Birmingham post-punks Tall Stories are a band rapidly evolving & developing both amongst their local scene and further afield.
Support slots with the likes of Swim Deep and hometown shows have led to winning a slot on Truck Festival’s Market Stage alongside names like The Murder Capital and Sports Team via a public vote, seeing the four piece top of the pile when it comes to a fresh collective of Midlands based bands.
Third single Nosebleeds sees Tall Stories continue on their journey to success, carving a niche for themselves within the growing collective of post-punk artists.
Drummer and vocalist Francesca Hall took time out to talk us through the motivation a slot at Truck Festival gave the band, using creativity to aid mental health and their dream of releasing music with indie label Speedy Wunderground.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and how long you’ve been making music for?
We are Louis, Fran, Ollie and Jim and we formed Tall Stories at the end of 2017. Fran and Ollie met while in a previous band and me and Ollie were childhood friends. We welcomed Jim, our lead guitarist, at the end of last year, when we found ourselves wanting to expand our sound.
At what point in your life did you decide to make a career out of your music, and what influenced that decision?
We started with zero expectations, just gigging locally and playing loads of covers. It was only after a couple of years that we began taking things more seriously - playing Truck Festival last year was definitely a turning point, as it opened our eyes to what was possible and gave us that drive to see how far we could go as a band. Playing the same stage as bands such as Sports Team and The Murder Capital was really inspiring.
What is the main source of influence for your songwriting?
We'd class ourselves as a post-punk band, so my writing style is very stream of consciousness. I write about everything around me - this often means my lyrics are very politically charged. Musically, we are very influenced by both the original wave and the current revival of post-punk, so everything from Joy Division and The Fall to IDLES and Shame. For this single, I was particularly inspired by Chernobyl and Cold War politics. A nosebleed is a tell-tale sign of radiation poisoning, so I use it as a vivid, uncomfortable symbol that something's wrong underneath the surface.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through making music?
I've learnt that often your gut feeling is right and you should have confidence in your ideas, particularly when recording. Over lockdown, I've realised how important having a creative outlet is for my mental health, and how much easier it is to write with your band members than when on your own.
What is something you wish you’d known when you first got into the music industry?
That everyone starts somewhere and if they look like they know what they are doing, they are probably faking it. Fran and I both do music journalism outside of the band, and it's made us realise that, despite it not being glamorous, it is important to properly learn how the music industry works. Also, the faster you can get to know different bands and people within the industry, the better.
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists from the city you live in?
In normal times, Birmingham has a lively and friendly local scene. As a young band, it's such a lovely scene to be part of, because everyone knows everyone and it feels like a real community. Some of our favourite bands to have come out of the city recently are Souki, The Novus and Phil Madeley. Souki's debut single came out a couple of months ago and it blew us away, and Phil is signed to Nice Swan so we're really excited to see what he does next.
What would your dream tour & rider look like?
Honestly, our dream tour would just be to play all of the legendary independent venues around the UK, from The Bodega in Nottingham to The Windmill in Brixton. Just getting in a van with a band that we are good mates with, playing sold out shows and partying every night would be incredible. In terms of a rider, I would have to insist on having a keg of Bodega lager no matter what city we're playing in. Fran would be happy with just a vat of hummus and an industrial amount of carrot sticks, and Ollie and Jim would probably want unlimited cans of Red Stripe.
If your music was to soundtrack any film or TV show, which would you choose?
Our first single was called Lost in Translation and people always think it's named after the film, but actually Louis only saw it for the first time over lockdown. We'd love to get the call to write a rock opera for It's Always Sunny. For real though, to soundtrack one of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends would be amazing.
What’s the bucket list goal for you as an artist?
Obviously playing Glasto is the dream for any band, but for us, to put out a single on Speedy Wunderground is top of the bucket list. We think what Dan Carey is doing is amazing and they are undoubtedly the most exciting label around right now.