It’s been a massive year for Talk Show, building up a reputation for visceral post-punk and high-energy live shows. Their calendar has filled up quickly with everything from festival sets, supports tours, and a show curated by Idles, all the way to a sold-out night at The Lexington.
Just back from a stint on the road with fellow Hype List inductees Just Mustard, frontman Harrison is in good spirits. “It was great,” he grins. “We got quite good reactions to these places we’d never been to. Katie [Ball, Just Mustard’s vocalist] told me a few tips and tricks about looking after your voice too.
“I loved every minute of it, I think we all did. It’s what you dream of when you’re younger and trying to get into bands. The dream is always to go on tour, so to be able to say we’ve now done that is fucking sick.”
With so many great gigs under their collective belt, it takes Harrison a while to land on any particular highlight, but when he does, it’s their London headliner that takes centre stage. “It was absolutely bonkers, it was really nuts,” he enthuses. “We sold out of t-shirts, so many people were just getting mega into it.”
It’s not all about the high capacity shows for them though, as Harrison explains: “We’ve had some great shows that are of a smaller capacity, but in a new city where people just really click with it, and it’s great.”
For Talk Show, their live show has been at the forefront of everything they’ve done so far. “It’s always what we’ve worked on. Songs and the live show, that’s what it’s about for us. We don’t show up acting like we’re the best fucking live band around – we’re not that type of people, you can leave that to fucking pricks like Liam Gallagher – we’re just grateful to be able to go to new cities and show our stuff off.”
Not bothered about looking cool, one of the main focusses for them is keeping things as honest as possible. There’s nothing fake about them, and Harrison is quick to reveal that although things are going really well for them at the moment, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. “Being in an independent band is really difficult,” he explains. “I haven’t had a day off in three months, I’m either with the band or at work. We’ll get back from a gig at 3 in the morning, and I’ll be up at 8 to go to work for a 16-hour shift. We all work in bars, Chloe works in a chippy, George is a music teacher. It takes its toll,” Harrison reveals, explaining about stupid arguments they’ll have in the car about the ingredients of Haribo. “You’re like a family, and you do have stupid arguments. We definitely function like that.”
That level of honesty is something that they try to translate in their writing, too. “We want it to be relatable, but in ways that you didn’t think about before. Like ordinary circumstances in a different way,” says Harrison.
Now, they’re gearing up for an EP release in spring, and their focus is starting to shift from the live show to getting more material recorded. “It’s a necessary part of the job. It’s a lot of fun going into a studio and recording tunes that you’ve spent months on, but I’m not the kind of musician that’s like a bedroom producer that’s sat with his tunes for eight months and then released it and then gigged it. We’ve done things the other way around,” Harrison reflects, explaining that he’s a little more blasé about studio time, unlike bassist George who loves it.
The EP is set to have four new tracks. “We’re going to try and push the boat out and put a bit of a mix on there and really display our back catalogue and what we’re capable of doing and who we see ourselves as,” Harrison explains, adding: “It’s the first big statement.”
As for the rest of 2020, Harrison recalls a statistic he saw a few years back. “Ed Sheeran was trying to match how many gigs James Morrison had done in a year, and it was something like 300. There’s always a part of me that’s gone ‘I’d love to give that a go’.” You wouldn’t bet against them.
Taken from the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Dork.
Words: Samantha Daly