Formed in the Lake District by neighbours Ben and Tom, Aquilo are one of pop music’s brightest hopes. We invited them to perform for us at our showcase at CMJ in New York last year and they absolute blew us away. So much so that there was absolutely no way that when we put together our Ones To Watch for 2016 that they weren’t going to feature. We invited them down to TicketWeb on an unusually mild winter’s day to take pictures of them in the streets of North London, and have a chat about all things Aquilo.
“It would make sense for someone to wonder that, but I don’t think it does really.” Says Ben when asked about whether coming from the Lake District has an effect on the style of music Aquilo write. Tom adds “We get this a lot. I don’t think we mean for it to, but sometimes it can subconsciously it can shine through.” It’s a beautiful part of the country where the duo are from, but with a sparser population than some of the bigger metropolitan cities of the UK, was there anyone around to be influenced by? Ben explains “There’s no music scene back where we’re from so I don’t think we could have had any influences from back home, we’re influenced by the music we grew up listening to.”
A big part of Aquilo’s story and what influenced them was be imparted to them by their parents. Tom cites his Mum’s love of Tracy Chapman as an influence while Ben admits that’s his Dad’s love of Steely Dan as a having a large impact on his life. When the band were over in New York for CMJ festival, their management secured Ben and his Mum choice tickets to see the band in concert, “We played a show, I went to watch Steely Dan and then we went and played another show. It was the best night of my life. It was perfect.” Says Ben.
America has been kind thus far to the band and from a recent personal trip there, it seems the locals are embracing British music and bands more than ever before. Tom is enthused by their reception over the pond“ I think people are more inclined to see English bands because obviously they don’t go there all the time, so the fan base feels really strong. When you play a show it tends to pack out. (The last time we went over) It was crazy. The San Fran show was insane.”
So they’ve got a burgeoning fan base on both sides of the Atlantic, what’s next for Aquilo? The debut album? “That’s been our goal for the past, I’d say 3 years now” says Ben, “It’ll be out this year hopefully. Well definitely.” Tom interjects “We say definitely in a hopefully way. We want it to be right. We think the album’s the most important thing. It’s more important than singles. It’s going to be like a book of stories.”
Aquilo leave us as they’ve got a studio session booked in Notting Hill and they’re already running behind. From an afternoon of chatting to them, you genuinely believe they are going to put everything into making their band the best it can possible be.
Aquilo play the following cities on tour in April/May
26/04/2016 – Ruby Loung, Manchester
27/04/2016 – Wardrobe, Leeds
29/04/2016 – O2 Institute Birmingham, Birmingham
01/05/2016 – Thekla, Bristol
03/05/2016 – Scala, London
Grab tickets now at www.ticketweb.co.uk/aquilo
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