Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis, Doves....you might as well add the name The Cardinals to that illustrious list right now. Just a few months ago the band were holed up in the studio recording their debut album with Ian Broudie and Youth and then as rumour has it an A&R meeting turn physical and their relationship with label B-Unique soon started to sour. For most bands this would have been the end, the point where they give up on the rock'n'roll dream. For the Cardinals they'd done as they'd always had and gone back to the four of them - Seven, Rez, Joe and Lee - the unbreakable gang. Designer Magazine's Alex McCann caught up with Seven prior to this years In The City show.
Q: One of the last gigs we saw the Cardinals at ended with the band jumping off stage and decking a heckler. Didn't it have something to do with you and Joe shagging half of the Hollyoaks cast?
A: It was certainly an eventful gig! The thing is Joe is a pretty boy but needs to realize that shagging girls with boyfriends always get messy. I on the other hand would never get CAUGHT doing such a dirty act....the truth is we didn't like the heckler, he was f*cking ugly and we found that quite insulting so Joe politely asked him to leave. We thank him and his friends for the £6 they paid to get in though. The Cardinals are a rock 'n' roll band and mayhem is always around the next corner and although that gig was a little shambolic we're certainly not Babyshambles - THANKGOD!
Q: We know the story, but there's various rumours being spread around by bitter Manc bands about The Cardinals and B-Unique. Would you like to clear it up with why you really decided to leave the label?
A: Quite simply we decided it just wasn't working. We could list many reasons where they failed us but in short we didn't feel that they were giving us the time and resources that we needed to succeed. We took the decision that they weren't the right label for this band. It wasn't a simple case of B-unique just releasing us, we fought for months to get out of this deal.
B-unique when they get it right, like with the Kaisers, are a great label but sometimes labels have a very different vision to that of the band. It felt like they were trying to lead some kind of britpop revival and that is something we weren't that comfortable with. But these things happen and we will just move on.
Thankfully we spent our time with B-unique very productively and wrote alot of very strong songs, that we are sure of. Choosing a definitive 12 is going to be impossible but we will have some killer B-sides. We know where this band is going and we will never stop fighting for it. The trouble we had with B-unique has made us more hungry and really address what is important to us, and that is ultimately the music.
As for the bitter mancs, some of the rumours that have reached me have been mildly amusing. If some of these idiots spent as much time concentrating on their own bands as they did on ours, they might have written half a decent song by now.
Q: And also I believe there was the fact you just didn't get on with the likes of The Ordinary Boys and Kaiser Chiefs?
A: To be honest their music offends me and i think all of them have had their souls raped by Suggs. Seriously though, i have ultimate respect for The Kaisers. They have had their fair share of shit with Parva but they kept fighting and here they are selling a million records. They're a message of hope to all bands but they're not as good as wings!
Q: Now B-Unique are out of the picture what's the state of play with labels - are any waiting to sign you up?
A: Yeah we've been speaking to quite a few but its just a case of wading through the bullshit this time. Getting another deal is not really a problem, its getting the right one with a label that shares our vision. We don't need to rush in to anything. If the album comes out next year then so be it, great songs should be timeless. It not like we need to jump onto the back of any scene. We're just concentrating on finding more great melodies and putting on bigger and better shows , the industry side will take care of its self because we are a sound investment!
Q: Some people may not realize how long the band have been together for. Designer Magazine did your first ever interview about 3 or 4 years ago. A lot of people have been in 4 or 5 bands in this period, why is it that Cardinals have always had that group mentality?
A: This is our first ever band, we started this as a group of friends and we couldn't even play. We made a pact early on never to give up on each other and that has remained true. We've all been through the mill in our personal life's and the band has always been there to pick up the pieces. We fucking love each other and the thought of stepping on stage with anyone else sickens me. We've seen each other grow so much. I don't think there is a better guitarist in the world then Rez and our rhythm section is fucking great. We're lucky that we have always kept our focus and still all share the dream. I feel i am part of something special, our bond is unbreakable and we all live and breath our music. So friendship, vision and respect has kept us together over the years but we're not the rolling stones quite yet, me and Joe are still only 23! despite the bitter manc rumours.
Q: Take us through how the Cardinals have changed over the years, including the miserable Manc phase?
A: When we started we didn't have a clue but we actually had some pretty catchy songs. Our influences have always been vast so its hard to pin our sound down. We were originally a pop band but we got very disillusioned with certain things in life and had a very morbid six months when we made elbow sound like megadeath! Those days are over thank god, and we're now writing uplifting epic anthems. There is no agenda in our writing its just a natural process that we don't try to over control. Sometimes its pure escapism, sometimes it deals with issues straight on. I'm sure when we've sold a million records and we're shagging supermodels the miserable mancs in us will burst out once again.
Q: Why the name change to Seven?
A: So astute journos such as yourself can proceed it with the word 'magnificent.' Ego aside, all i can say is i had a calling. Some people find god, i found my identity.
Q: When you sign to a label or release it yourself what song is likely to be the first single? Tell us about it?
A: Looks like the first single will be released this year on a independent to get us out there. Its likely to be 'All Talk' or 'People Follow' The first is about the uncertainty of a new relationship. It deals with the insecurities you have and how you sometimes just have to blag it and inevitably get found out. 'People Follow' is another epic, stomping anthem. Its all about how people are manipulated by the media and those around them and very few take their own path in life. Its taken on a different meaning to us now with the B-unique situation. It feels like an angry reaction to it.
Q: We've been hearing "All Talk", "Call To Arms" and "Don't Talk To Us" for the past few months. What new songs are you working on?
A: We've been demoing 4-5 new songs that we are very excited about. There's one called 'so here we are' which is the best thing we've ever written and a definite future single. One with the working title of 'goodnight' features some of reza's finest guitar work to date. Its hard to say what the new material sounds like, i suppose its just us but a little bit bigger. In fact they sound huge! We're just going to keep creating and eventually discover that perfect melody.
Q: It's coming up to ITC and The Cardinals are headlining Break In The City's Artist Rising / Designer Magazine Night on Oct 3rd. What Manchester bands would you recommend we check out and which should we stay clear of?
A: Are there any real manchester bands here?? All the ones we know are students who have come from all over the country. I saw one the other day that was like the fucking United Nations! the singer was japanese, the drummer was Icelandic - it feels like we're the only 100% manc band left.
In terms of who to avoid, i always steer clear of anyone in too tight jeans or anyone who has a hint of the levellers about them. You know who i mean Alex!
Q: "Smelly Piece Of Cheese", a working title, is going to receive it's live debut at the Designer Magazine's gig on Nov 22nd at Night & Day. Tell us about your future number 1 single?
A: This was a song we demoed over Christmas but we never got a version we were fully happy with. It had been disregarded but everyone keeps telling us its a hit so we might give it another go. Whether we play it after the Designer Magazine gig depends on if the night 'n' day is evacuated due to the unbearable stench of melting cheddar!
I'm sure its a hit but so was the f*cking 'birdy song' so this might be the only time you will get to hear it unless we sell it to Ronan!
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com
The Cardinals play Break In The City's Artist Rising on Monday October 3rd at Walkabout
They also play Night & Day as part of their birthday celebrations on Nov 22nd
For more info
Click here to leave your Cardinals comments on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)