AmeriCymru: Hi and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. How did the band come by its name?
Shaun: Within our group of friends we’ve got some unique slang words. For instance, when others would say “fancy a cigarette?” we would say “wanna Keith?”. Tate is another one of these words, but we can’t tell you what it means. Liam got dangerously close to spilling the beans on national radio once though.
AmeriCymru: When was the band formed?
Shaun: Officially, The Tates got together, as you know us, sometime in 2015, but the bands formation was inevitable since sometime between the late 70’s and mid 80’s when mine and Liam’s dads were in bands such as the ‘Dogs of War’ together. Liam’s dad, the legendary guitar guru, Vince, is in fact my godfather. Jac grew up with us too, which is lucky as his keyboard skills are unbelievable! Tom and Matt befriended Liam in school. They were renowned for their song writing skills quite early on, and spent most of their academic effort loitering in the music department. Liam saw their talents and started jamming with them, playing around with the idea of being a band before Liam told myself and Jac that the time had come, we were fulfilling our destiny and forming The Tates.
AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about your single 'Water'. The lyrics are intriguing and I'm sure many of our readers would love to know more.
Tom: Water is ultimately a track that plays with the question whether we are the subjects of our environment, our upbringing, of the people and things around us, or are we born the way we are, subject to our innate responses and our genetics given to us by two people in a shared instance, our mother and father. Are the flaws that we share with our parents who we are, or have we learned them. Are we free to be the people we want to be or are we trapped by our genetic make up and our immediate environment and society. Water asks these questions in the form of a brief description of two people's circumstance from their own perspective. of a woman, timid and in a relationship where she fears her partner. And of another, a man, afraid to be open, to feel and to commit. Where do these anxieties and fears derive from, water asks us to contemplate this and to understand the complexities of a person's decisions.
AmeriCymru: You have been compared to, amongst others, MGMT and early New Order. How do you feel about these comparisons and who would you say are your major influences?
Shaun: It’s always great to be compared to big artists, even if they’re not our cup of tea! Makes us feel we’re doing something right if our music reminds people of artists who have made it. Of course we love the comparisons to MGMT and New Order, both bands we love. We used to do a mean live cover of Blue Monday !
I think each of us in the band would list different artists as major influences. I myself love a mixture of 80s and contemporary pop stuff which influences my drumming. Stuff like Tears for Fears, Duran Duran, Foals, The 1975. I love anything synth too, The Human League, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Chvrches, Kavinski. A few of the guys love the 90’s too. Stuff like Libertines, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Oasis. I think having such a wide variety of influences is really advantageous as we can draw from all of them and create something new and unique.
AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about the music scene in Carmarthen? Do you think that the Welsh music scene generally is thriving at the moment?
Shaun: The music scene in Carmarthen is buzzing. Gruff has really created something special with Libertino Records and put the town on the map. It’s really given bands and artists the opportunity to be heard and taken seriously. Awesome bands like Los Blancos, Argraph, Adwaith and Hotel Del Salto. We have to give a shout out to another of Carmarthen's successes, our friends, Dream State. They’re absolutely smashing it at the moment, having just signed with Australian label UNFD, played Reading and Leeds this year, getting full page spreads in Kerrang magazine and playing next year’s Download. Everyone in Wales should be really proud of them.
It was looking pretty bleak for the Welsh music scene earlier this year with the threat of closures for venues in the heart of the capital, but the successful “Save Womanly Street” campaign has turned that around completely. The music scene in Wales is now more vibrant than ever, which was made evident at this year’s Swn fest Discovery Day, which we opened. It really was a showcase of all of the outstanding music we have in Wales. If we had to name a few of our favourite Welsh artists right now, outside of Libertino, it’d have to be Boy Azooga, Chroma, Estrons, Monico Blonde and Rainbow Maniac.
AmeriCymru: Where can people go to hear/buy your music online?
Shaun: Anywhere, everywhere! Here’s a handy little link that’ll show you all the places you can find it. https://song.link/TheTates Water
AmeriCymru: What's next for the Tates? Any gigs/new recordings in the pipeline?
Shaun: We’ve just come out of the studio with our amazing producer, Steffan Pringle, tracking our next two singles. He’s an absolute wizard when it comes to making our tracks sound the best that they can and we just love hanging out with him too. We plan on releasing more tracks in 2018 than we did in 2017 which should be fun and will be announcing some live dates soon too.
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?
Shaun: Just to say thank you for all the support for the music scene in Wales and please keep it up. We couldn’t do it without you. Let us know what you think of our new single ‘Water’ on twitter, facebook , email, letter, however. It’s always great to get feedback and we love hearing from people. Maybe it’ll make a perfect Christmas present for someone you know. Merry Christmas, Shaun x