Pete talks to Allo Darlin' about second album difficulties, Indietracks success and playing Derbyshire twice in just over two months.
It's a balmy Saturday night and Derby's Silk Mill Museum is literally full of indie-pop enthusiasts, waiting eagerly to be entertained. Tonight's show is a sell-out and latecomers are being turned away, which is testament to the level of anticipation for this evening's headliners; Allo Darlin'.
The evening is young however, and as openers, 'August Actually' take to the stage, we sit down with the part-Aussie, part-British quartet, amid old motorcycles and machinery in the bowels of the museum. Elizabeth Morris (vocals, guitar), Bill Botting (bass) and Paul Rains (guitar) seem to be in high spirits and are more than happy to talk with us, smiling and laughing in the dimly lit surroundings.
We start with talk of the band's fantastic new album, 'Europe' which came out in May of this year to rave reviews as well as being made album of the month by Rough Trade upon it's release. Recorded in two seperate sessions and at two different studios, Europe was recorded with a different mentality to that of their debut, self-titled album.
Botting explains, "It was probably more difficult to make than the first one" with Rains adding, "I think we were more aware we were making an album this time" referring to the fact that the creation of their first record took place with an air of uncertainty.
On the subject of difficult-second-album syndrome, band founder, Morris speaks frankly about the potential pitfalls that come with a growing fan base. "We were so overwhelmed with our audience, but it’s wonderful to know that you have one. It makes it more difficult, for sure - and particularly for me writing songs, because you’re tempted to start pandering to an audience rather than being honest".
However, the added pressure doesn't appear to have had an adverse effect and it is evident that Allo Darlin' are more than pleased with what they've created. "It’s definitely had a better critical reception than the first album” says Morris, “we wanted to make the best album we possibly could at that time, and I think we've done that".
We continue to chat and talk turns to tonight's show and how this isn't the first time they've played in Derbyshire this year, having played Indietracks in July. We ask Rains what it was like to get the biggest and probably most enthusiastic crowd of the weekend to which he humbly responds; "We feel incredibly lucky. Because the last time was so successful, we were always worried whether or not the second time would match that". He continues "we wanted to make it even better than last time and I think we achieved that”.
Morris talks about how she remembers the festival most for a particularly joyous second half of the set; "About half way through our set we were told we had to wrap up and we thought we'd really stuffed up" she says, "but then the crowd were gutted and the organisers told us we could play for another twenty minutes and it was like a proper party because we felt like we were on borrowed time!".
Finally, as lauders of all things local, we feel it only right that we ask the group about their feelings on Derbyshire, having now played the county twice in as many months. "We went to the QUAD café that was really nice!" says Botting, with Morris adding "Derby’s really pretty and this place (the Silk Mill) is amazing and it’s a real thrill to play here”. "There’s nothing cooler than playing a venue that’s got a propeller and a jet engine!” agrees Rains.
And with that, we adjourn to the aforementioned jet engine room for a couple of photos before the band's set. The set in question lives up to all of the hyperbole, with a mixture of new and old material which has the entire crowd enraptured throughout. Dancing, clapping, singing and smiling appear to be the done things and as the band depart the stage, they are of course begged for more. Morris obliges, reappearing for a solo rendition of the beautiful and emotional, 'Tallulah' before bidding a final farewell to the Silk Mill audience.
You can find out more about Allo Darlin' and book tickets for their remaining tour dates via their website. Europe and the first single from it, 'Capricornia', can be purchased from the groups Bandcamp page.
Photography: Holly Booth