is important for bands?
ODAS: Yes it’s pretty important. In these digital times it’s maybe less important, but artwork isn’t just for a record now, it think it’s cool to get your Facebook and Twitter and website all matched up and looking great. It’s an era of the band to be looking a certain way.
BM: How do you pick the artwork for OD,AS?
ODAS: I seem to end working with CopyPasteRepeat most of the time. We used to work on zines together. I see the art like music videos – I’m too close to the material to work on it direct. I just give some vague direction and trust in someone more professional and able than me.
BM: The single launch is coming up this weekend…
ODAS: Yes. You can catch us live at our Single launch at Crux, Wakefield, then we play A Carefully Planned Festival, Manchester, RS Bar, Sheffield, and High & Lonesome Festival, Leeds.
BM: How would you describe the One Day, After School live experience?
ODAS: A work in progress. It’s constantly evolving. It like that about unsigned or developing bands. It’s not a case of, here’s the new album. It’s more like, “this is what we’ve been working on recently. What do you think?”
BM: How long have you been playing live with this line up?
ODAS: Our first show with this line-up was in good old Wakefield last summer. It’s interesting having not only a new member, but someone who has never played that instrument before. We were in the process of unlearning the old songs, which were short and easy and learning the new ones that were long and more complicated. So it was a weird time. This summer I think we got there. Our show at Wakefield Theatre for Long Division felt right. The new songs benefit from larger spaces and with a backup on guitar I think we really filled it out.
BM: Sounds pretty special.
ODAS: The theatre show was great because of the scale of the place, the stage, the sound bounced around great, it felt good in the lights and it was nice to be able to walk off the side of the stage at the end, rather than through the audience. It’s the little things.
BM: So if that was one of the best, whats been your worst gig to date?
ODAS: I can’t really remember a truly bad gig. But I’ve been doing this long enough to not take things personally, or too seriously. How can it be a bad gig? It’s better than being at work isn’t it? It’s playing music and performing your art. It can’t be bad.
BM: Are there any particular songs you like performing the best?
ODAS: The ones where I don’t have to sing, probably.
Our older songs, I’d shout quite a bit. The new ones are a lot quieter, whisper levels sometime. That’s cool on the record, but a bit more hit and miss live. I like the ones that build, and we just nail those dynamics. It’s different every night but when you lock in, that’s the great part.
BM: What do you enjoy the most? Been on stage, or in the studio?
ODAS: For me the part I love is the studio. A song is like a puzzle. I’ve learnt not to overwrite before going in, because what can happen with a couple of great producers beside you (we use Greenmount Studios in Armley) can beat anything you come up with on the acoustic in the spare bedroom. But it’s scary too because if you underwrite and don’t have the msue that day… But that’s the magic. Which isn’t to say the songs are focussed on production and we aren’t overly produced. It’s more the method of their creation, adding pieces and taking away in ways you wouldn’t think otherwise. Playing live is cool too of course, as there is then another challenge, taking the studio out on the road.
BM: Single launch is this weekend. What are the bands plans for the rest of the year?
ODAS: Finishing up the album which will be our first and hopefully be released around April. And then figuring out how the hell to play it live, then hopefully play it live in some cool places.
BM: As well as yourselves, can you recommend any local bands that our readers should be checking out?
ODAS: We seem to play with Yard Wars quite a bit who aren’t like us but are ace. Mi Mye are Wakefield / Leeds based and their recent album was wonderful. Scottish Folk via Wakefield Slackerdom? Yeah.
Plus, big up to Philophobia Music. If any readers haven’t heard of them, our new single is their landmark 100th release. They’ve been central to Wakefield music and there are some superb records in their catalogue. I guess with 100 release it’s a bit like deciding which Fall album to start with, but it’ll always be something interesting.
BM: And finally. Are One Day, After School a band with a message?
ODAS: There’s no direct message but we believe in the DIY ethos. We believe bands need to work hard to be successful, we’re not into the slacker vibe. We want to write music that isn’t written with sales or an audience in mind. It’s just something that could only come from those people in that time. If it ends up being enjoyed, that’s a bonus.
One Day, After School host their launch party for double a-side ‘When I Loved Music, When Everything Was New / Footprints On The Ceiling’ this Saturday, 15th October at Crux, Wakefield. You can also catch them live at:
A Carefully Planned Festival, Manchester on Oct 16th,
RS Bar, Sheffield on Nov 18th,
High & Lonesome Festival, Leeds on Nov 19th
‘When I Loved Music, When Everything Was New / Footprints On The Ceiling’ is available now via Philophobia Music – www.philophobiamusic.co.uk