INTERVIEW: Backstage with Courts

It’s Friday the 13th, a date many people assign an unnecessary amount of significance to, but for Courts – a local Essex band who I first of heard when I was an awkward nineteen year old – there’s a legitimate reason to pay attention to the calendar today. They’re about to play to a sold out crowd at Southend’s top live venue, Chinnerys; a well-deserved headline show that’s been secured by their infectious summery sound, and a no nonsense, DIY attitude to making music.

As I approach Chinnerys at 8:20pm, I feel genuinely impressed (but not surprised) by the large, buoyant  crowd culminating outside the venue. The doors don’t open for another ten minutes, but people are already forming a queue, and the outside seating area is full. I’m due to interview the band in about 15 minutes, and I feel a bit anxious. For the first time in 365 days, my nose stud has decided to fall out, and I can’t get the bastard thing back in. I assume this is a bad omen, the hole on the side of my nose makes me look like a human crumpet, and this will obviously result in my interview with Courts going arse over head.

Fortunately, my paranoid delusions are just that; my sister reassures me my nose looks ‘normal’, and when I get backstage and introduce myself to Chris (vocalist/guitarist), Dan (bassist), and Reece (guitarist/keys), I realise I need to get over myself and focus on the most important thing; not forgetting to press record on my phone when the guys start speaking.

Dan and the rest of the band are busy flying about dealing with technical stuff, but Chris and Reece kindly stay backstage for a chat:

Hello Chris and Reece, you’re about to headline a sold out show at Chinnerys, how are you feeling? Have you got friends/family coming down to support? How will you celebrate?

Chris: I think most of the crowd are friends and family? (laughs). No, I’m only joking…

Reece: We’re feeling good, we’ve got friends and family here but there’s loads of people we don’t know, so that’s sick. We’ll be celebrating at our studio, having a drink, playing some music, so we’ll see how it goes down.

Your recent single ‘No Lie’ has received great reviews and plays from the likes of NME, MTV, Beats 1, and Apple Music. As an unsigned band, how does it feel to be recognised by such big names in the industry?

Chris: Well, it’s about time really! We’ve been doing this for about 6/7 years and it’s what we’ve been waiting for, so it’s nice. When you wait for it for so long and it happens, it feels a bit surreal. I’ll be reading NME and I’m seeing MTV and we’re in it and it’s just surreal, you know?

I mention how I’d heard of Courts in my teens, and Raquels, another local band who also received positive attention before calling it a day a few years ago. Reece laughs and tells me he used to be in Raquels, and compares his move  to Courts to “Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Madrid”.

You reference the sun/sunshine in your songs – there’s the lyric in ‘No Lie’ (‘We got more energy than solar’), and in ‘Wanna Be High’ there’s a reference to Egyptians worshipping the sun. Do you think of yourselves as a summer band, is that why you include these references?

Chris: I think we just naturally write happy music, and we associate that with the sun and feeling good really.

Having said this, your songs are quite deceptive; your lyrics highlight things like class struggles and there’s also a lyric about politics: “I don’t know enough about politics to talk it, but I know enough to know that they talk bullshit” (‘Sanatana’) – you don’t have to give an expert opinion, but what do  you make of the recent election results in your hometown, Basildon? (The Conservatives got in, again)

Chris: I didn’t vote…

Reece: I didn’t vote either…

Chris: Hence the lyric! (laughs)

Reece: My Dad would hate that the Conservatives got in again though.

Chris: To be honest, I think they’re all full of shit. It doesn’t mean anything to me, whoever gets in, there’s still gonna be people that are living like shit. I don’t like any of them…

But the important thing is, we unanimously agree the Conservative government is shit.

You’re big fans of grime, and you gave Gigslutz an exclusive feature about your favourite tracks from the genre. Skepta’s ‘Ace Hood Flow’ was on your list, have you had a chance to listen to his new album, Konnichiwa? If so, what are your thoughts?

Reece: It’s sick…

Chris: It’s one of those albums that when it came out, you knew it was gonna be big…

Reece: It’s great because he stayed real for so long, and now he’s number one. It’s amazing really.

Who else/what else are you currently listening to?

Reece: I’ve been listening to a lot of 80’s soul, some Alexander O Neil, shit like that really…

Chris: I dunno really, I usually end up going through Youtube just typing in random funk stuff and see what comes up (laughs). I’m a bit bored with grime, obviously as sick as it is, and as great as Skepta’s new album is, everyone’s kind of in to it now…

Festival season is fast approaching, what are your plans?

Reece: We’re going to Field Day, we’re just going…we’re not actually playing (laughs)

Chris: Field Day will be good, but we’re playing The Secret Garden Party. We’re on the Where The Wild Things Are stage at 9:00 on the Saturday.

Reece: We haven’t really been to that many festivals…

Chris: I liked Bestival though, we went there last year, and I wanna go to Glastonbury too…

Can you give us any information about new EP releases, or an album release?

Chris: We’ve got another single coming up and the album’s ready, but we don’t wanna just put it out there, you know? We want to see how the singles go, and we’ll go from there really…

Finally, you’re headlining Camden’s KOKO on 3rd of June. Why should people come to see you? Are you excited? What are you expecting?

Reece: We’re very excited. For me, since I was a kid and we started making music, Brixton Academy and KOKO have always been the two venues that I’ve wanted to play, and now the first time we get to play KOKO, we get to headline it, it’s amazing.

Chris: I remember you kept saying to Seb, our manager “Can we get KOKO? Can we get KOKO?” and now we have. I haven’t really thought about it too much to be honest, once Chinnerys is over I think it’ll be easier to focus on.

Reece: But why should people come and see us?

There’s a slight pause, a laugh, then I interrupt with “because you’re good?”

Chris: (laughs) Erm, I dunno, if you wanna have a good time; come and watch us…

Thanks to Chris & Reece for answering my questions, and to Courts for providing another stellar live set. Make sure you catch them at KOKO on June 3rd. You can get your tickets here.

Follow Courts on Twitter & Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington

Kate Crudgington

Kate Crudgington

Assistant Editor for Gigslutz (2015-2017) Now Co-Founder, Co-Host & Features Editor for @getinherears