TRIBES don’t hang about.
Formed just over two years ago, the alt-rockers have since become one of the most sought-after bands in the UK, signed to one of the most coveted labels in the business.
Their latest album, Wish to Scream, fuses glam rock, dreamy drawl and even a bit of 90s alt-rock.
And, in keeping with its fusion of 90s and 70s sounds, the album was produced at Sound City, the much-loved LA studio where Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumours and where Nirvana cut their raw, gritty sound, as lead man Johnny Lloyd explains.
“It was an incredible experience recording there. We were just delighted with the way it turned out.”
“Our first album was 50 per cent live but on this we recorded it on a 16-track tape and did it all in about two takes so the sound is incredible.”
Produced by Kevin Augunas - the production brains behind Jeff Buckley’s Grace and REM’s Automatic for the People - Wish to Scream is raw, raucous and real.
And while recording their second album the band were living in Malibu, LA, leading a life that many of rock and roll’s most revered artists led in LA’s musical heyday - the 1970s. Among the hundreds of bands to have resided, written and recorded in LA are the Doors, the Eagles, Neil Young, the Byrds, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Fleetwood Mac and Jane’s Addiction.
This, Lloyd believes, also added to the band’s sound.
“We were living in this house on a big hill overlooking the beach. It was brilliant. And we were amazed by how much we gelled with the people we played with.”
Among those people who played with Tribes on the album are Bob Dylan’s organ player, David Bowie’s pianist, Greg Smith of The Eagles and Brenda Holloway’s Motown gospel choir.
Musically Wish to Scream is a lot looser in sound and there’s much more of a guitar feel to it. This sound totally suited the studio. We played 240 gigs last year so it was obvious to use which songs worked.”
Beyond the music, the album also marked a change in the band’s psychology.
I think that this album’s more about our spiritual side, there’s a bit more soul on the album whereas on the first album we were in a much more depressing place. We were all skint and one of our best mates killed himself.”
The band’s rocky-swagger-with-attitude sound is a result of the band’s influences, which can be heard on Wish to Scream. Mott the Hoople, the Pixies and Neil Young are all nodded to in the record.
“We’re all united on that front,” says Lloyd. “We all wanted to make loose rock and roll.”
Tribes formed in 2010. In just over two years they have toured internationally and are now signed to one of the most prestigious and respected labels in the music industry.
“We were 24 when we started and we were ready to take on a very difficult industry. You need to be a bit older in the music industry in order to know who to trust.”
And as for their label, that was a dream for the band all along. “Island was the only record label we wanted to get on and we got with them in the end though we were knocked back a few times.”
And while - to most people - a two year rise from nobody to Island Records artist is quite astonishing, Lloyd insists that it felt like a slog.
“It doesn’t feel quick to us. It’s been a slow and gradual journey but we just took every opportunity we could when it came to it.”
The band all lived in Lloyd’s mother’s North London flat. “We had a great time, they say you have the best time when you have nothing to lose but now we take it all so much more seriously. People are starting to recognise us.”
Tribes play Plug, Matilda Street on Saturday April 6.