Interview: We chat to The Magic Gang at soggy Truck Festival

So Young sat down with The Magic Gang ahead of their set at Truck 2017 to chat on-stage injuries, moonlighting as a wedding band and those free t-shirts.

For those who attended (and those who lived vicariously through the mud-flecked social media updates), this year’s Truck festival will forever be synonymous with rain, more rain, a truly stellar line-up on The Nest stage, and more rain. It seemed only natural then to begin the interview by swapping past festival horror stories from the comfort of Paeris’ and Kristian’s dressing room.

My offering of my drowned and now broken phone is met with how Jack sustained a pretty bad leg injury mid-set at Barn on the Farm earlier this summer. “We were like two songs in on the mainstage and it was slowly filling up…” relays Paeris. “Jack had hopped down to the barrier to rally the crowd and as he turned around to get back on the stage he just slipped and fell backwards. We were all still playing, laughing and waiting for him to get up all embarrassed…”

“He didn’t surface though so we all had to skulk off and head straight to the hospital. It’s fine though, he’s got a leg brace and we’ve played since. I’d say our mad on-stage antics have only been scaled back about 5% as a result.” Kristian reassures me.

“A festival in the rain is a real tricky one though.” he continues. “We were at Glastonbury and Latitude this year and the weather was immaculate at both. We just all overcooked it a bit at Glastonbury I think. In fact, we wanted to bring our friend to Latitude too but he refused in the end because he was still recovering. Glastonbury scarred him.”

I admit that due to my phone situation or lack thereof, I hadn’t been able to do much research prior to the interview and consequently had done what any self-respecting music journo would have done and taken to the fields of Truck to scout out the fans – happily identifiable thanks to their modelling of the band’s merch – and ask for some inspiration.

A common theme was a shared low-key outrage following what I gleaned to be a scandal involving supposedly free t-shirts that were promised recently in exchange for signing up to the band’s mailing list. I ask Paeris and Kristian to shed some light on what the heck had happened and what were they going to do to restore the trust of their fans.

“Oh my God!! Really!?” chuckles Kristian. “We can safely, safely blame that on our label” says Paeris. “Basically, the label (Warner Brothers Records UK) was like, we want to do this thing where people give us their email and we send a free t-shirt… but around five thousand people signed up and the label were like, if we send one to everyone it’ll cost at least twenty grand!”

“I know they’ve done it with other people on the label since but they’ve made a point of specifying how many are up for grabs and really tried to quash what happened with us. I do feel bad that people didn’t get them…”

“But at the same time it’s like, you know, it’s a fucking free t-shirt! We don’t actually owe the fans anything!” jokes Kristian. “Yeah, fans – we owe you fuck all!” laughs Paeris. “Nah, the label just fucked it up a little bit and made us look like dicks.”

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“We’re actually doing it again now with tote bags…” says Kristian. I wait for him to laugh but he’s serious this time. “No, we’ve specified though that there are only 300 or so.” Paeris adds “We thought it’d be really funny to rub it in and be like – we’re doing it again! We did issue an apology though for the great controversy that The Magic Gang caused.”

Conversation then turns to what’s next for the band. I mention that a friend of mine was at a wedding the other week where The Magic Gang played and ask if this is a new venture, admitting that their lackadaisical guitar-driven melodies and harmonised vocals do lend themselves to the wedding circuit as much as a sweaty inner-city venue.

“Oh yeah, I mean it’s inevitable isn’t it! Nah, basically our friend got married recently and asked us to play so we just did a couple of Beatles and Beach Boys songs and it was really, really fun! We’d never done anything like it before.” Kristian tells me. “Yeah, we really enjoyed that actually. It was the guy that does all of our photography, Dan Kendall. He’s a really great photographer.” says Paeris.

Wedding bands aside, The Magic Gang really do have a lot to be excited about. Having curated a strong arsenal of EPs, the boys tell me their debut album is primed to drop late January of next year.

“At the moment we’re still recording and trying to piece it together and stuff. It’s taking a long time, especially because of all the festivals, we haven’t really been in album mode. It’s kind of hard to wear two hats at the same time. I think we’re gonna really crack on in August.” muses Kristian. “We’ve got the Sundara Karma tour in October and I’m pretty sure we’ll do our own UK headline show before the end of the year too…”

The Magic Gang headline So Young Festival tonight (Aug 3rd) at The Old Blue Last. Free Entry.