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iLiKETRAiNS - Αποκλειστική συνέντευξη!
Written by K. Μπρέλλας-Β. Γιαννακόπουλos   
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Article Index
iLiKETRAiNS - Αποκλειστική συνέντευξη!
Page 2
An exclusive interview with
  •          Tell us a few words about  SiGNAL FAiLURE? How did it all begin, and how do you imagine its progress in the future?

    signal11 iLiKETRAiNS: Having travelled around the country and further, we had found and befriended lots of bands who nobody had really heard of back home in Leeds, and we wanted to give them a chance to play to our home crowd and introduce people to their music. We have been very pleased with them so far, we get to decorate the venue, which is a little club out of the town centre with lots of character, and we project films onto the wall and get our friends to play a few records.  It has been a while since our last one of these nights what with us being away on tour ourselves, but Simon who does a lot of work on them tells us he has some good bands lined up for the near future. Hopefully they will continue to be popular and we will be able to carry on putting on our very special guests. 


  •         You formed the band when you were all in Leeds. Concerning music, what's really happening in Leeds these days? Could you mention some bands from this community that would be loved by a fan of your music? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: Leeds is still very good for music. There is a very strong community among a lot of he people involved, with everyone helping each other out with all sorts of things. Quite a few bands are starting to get the recognition they deserve or building on their reputations. iForwardRussia's new songs are sounding incredible live, so I am really looking forwards to their new album. Napoleon IIIrd has a truly brilliant record out. If you are more interested in post-rock, then Vessels are an exciting prospect. Soon to join us in Leeds are one of our favourite new bands, Her Name Is Calla, originally from Leicester, who supported us for a leg of our last tour in the UK. Definitely one to watch. 


  •          Your songs are made of lush and dark structures, that beautifully build their way until they spread out into every direction. Melancholy and enthusiasm reach a dreamy crescendo. But in what way is this, the totally abstract part of your songs, combined with the definite lyrics, the true stories of the persons that really existed? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: The music fits the stories well, I think. We aim to get a sense of the drama and turmoil that is going on in the lives of the characters into the arrangement of the songs, and like any good story, we like our music to build and twist until it reaches its climax, just as the historical figures are progressing inevitably towards their fate. 

  • bobbyfischer           The characters that you describe, and turn their stories to lyrics, are not really known to most people. How did you hear of these persons, like Bobby Fischer or William Huskisson for example? Do you think that all these figures drawn from "the avant-garde of history" have something in common, which is underlined by your music? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: That was the idea, we wanted to tell people stories that have been largely ignored or forgotten, but which we can all learn lessons from in one way or other.

    William Huskisson was our first historically based song, and that came about through the theme of trains, as he was the first man killed on the British passenger railway. Bobby Fischer appeared in a story on a news website and grabbed our attention as someone whose story was worth telling. The theme that holds them all together with relation to our music is that they are all tragic figures in some way, but there is always some redeeming quality that means that, although they are surrounded by failure or disaster, they are strong, or great, or brave figures.


  •           You often write about the stories, by becoming one of the characters, using the first person. How easy is to act a character? Is it here that lies the more imaginary part of your lyrics? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: There is a lot of research that goes into our songs, and once the internet has been trawled and books have been read, it becomes quite natural for us to get into the heads of these people, by imagining how we would feel if it were us in that situation. This means that the way we portray them tends to

    be quite sympathetic. Some critics hold it against us that we do not write from personal experience, but we are - we are writing from the united point of view, at the basic level, of feelings and emotions that we all feel, but set in a more interesting story than that of going out dancing on Saturday night and trying to talk to girls.

  •          Which recent story or character could be a song for the iLiKETRAiNS after many many years? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: It's hard to say what stories will hold the sort of resonance after a few years than the ones we have chosen so far, and we do try to steer away from anything too contemporary (although it is surprising how often things happen these days that do make me think of one of our characters). I was quite

    excited by the story of the canoeist who reappeared after allegedly being lost for years until it was discovered that it was all some clumsy attempt at an insurance scam.

  • ilike44          The name of your band is such a simple and genuine statement, that makes people trying to imagine all the discussion that led to these 3 final words. How did you come up with it? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: There wasn't really much discussion about it. The name had been in Dave's head since  before the band came together, and it had a certain sense of eccentric Englishness about it that we liked. As we have developed it has become quite apt, as it hearkens back to the idea of great achievements that have now faded and become largely ignored as the great feat of engineering that it was. 

  •          What about the i letter in your name? Will it ever be capital?  

    iLiKETRAiNS: It might! The reasons behind the small i are purely aesthetic. It makes the name look a bit more interesting when it is written down. But if a time came to capitalise it for any reason, we would not be against it.


  •        If you were not able to draw the artworks of your records, who would you like to do that? A living and a dead one if you please. 

    iLiKETRAiNS: Dead: Turner, in the style of his epic historical naval paintings. Living: Rolf Harris (sorry, I don't know many living artists)

  • elegiestolessonslearnt           How was it to work with the producer of Sigur Ros, Ken Thomas? In your opinion, which was the most special contribution he made to your music?  

    iLiKETRAiNS: It was a great experience. He has worked with so many amazing bands that it was an honour for us that we wanted to mix ours. We have been a fan of his especially for his work on Sigur Ros' later albums, and his sound was always something that we aspired to, so to see him at work was very beneficial,
    especially on his drum sounds. And he had many many stories to tell as well. All secret, of course.

  •       In what sense is the railway inspiring to you? Is it the journey, is it the impressive structure, its dominance in the old days? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: All of the above. There is so much power in a train. We were visiting a railway museum in England while on tour (yes, we really do this from time to time), and we stood next to an old steam engine as it started up, and the sheer noise that came from it was overwhelming. But, as mentioned before, there is a great comparison between the decline of the railway and the fates of the characters in the stories we tell.

  •          Have you ever thought of making a tour, during which you're going to play in old Railway Stations? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: In fact, yes, we have thought about this a little. We have even spoken to some people connected with the railway to organise it, so it could happen at some point in the future.

  • ilike22            The music of iLiKETRAiNS is full of hopelessness, David Martin has the perfect voice to sing about characters who are tragic victims of the unavoidable, unable to change their fate. But one of the meanings of history in general, is to learn from others mistakes, to evoke hope when all seem that there's no. What attracts you most  to sad and tragic stories?  

    iLiKETRAiNS: Sad stories make more interesting songs, in our opinions. There is more drama that can be got out of them, more appropriate to the music that we enjoy, and it is from the mistakes that they have made, leading to tragedy, that we hope that lessons can be learnt. 

  •         Is there any chance that iLiKETRAiNS will record a pure lovesong someday? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: Only if it is a particularly disastrous, depressing love affair.

  • ilike11        Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I noticed in your pictures that you're wearing "mourning" in your arms. Is this going to end some day?

    iLiKETRAiNS: Well spotted. The idea at the moment is to have different visual themes for each album, so for our early days up until the mini-album, Progress Reform, we wore old British Rail jackets in support of the train theme, but when we moved on to Elegies To Lessons Learnt, we started wearing mourning clothes, in memory of all the people who have died in the course of our songs. So when we release our next album, there will probably be a new wardrobe. 

  •         What's the biggest misconception about the band? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: That we are all depressing, miserable people. We do laugh a lot on tour, and there is an element of humour in a lot of the songs.

  • ilikelive11          You seem to be a band that really loves to play in concerts. You've made so many the last few months, and you take serious care of things like visual projections. You also seem to feel comfortable in the uniforms, and maybe a little sensitive concerning silence between the songs.  What's to be remembered from all these lives?  What differences did you see between European and American audiences? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: We do really enjoy playing live, it is so rewarding to have an audience in front of you who are really into the performance, and it does come very naturally now, after doing it so many times. We have only just started playing to Americans, so going over there is a little like starting from the beginning again, but even if the audiences have been smaller than we have got used to in Europe, they are just as enthusiastic about what we are doing. We are yet to experience a proper tour in America though. I'm sure it will get much harder.


  • petr         Ever been in Athens before? Do you like sunny places? Which city do you think your music could be the soundtrack for? I mean, somewhere where we could hear iliketrains songs even in restaurants while eating. 

    iLiKETRAiNS: Our soundman went last year, but I don't think any of us in the band have been yet. We are really looking forwards to it. Sunshine is great - we don't get to see much of it here in England, so it makes a nice change, as long as it is not too too hot. I think we would probably have to soundtrack somewhere a little colder and darker though. Maybe St Petersburg? 

  •      Best album for 2007? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: Possibly, In Rainbows, by Radiohead.

  •          What is the musical background of the group? Mainly, as far as musical training growing up is concerned, a few influences, and that sort of thing. 

    iLiKETRAiNS: The bands we have been in before now, and the early days of iLiKETRAiNS have covered a lot of different styles. They have ranged from folky indie to Britpop to hard rock to a brass band. We started making the music we do now after experiencing bands like Sigur Ros and Godspeed! You Black Emperor, and we are also inspired by the likes of Nick Cave, The Smiths, Radiohead and Slowdive, as well as many other bands.

  •        Have you ever listened to the Swans (80's avant-garde/industrial quite dark & gloomy band)? Lots of people here think that there's a strong similarity to Michael Gira's voice and singing. (the singer of Swans that is..) 

    iLiKETRAiNS: No, although I think I remember hearing that comparison before. I will have to check them out. 

  •        The industry of music production these days, wants too much too fast. You commanded attraction with a beautiful record, but what do you think about the next step? Is it stressful to reach so high with almost the first record release? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: It is more exciting than stressful. We don't know where we are going next, but we can't wait to find out. All we know is, we want to keep it moving forwards and do something new, not just repeat what we have already done, but this could take us in all sorts of directions. Luckily, we are working with a great label, Beggars Banquet, who are ready to support us with the music we want to make, rather than demanding something instantly accessible.

  • ilike77          Why do the British keep searching and searching for 'the next big thing in pop rock music? I mean, it seems nobody gets ever satisfied, the exaggerations for a band's first release are usually followed by immediate demands for progress and changes on the second release. Isn't it a frenzy? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: It does seem a bit silly, but that is the nature of the British music press - in fact the press in all areas. As soon as someone does achieve the success that has been pushed on them, then they are immediately turned on, and every few months another musical trend is invented. We have always managed to avoid this kind of hype, which has worked in our favour. Because we are not trying to be part of any particular movement, we don't get this backlash, although we still get some people saying that our music hasn't progressed, even though we have just released our FIRST album. But you can't pay too much attention to this kind of thing or it will make you depressed.

  •          I have the tendancy to name my pets after greek mythology characters or gods. Have you got any pets? What do you call them? 

    iLiKETRAiNS: I have a dog called Tess. Guy has a cat called Isobel. No great reasons for their names, I'm afraid.

  •          What bores you the most? Except from giving answers to the same boring questions... ahem.. 

    iLiKETRAiNS: House music, generally

Intreview by:
E. Giannakopoulos
K. Brellas
  iLiKETRAiNS - We Go Hunting video



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