Poison City Records

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Poison City Records


“We can’t wait,” enthuses Smith Street Band vocalist/guitarist Will Wagner. “The first time I met the A.D.I.T.F. guys was one of our first tours when we snuck into their show at the Cambridge in Newcastle. They blew everyone away and I sat around a table drinking vodka with them after, being a slightly star-struck 19-year-old. Since then, we’ve recorded with Matt [Bodiam] at the Arty.”

According to Wagner, the songs on the band’s debut album No One Gets Lost Anymore span a pretty broad timeframe with some having been written at the tender age of 16, and others literally a week before heading into The Arthouse studio.

“About half the songs were written when I was living at the Birmingham Hotel. That was a crazy time for me as I was playing so many shows and living in such a wonderful community, which was destroyed by outside forces almost as quickly as it was established. But the friends I made in that time and the memories of that time will stay with me forever. Having such a wealth of creativity at your fingertips meant that despite the excesses of living above a pub, I got a lot done. I think my favourite song on the album is When I Was a Boy, I Thought I Was a Fish. It’s about that summer we spent staying up all night on roofs and when the band was first getting off the ground. It was such an exciting time that this song sort of became an introduction to who we are, where we are from and what we’re trying to do.”

Just as the last official recording laid down at The Arthouse was, Wagner describes the experience of recording the album as very emotional for all those involved.

“I always feel uncomfortable talking about how much I loved The Arthouse because I’m 21; I’ve only been going there for three years, whereas other people have been there since day one and helped build the most amazing community and environment. Obviously I loved every second I spent in the place and miss it. Every time I walk past and see the ‘For Lease’ signs on the windows it makes me so angry that it’s lying vacant. But it wasn’t the building that defined The Arthouse it was the people and if we have learnt anything from them and if we miss it and love it half asmuch as we say we do, then it’s our responsibility to take the lineage and create something ourselves.”

It’s been a difficult time, to say the least, as A.D.I.T.F.’s bassist Andy Hayden agrees. With drummer Matt Bodiam and guitarist Atom having both lived and worked at The Arthouse for many years 2011 has seen a painful goodbye.

“The first part of 2011 has also been really hectic for them,” says Hayden. “There was a massive few months of farewell shows and then there was plenty of work involved in packing up and moving out of the building once the venue closed its doors. We’ve only just kicked off writing for our next record too, but it’s at an early stage with plenty of ‘bits’ but not a whole lot of structure. On this tour we’ll mix up the set to include something from all releases and few oldies that we haven’t played for a while. If you’re really lucky, we might throw in some awkward banter and feedback.”


Catching up with old mate Davey Burdon [ex-Leatherface] on the Poison City Winter Tour is going to be another bonus, according to Hayden.

“Davey is a total champion. It’s going to be great to hang out with him again and I’m really excited to see Former Cell Mates playing down here. I’ve only seen them play once in Berlin when I was there on holidays: they blew my doors off! We’ve been trying to arrange dates with FCM for the past few years, so really happy that it’s finally worked out.”

So too is Davey Burdon himself – so long as nobody thinks Former Cell Mates are “rubbish” when they make their debut in Australia – chiming in: “It’d be a shame – it’s a long way to travel for people to throw rotten tomatoes at us. We’re all pretty familiar with Australia; we collectively love Neighbours, Chopper and INXS. I’ve toured Australia before and I love it. I’m really pleased that this time we have a few days off. I first met A Death In The Family around 2004, I think, in Australia, then we spent a month in Europe together a few years later. They are wonderful, beautiful individuals with a massive lust for life whom I admire and respect… which almost lets me forgive them for that wretched ball of confusion they call the ‘music’ they make. I’m only familiar with The Smith Street Bands’ music, I’m lookin’ forward to meeting them though. They look tough.”