interview: pete reilly (the view)
Everyone, at some stage, dreams of becoming a rock star. Whether you were nine years old, performing a collection of ‘So Fresh’ hits to your plush toys; or in a high school garage band, covering Tool or Metallica, wearing jeans that were way too tight. But you abandoned that fantasy; your parents told you to grow up, get a real job. So you completed your studies and joined the rat race, and the closest you are to fame now is reading trashy gossip magazines in supermarket aisles.
Then there are those people who refuse to let go of the dream, and Pete Reilly, lead guitarist of rock quartet, The View is one of them. Reilly met fellow band mates Kyle Falconer, Kieren Webster and Steven Morrison at high school in Dundee, Scotland.
“I got a guitar when I was 15,” says Reilly. “And Kyle got one as well. We thought it would be cool to be in a band. That’s how it all started.”
Following high school, and prior to the band rattling the UK with its scruffy pop-rock, Pete’s day job was as a carpenter, all while playing various gigs around Dundee. But The View’s anonymity didn’t last long, as the band slowly started to build a steady fan base and gained the attention of well-known radio stations and record labels.
“We just decided to quit our jobs, get a rehearsal space, practice all day every day and get really tight as a band. That’s how we did it. Make sure that you make a whole-hearted effort. If you only do it half-hearted, you’ll never get anything done and your music will never be heard.”
The boys had barely hit their twenties when their debut album, Hats Off to the Buskers soared to number one on the UK Albums Chart in 2006. Since then, The View have enjoyed widespread recognition in the UK, have toured Japan, Europe, the USA and Australia, and have released three successful albums, with a fourth, Cheeky for a Reason out this week.
“Kyle came up with that one [the new album title],” Reilly says. “It kind of just sums us up. We’re quite cheeky.”
Known for their excessive partying, run-ins with the law, and roguish behaviour, the title Cheeky for a Reason certainly embodies the band’s mischievous, carefree, trouble-making image. Even in their early days, they were banned from performing at one of their regular venues, The Bayview when lead singer, Kyle Falconer rode a scooter along the bar.
But underneath that rebellious image, there has always been a genuine passion for songwriting and producing music that sends shivers down their fans’ spines. Although mostly directed towards a younger generation, anyone who has a listen to their music can easily relate to the situations they describe, or the characters they sing about, and, ultimately, that’s what draws people in – a band’s ability to interpret the world and to turn that interpretation into a piece that can make someone somewhere feel something. A lot of emotion is involved with listening to your favourite band. Some lose complete control of their emotions and decorum when faced with the possibility of meeting a musical idol.
“There were a lot of crazy fans in Japan. They’d send mad letters and crazy presents and wait outside our hotel room for the whole day, so that was pretty freaky and overwhelming, but it was also really great.
Crazy fans aside, the boys have been incredibly lucky. They have had the opportunity to experience new cultures, different countries, and have even performed on stage next to a number of of their musical heroes, including Mick Jones from The Clash, and Gary Mounfield, bassist for Scottish band, Primal Scream. The View have named The Clash as being one of their main influences, and Reilly admits to feeling a little intimidated by the experience.
“I was freaking out a bit but it was great. The best thing about belonging to a band is getting to travel and meet loads of new people. There’s not really anything bad about belonging to a band, really. It’s all good.”
Although The View are fairly big in the UK and Japan, the craze surrounding them overseas hasn’t yet hit Australian shores. However, after briefly touring the country and making an appearance at the Falls Festival in 2010, the band is definitely eager to visit us again.
“Oh, Australia is brilliant, man. We were so lucky to come and play all those gigs. We’ll have to get another tour sorted, or a festival, hopefully we can get across sooner or later. Definitely after the album’s been released.”
Cheeky For A Reason is out today through Shock.
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