"We're only a few days into our tour and the crowd are already throwing their underwear at us!"In Conversation with INK.
Starting over in the music industry can be a hard task. After topping the charts and travelling the world as part of beloved pop-punk boy band McFly, Dougie Pointer has branched out on his own, roping in friends Todd and Corey to form INK., utilising musical influences untouched while in McFly, the likes of Echo & The Bunneymen and Nick Cave come to mind on first listen across the recently released EP Heaven. Resident rocker Craig, from the team at The Music Fix, was able to have a sit down chat with Dougie while on their current UK tour.
How's the tour going so far?
The tour's going amazing so far, five shows in I think. They have just been super fun.
Let's start at the beginning, and the formation of INK., how did that come about?
Well me and Todd have been friends from just being out and about in London and bumping into each other. One day I was sitting at home, I was writing a song, and thought it might be good to get a singer/songwriter involved and that was Todd. I slid into his DM's [laughs] and invited him over and we got on really well. One thing rolled into another and we had a bunch of songs together, then we decided to get a drummer which was fun. James from Busted actually recommended Corey.
Did you all have different various musical influences that you wanted to incorporate into the INK. sound or were they all fairly similar?
There was huge crossover which was a godsend but Todd turned me on to bands I had never listened to before like John Cooper Clarke and people like that. Lyrically it was a lot different to what I would normally do. We all had very different musical upbringings, I kind of brought the pop-punk aspect to the band, and then Todd would bring his The National and David Bowie influence. Corey is a big fan of rock and he was all about the Dave Grohl-style drums.
Is it a shock for you to be back playing vastly smaller venues than you normally would with the likes of McFly?
We didn't really want to do a big media explosion, a song and dance about it so to speak with this tour. We wanted to build up a fan base at a grassroots level, get out and play small clubs. I haven't played some of these venues since I was like 15 or 16. It is so much fun going back to play the smaller venues, I love it.
One of the questions I always throw at musicians who have played in arenas but also gone back to smaller venues, is about the different ways a musician plays each venue.
Yeah, I like playing arenas and small cap venues equally. They are both very different sets. I've played some really huge venues, arenas and even Hyde Park, all of that. The energy of those is insane but you are putting on a show, you really are in the Bruce Springsteen mindset when it's the bigger places, that thing where every little move has to be ten times bigger so the people at the back can see you as well. Smaller venues, like last night, where we stopped a song halfway through because I messed up! [laughs] Or when people throw underwear on stage. We had someone chuck a bra up on stage the other day, we stopped the show and went looking for the person because there is a loose pair of breasts somewhere in the venue and we can't have that! [laughs]
You are currently on a fairly substantial UK tour, which we don't see that often, do you think it's important for bands to tour that way in 2018?
We had a meeting before with our agents and we had loads of options in terms of what plans we could go with. We had options where we could do the major cities only or we could go to as many places as possible. We decided on the latter, because it's fun that way and also it's something we used to go to when we were kids. We would go to small places and see a band we've never heard of, jump around and have fun. It was also a little bit of nostalgia mixed in there for me as well.
We are going to places bands don't normally go to. Lot's of people go to Bristol obviously but we are going to Exeter and places like that which bands don't normally go through. I'm in tour mode at the moment so I can't think of where else we are going, I'm just taking it day by day.
You have your debut EP out, Heaven, how was that recording process?
All of those songs started out as demos in my bedroom, actually living room, I don't still live with my parents! From there, we took what we had created and took them to a studio in Belgium called ICP which has the most amazing backline gear for any musician. Loads of digital stuff and old-school analogue stuff, but best of all they have Lemmy from Motorhead's bass rig there. It was like a Toys' R' Us for musicians. We got Jason Perry from A to produce it as well, he gave us his inputs, and we wanted it to sound like rock music but with a different edge to it and one which didn't rely on cranking up the guitars. There are different ways of doing it.
On 'Fever' for example, we have two bass guitars playing over the top of one another to give it that heaviness. They are all a mixture of styles at the moment because ultimately we are still trying to find our feet with the songs.
Playing the songs live as well makes you aware if they are connecting with an audience or not.
It always makes sense live, in the studio you can craft a song to fit a genre but live on stage there is a nakedness to it. Live, no ones compared us to anyone either really, I take that as kind of a compliment.
Are there plans to record further EP's or is an album in the pipeline?
I think it all depends on time, recording an album does take up a lot of time. We may do one more EP and then an album or just jump straight into an LP because there is more material there, it's ready to go.
Do you feel it's harder to get your music heard as INK. compared to McFly 15 years ago?
I can tell you it's definitely been flipped on its head. When McFly first started it was still dial-up internet and very much all about the physical purchase of music whereas now it's very much a digital world. When that first started changing it hurt McFly's record sales because our audience wasn't an audience that had access to credit cards etc but they did have access to illegal downloads. We saw our sales fall but our audiences grow off the back of that which was weird.
Nowadays there are so many tools on the internet with social media where you can discover bands. If you go on Spotify you can actually see the streams of what people are listening to.
Any plans for festivals this year?
Due to the timing of this particular tour and the way festivals are booked we didn't have the capacity to get on any festivals other than Teddy Rocks! which we just played, I'm sure that will change next year. We do have a meeting soon with our manager where we are thinking about the next steps. We are looking into maybe supporting a bigger band and going out with them, so watch this space!
INK. are currently touring the UK and you can buy tickets here, you can follow them on Twitter. Their debut EP, Heaven is out now from everywhere music is sold.