Coming from London by way of Liverpool, Outfit are the UK’s only purveyors of Teary Disco™. Epic, evocative yearning raises their melancholia from self-indulgent mewling to soaring, stirring calls to arms. People have been chucking around Wild Beasts, Roxy Music and New Order comparisons, and while they are all good things to be compared to, it would be better (and more accurate) to say Outfit are a thing unto themselves. They’re funky in a cool, but not chilly way, and propulsive and smart without being overly bookish.
I spoke to a kind of Legion-esque conglomeration of Thomas Gorton, Nicholas Hunt, Christopher Hutchinson, David Berger, Andrew Hunt, so read on for tips on giving people what they want, being the anti-Eeyore, and not slagging off the Beatles. If you’re reading this and work in television production at least one of these guys should not be booked to appear on your show!
Which of Outfit is this?
All of us are here in spirit and soul. If you need our names, check out Facebook. We even put our surnames up!
Where are you right this minute?
That is very specific. What are you up to?
Responding to your questions and listening to some early demos for our album.
Again specific, and also tantalising. How has that first year and a bit been [after forming in Jan 2011]?
It’s been cool. We’ve done a lot in that time, released a single, and soon an EP, we’ve played a lot of in different countries, gone to parties, put on parties, moved cities, started work on our début LP.
And you’re already lined up to play Field Day – who are you most psyched about seeing?
Death Grips, Julia Holter, Kindness, Metronomy, Blawan.
Nice! How was the Royal Albert Hall Hush/Double Denim show?
Now that was something else, to play in that building. Our dressing room was ridiculous, full of shit period art and iced Corona. We got to hang out with NZCA/Lines too who we kind of know from teenage touring days so that was cool. Also, Juk Juk who remixed us was there. It was fun.
You’re a Liverpool band who’ve made/found your home in London quicker than you can say ‘Outfit’ – a lot of Liverpool bands stay hanging out in that scene, did signing to Double Denim so quickly play a factor in moving you out?
No not at all. We’d decided to leave Liverpool before we started Outfit really – we’d just been there a long time and felt like we’d got enough out of it. I think some of us may go back at some points in our lives, it remains home, but I think adventure is something everyone should consider.
Does Liverpool get unfairly overlooked – what is the scene like?
It doesn’t get overlooked really. Look at people like Dauwd, Forest Swords, Evian Christ, Stealing Sheep and Loved Ones who people are getting really into.
Perhaps it doesn’t get mentioned as a scene but that’s because that scene doesn’t really exist. ‘Underground’ there’s certainly a scene, headed up by people like a.P.A.t.T, Mugstar or Ex-Easter Island Head, and this consists of a lot of experimental musicians for whom attention is secondary to quality.
Does Liverpool’s looming musical history hinder or help Liverpool bands?
Whether they feel hindered or not is up to the band. I can’t be bothered slagging off The Beatles.
You talk about some pretty heavy topics in previous interviews – the human condition, the connection between art, emotion and music, and dystopian literature… is that kind of stuff forefront in your mind when writing music?
When writing music we naturally focus on melody, not concept. These are just some of our other interests that perhaps filter into our music but will also affect the way we do completely everyday things like buy a newspaper or close the fridge.
You make pretty haunting, mysterious music, is that an extension of that?
We see the emotional content of our music as an extension of our lives, rather than our presentation.
How does it affect an Outfit live show?
We like to play with visuals when we can. But they aren’t visuals intended to hide us, or cover us up but rather just points of aesthetic interest. A lot of the visuals that Andy and Nick do come from distorted VHS feedback – there’s a charm to beauty made from forgotten entertainment, and their abstract nature is more open, less dictatorial. A lot of people kind of miss the point with this ‘mystery’ thing.
You’ve got a kind of optimistic melancholy – kind of like the anti-Eeyore. How would you describe it?
I think that could be about right, yeah. The sounds and samples that we use can be quite industrial and lonely, lyrically we certainly fall into the category of ‘optimistic melancholy’ – a yearning for something better that may or may not be out of reach. I’d like to hear someone call us ‘teary disco’. That’d be nice.
Tell me a joke/funny story?
I’ve been on Beadles About, The Russ Abbott Show and This Morning. Each time I pissed in the water cooler of the crew room.
This post first appeared on Spoonfed on 21 May 2012