After doing the rounds in the heady days of Britpop its time for the resurrection of Straw. Now signed to Columbia Records the new material has seen lazy comparisons to the likes of Travis and Coldplay. True, the music may be drenched in melancholy and acoustic guitars - but that's where the comparisons end. New single "Sailing Off The Edge Of The World" has seen heavy rotation on Radio 2 which has seen the band successfully shake of the teen band tag of the debut album. Its all about honesty and being yourself according to Straws drummer boy Andy.
Q: How does it feel to be back on the scene?
A: Its good, yer know. It gives you a different perspective if you've been round it once kind of thing. Basically we don't get our hopes up maybe as much as first time round. Were just more honest and aware of what we can do and can't do, were aware of our limitations.
Nowadays were just concentrating on putting on the best live shows we can and making the best album that we could. I think we've done that. We've got rid of a few of the gimmicks of the first album and just concentrated on trying to write good songs that hopefully people are going to like.
I think the main change is the honesty has come across more in the band. Its not trying to create something else - we are what we are!!!
Q: At times Straw mk1 and Straw mk2 can sound like 2 completely different bands. Would you agree?
A: I think its still there. The sentiment of the vocals, the melody and the words are still there. I think the first album was a bit too dressed up whereas this one we just concentrated on what we are and what we could do.
Were able to play the songs live pretty much the way they sound on the record, whereas on the first album we weren't able to really do that. It was "Oh My God!!! We've got a string section and all sort of stuff".
It seems as if we've been a round along time but I think we are being touted as a new band. A lot of the people that are coming to the gigs haven't heard the first album and as soon as they hear about it they'll go out and buy it. Its real nice that people can go out and discover.
Q: I think this time its been based more on the songwriting than the image. Was this the plan?
A: Well we did the whole record company dressing us up and telling us what to wear and found it wasn't us. We just weren't comfortable with it cos were honest people, very genuine people and we can only do what we can do.
There's no point in trying to be a boy band and there is no point in trying to dance around and do all that kind of shit. We just want to get up and play like the people we are influenced by. If people like are songs fine, if they don't that's fine - were not going to force it down peoples throats.
Its still nice in the respect that we can get teenage girls in the front row. Were all good Christian Service men though. I think the audience is changing a bit, Radio 2 are well into us, and were not so much a teen band as maybe we were touted as on the first album. I think we'd like to be seen as more of an albums band than a singles band.
Q: You must be pretty confident that the single "Sailing....." will do well, after last year with Coldplay and more recently with Papa Roach and Wheatus.
A: Obviously we hope the single to do well because aside from anything we think its a fantastic song and we'd like people to hear it. Also I think it would be good for the British music scene but at the moment we seem to be getting labelled with "we got the Travis album for Christmas" and the Coldplay album. Its not the case at all and this album was written before Travis even came about.
Matty who writes the songs has never even heard of Coldplay and he's only heard the singles from Travis. I think its interesting when a new band comes through everyone just immediately says "you're just trying to be the new Travis". I think its fantastic what Travis and Coldplay have done and for that I doff my cap but were certainly not trying to sound like them.
Q: For many music fans the first time they would have seen you may have been on the Toploader / Reef supports. What can they expect from the "Keepsakes" album?
A: Like I said earlier on its simply the best album we could make. We stripped it down and did a lot of experimentation when we were writing the album. I would say its a bit more together than the first album. The first album was a bit more eclectic and it was all over the shop.
This one has got a couple of rocky tracks on but the majority of it is kind of acoustic driven songs. "Flowers On The Lampost", "Negative of Love", "Sailing..." - I think it all fits together a lot more. Its a mellow album. The first album was like Crazeeee, all a bit Bart Simpson socks. Now we've found what we are and I think people are respecting that.
Q: But surely you have your rock & roll tales?
A: Were not really a rock & roll band to be honest. I think that rock & roll thing is made up and its all attitude. That's what I was trying to say earlier on about the honesty of the band. We don't feel the need to do any of that. Were all comfortable with ourselves and comfortable with each other and sure we get pissed up, have a smoke and have a laugh.
I think that attitude thing is wearing a bit thin when you see Liam Gallagher walking in all big. When he first started doing it I used to think it was fantastic, sure its Ian Brown, he was doing it in a cool way. Now its a bit passé. Were more a cup of cocoa and a good book type of band.
All I want is for people to buy our album and think its really good cos I do. It would be nice to go round to someone's house that you don't know and they have your album in your collection - that to me is success. Its not big cars, big houses and going out with one of the All Saints. People coming up to me and saying "I really like your album. I put it on when i have a shag or when I go to sleep" - that would be nice.
For More Info on Straw check out
Sony Music UK