Raised in Salford but with a swagger to rival any band on the other side of the River Irwell, The Nankeens are one of the more diverse bands gracing the stages across Greater Manchester. Similar to Puppet Rebellion in that they aren't afraid to crank their amps up or dial down and showing their softer side, The Nankeens have been gathering both fans and momentum over the course of the last eighteen months or so, with their most recent shows “leaving the crowd screaming for more”. Furthermore, local label Scruff of the Neck have also caught wind of the buzz surrounding the band, suggesting that 2014 might very well be the year everything comes up Nankeen.
With label interest behind, the band show no signs of slowing down. Having just come out of the studio after recording their second EP, The Nankeens look set to build on an already solid catalogue of tracks. The most recent of which, 'Scenester' featuring an Arctic Monkey's-inspired drawl draped lazily across a chunky bassline and frenetic guitars. A far cry from softer, more candid tracks such as 'I'm Not Playing', a track from their first EP, Autonomy, a fitting name for a record which set them apart from many of their contemporaries, and featured the stripped down and simply titled 'Ukelele Song'. Whilst it could easily have given itself over in to somewhat of a parody, it maintains a complete degree of sincerity and as such is a stand out track in the band's catalogue, despite it's potential flippancy. Another track worth mentioning is 'Reaper' a track which brings to mind Aha Shake Heartbreak-era Kings of Leon before veering into some almost-shoegaze style guitars.
While the overall sound of The Nankeens isn't ground-breaking, both the energy and conviction, and at times the emotional candour, that the band possess makes them stand head and shoulders above some of the very bands they share stages with. It's music for the every-man, there are no added pretensions, no unwarranted ego. Sure their SoundCloud page might well purport that they already deserve the attention they get, but to put it bluntly, they're right. And whilst Manchester already has it's fair share of indie bands, very few stand out the way The Nankeens do, and though they might already have predicted it themselves, they certainly have a bright future ahead them.
U&I: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out to have a chat with us. U&I: First of all, what's the story behind your name? A quick Google search tells me nankeens are in fact a type of trousers, care to elaborate?
Adam Darby: Well nankeen is a type of Cotton, we did a little research on the mill the we have our rehearsal room in and that is one of the things it used to make back in the day.
U&I: Being from Salford, do you find that people expect your sound to be more in fitting with a certain other band, and are they surprised when they find out how different you are from said band?
AD: I wouldn't say people expect it but I do think they're surprised when they hear us. We don't tow the typical Salford/Manchester line when it comes to our music but I think there is just enough in there.
U&I: You've been in the studio recently recording a new EP, what can we expect from those sessions?
AD: Yeah we've just finished recording a six track EP in The Motor Museum studio. It went really well and is by far our best work to date. It's got two tracks that we don't play live so it's something new for the regulars that come to our gigs, too.
U&I: I've seen talk online surrounding you and local label Scruff of the Neck, include the hashtag #newproject. What's happening there then?
AD: Well at present we haven't got any plans in place with Scruff of the Neck. We've finished recording the EP and once it's been mastered we're going to be looking to see if we can get someone to release it for us. So if there's anyone out there interested reading this, give us a shout!
AD: Yeah we had a really good night, we were out all day with a gang of mates and just carried it on straight to the gig. The crowd were ace and it was good to feed off their energy. The gig was being filmed/documented too, so hopefully that will come across on the video.
As for the noise complaint, I think everyone in Manchester thinks the same - why move into somewhere above a music venue and then complain about the noise? It's ridiculous and hopefully will get laughed out of court, if it gets that far.
U&I: Local band The Ninth Watch were also on the bill that night, and have previously been featured in this very column, but what other local bands are on the up at the moment? Anyone you feel our listeners should be hearing and that you want to big up?
AD: Well I think everyone should check out our mates Skinny Roller who are just starting to make a name for themselves. We have got a headline show at Gorilla in Manchester on the 17th May and we have got them in supporting us along with The High Nines. We also recently got The Fallows on with us at our first gig of the year who were really good, were hoping to do some more gig's with them this year so keep your eyes out for that. Also we have done a few gig's with Jordan Allen recently who is definitely on the up at the moment, you will be hearing more and more of him soon.
U&I: Obviously you've played your fair share of gigs over the last couple of years, but what's your favourite venue to play at? Is it different than your preferred venue to watch a gig at?
AD: Well we don't have a particular favourite, as they have have there own individual feel. A few of our faves recently have been The Castle Hotel and The Eagle Inn for smaller venues, and The Deaf Institute and Night and Day have the best vibe for the middle size venues.
U&I: Your gigs have been fantastically well received of late (and even before that). What have you got lined up over the next couple of months in terms of live stuff? Any festivals planned?
AD: We are hoping to get on to some of the smaller festivals and we're playing a few events at media city again this year once summer arrives. Like I mentioned before, we have our biggest headline show to date on the 17th at Gorilla which will be one you don't want to miss.
U&I: (Whilst you're from Salford and I'm bending the rules a little bit this month, I still think this question is pertinent) Manchester is obviously a city full of up-coming talent across a multitude of genres, but what do you think it is about the city that makes it such a fertile place for a young band to find their roots in?
AD: I think it's just down to the sheer amount of live music venues, there is such a massive unsigned scene in Manchester I mean you could gig 7 nights a week if you really wanted to and the talent is better than most of the signed bands out there. Also the endless list of massive bands that have come out of Manchester and Salford play a big part in inspiring and influencing people to have a go them self, that's how i got started anyway
U&I: Finally any news or exclusives we haven't covered that you'd like to leave our readers with?
AD: Well our newly recorded EP is going to be called Blisters, and we're hoping to have a limited release on vinyl so keep your ears and eyes open.
U&I: Thanks guys, it's been a pleasure.
Photos: Trust A Fox Photography
This interview was originally conducted for U&I Music Magazine. Click here to check out this April's issue in full.