Leo Wyndham, frontman of London-based Palace, answers Sarah Turnnidge’s questions about their debut album, So Long Forever.
How has 2016 been so far for Palace?
It’s been amazing, we finally recorded our debut album So Long Forever; we did that at the beginning of the year for about three months. It was the most intense but amazing thing we’ve ever done, it was awesome even though it almost killed us.
How did you find the experience of recording your debut album?
Oh man, it was amazing! It was awesome and we had a great time; it was in this little studio in Hackney with a lovely guy called Adam Jaffrey, the producer, who’s now become a good friend of ours. It was absolutely amazing but just very intense, like nothing we’d ever really kind of experienced before, and we all got really sick in this tiny studio; if one of us was sick it just went down, so there was lots of sick days. There were a lot of battles to get the right sort of sound but we kind of got through it, and at the same time as it being difficult its the most satisfying thing in the world, when you come out of the day having achieved something that you wanted to achieve. We ended up with an album that we’re really proud of and that I think represents us really nicely and something that I think the fans are going to really love and hopefully hold on to forever.
Were there any big divides while you guys were in the studio about how you wanted the record to sound?
No, we’re really lucky, we’re all best mates really and we don’t fight ever. I genuinely don’t think we’ve ever had a fight as a band, which is a miracle, but it’s true. The process between us was completely harmonious and we very much shared the same kind of vision, we all want the same thing, so we went into it with a very clear view which was very much shared by the producer as well. There were no fights, no bust-ups; we ended in the studio laughing a lot, just having such a funny time. We’re lucky because our producer Adam has a very similar sense of humour to us and we all ended up laughing over the same stuff and looking at YouTube videos and being quite juvenile, which was really cool.
Personally what is your favourite track on the album and why?
My favourite track is probably the title track, So Long Forever, which I just think is really badass and it’s the one that, in terms of playing it live, we absolutely love, it’s really pumping and there are some great changes and time signature changes and also I think it’s quite a powerful song. It sums up the album really well, with the name So Long Forever, but yeah, that’s the one we just love so much. It’s heavy, we really love playing the slightly heavier stuff. All the old, slower, bluesy stuff, as much as everyone loves it, we don’t really like playing our old songs, we’ve got so into playing the kind of heavy and upbeat stuff, it’s just a bit more fun to play live I think.
Do you see yourself as a band moving more in that kind of direction?
I don’t think necessarily, I think we’ll always retain the old Palace blues sound but I think it’s about mixing it up. I don’t think we ever want to be a really heavy rock band, but it’s so important that our sound comes through our songs, with very intricate guitar parts rather than just endless heavy chords, but it’s good to not be afraid to go heavy sometimes.
You had a busy summer, including playing at Glastonbury – how did you find that experience?
Yeah that was amazing, probably just the best times within the band. Going to Glastonbury; that’s the dream and the pinnacle, what every musician dreams of playing and then you find out you’re playing there. We played three shows and got pretty over excited and ended up completely destroying ourselves, coming home pretty much in tears, but that was the dream and hopefully we’ll be playing next year as well, maybe on a slightly bigger stage.
So would you stay that’s been your standout gig over the past year, or has there been anywhere else that’s really done it?
I think probably Glastonbury that was just absolutely awesome, but recently we played in Holland, at two festivals, one in Maastricht and one on this little island in Holland. It was the most incredible thing, this little island where you’re not even allowed cars and we played in a valley in the woods and it was just amazing and completely rammed with 700 people or something like that, standing in the woods in the middle of the day and it was just a really magical moment for us. Every show is fun, pretty much, there doesn’t have to be a big huge audience or a huge venue to be a fun show.
So you’re heading over to New York next week, how are you feeling about that?
I’m so excited, I literally can’t sleep, I’m constantly thinking about hamburgers and milkshakes and things. That was up there, those were the two things that we really wanted to do; to go to Glastonbury and to America, and we’ll be ticking both boxes this year which is nuts. Just to play in New York is something that every band dreams of and it’s a really good kind of benchmark of how far we’ve come. To get to travel over there and play three gigs, it’s amazing and I just really hope we can keep going back as much as possible.
So after that you’re out on the UK and European Tour – where is the place you’re most looking forward to going to or returning to?
It’s really random actually, but in Switzerland there’s this tiny little town called Nyon, and we played there last year and it’s the most beautiful town, in the bottom of the Swiss mountains. We’re playing there again and we made some really good friends at an awesome little bar there last time, so we’re going back there; we had probably one of the best nights we’ve ever had on tour. And then Paris and Berlin, they’re all great cities. Everywhere really, there’s never a dull place to be when you’re travelling around Europe. We’re very excited about Prague actually; we’ve never played in Prague.
You’ve also been running your own live nights, Palace Presents – what is the thought behind those?
So that started at the George Tavern, which is this pub that’s very close to our hearts. Our mate used to run a night there and we used to play lots and lots of our early shows there, we still play there occasionally. He ran this Thursday night every month, and then he had to stop running it because he moved abroad, and I’ve always wanted to take it on as a night, and suddenly I just thought “fuck it, let’s actually do it”, we took it on a couple of months ago and called it Palace Presents. The people that work there are just amazing, really lovely people, and it’s got a really rich history, really incredible, lots and lots of amazing musicians used to play there. It’s also going through lots of problems at the moment because developers are trying to build flats next to it, next to this incredibly old venue, which could shut it down, so we’re bringing more attention to the pub as well. We love it as a venue, we’ve had two nights so far and they’ve just been incredible, we’ve had Flyte playing and other amazing people. On December the 1st we have Ghostpoet DJ-ing and the signer Ben from Blaenavon is doing an acoustic set and we’re going to play and it’s going to be amazing.
If you could only write and record for the rest of your career, or only play live, which would you pick and why?
I mean, I probably… oh God, my instinct says probably play live because that, as a musician is the thrill that everyone is chasing; it’s just to be on stage, to perform, and that’s the gift that keeps giving. But on the flipside, if I can’t write music I’ll probably go completely mad, it’s so cathartic and rewarding and satisfying, but I think I’ll probably have to go with playing live.
What do you have coming up over the next year?
We’re going to be touring like crazy, promoting the album and basically just spreading the Palace word and trying to travel far and wide to get ourselves out to people. And then writing new music, we’ve already got some very exciting tunes for the next album, so we’re going to be writing and recording as well, preparing for the next one.
Palace’s debut album So Long Forever is released on the 4th November 2016