Deer Shed is without a doubt, a very unique festival experience, it’s ability to mix great music with a family friendly atmosphere is a trait that is far and few between when it comes to festivals. Throughout the weekend I didn't have to wait in one que (i'm still amazed at this) I could sit on a deck chair without fearing I would be thrown off or sit in something pretty disgusting, and I had the best sleep at a festival I think I've ever had- Although the team who went to Summer Saturnalia boasted they slept in till 10... Lazy bastards.
Musically, there was no shortage of variation throughout the weekend. From the folk styling’s of Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles (who had a touch of White Lies to them), all the way through to the laid back indie rock produced by Cherry Ghost, there’s something for everyone with each headliner bringing their own vibe to their headline slots. Despite a few technical glitches, Saint Etienne powered through their set admirably with their synth pop music delighting young and old(er) alike. Each song brought a wave of nostalgia and giddying dancing throught the crowd, with Sarah projecting her powerful yet raw, sultry vocals into the night. Saturday night saw one of the best bands of the weekend, Villagers, take to the stage. Their unique sound proved a treat to fans and non-fans alike with beautiful tracks ‘Becoming a jackal’ and ‘The Pact’ encapsulating the audience, resulting in them leaving the stage to a rapturous applause. The Final Band of the weekend, Cherry Ghost, prove to be the perfect remedy for any suffers of a Saturday night hangover. Coming from the same north-west breed as Elbow and Doves, the anthemic nature of their songs provide a fitting backdrop to end a brilliant weekend.
We managed to grab an interview with the astounding Dutch Uncles after their pulse-raising set.
Chris: How was the set?
Robin Richards: I think we started off a bit rusty, it was our first gig for a while, but I think we got into it by the end.
Duncan Wallis: [laughs]
RR: We played everything about 5 times as fast as it should be played!
Chris: You use a lot of atypical time signatures in your music, whilst still maintaining an element of pop music, What's your inspiration?
RR: That kind of side comes from bands like King Crimson. Y’know, the ability to write in a weird time signature and still get people to dance to it.
Chris: Despite coming from Marple, Stockport, your first self-titled album was released on the German label, Tapete records, how did that come about?
DW: Basically, we had a manager, who was looking after a number of bands, and Tapete wanted an English band on their label. They were like, ‘hey we really want your Scottish band’...what were they called?
RR: Pop Up
DW: Pop Up, and it was like ‘Nah they’re already signed, I’ve got this other band from Manchester’ and they go, ‘oh Manchester, everyone loves Manchester!’ So, we get signed to them, were invited out on tour, and offered a four album deal. We couldn't do that though... that’s a lifetime, you've no idea what that’s going to entail. Basically we had one gig as Dutch Uncles that was filmed, for local T.V.
RR: Our first gig as Dutch Uncles.
DW: And they saw that on the internet, and came back and said, ‘alright just do one album instead’
RR: We changed our name (to Dutch Uncles) in April 2008, and then literally started recording in August.
DW: It all moved very fast, we actually recorded the 10 songs that we had... just a bit too quickly.
Chris: You have two full albums out at the moment, what’s your music writing process normally like?
DW: Bit traditional really, well... traditional in the Manchester sense I think! It’s usually been like, writing duo’s. Within bands like Joy Division probably jamming it all out, you always get the impression it was Bernard doing the main thing.
RR: Starting it out for them.
DW: Yeah. I think basically there is the idea of, where we stick to that sort of traditional lineage. It’s the music first, then the vocals afterwards, y’know? Make the masterpiece happen, and then, just try and slot in the vocals where possible, because with the atypical signatures it becomes my job to make it as digestible as possible and I quite like that. It takes a while sometimes, and other times it takes 5 minutes.
Chris: You played a fair few festivals last year, such as Leeds and Reading, including stage headline slots and Bestival and Latitude, how does these festivals compare to smaller ones such as Deer Shed?
RR: Compare this (Deer Shed) stage to Bestival, similar sized stage, but we were on at 1 in the morning at Bestival, playing to a load of drugged up teenagers so y’know.
DW: Were they all drugged up? Did you drug them all up?
RR: Yeah. I asked them all yeah... But obviously here we’re playing to a much younger audience.
DW: I guess the name of a festival can really put it in your head, and when we played Leeds Festival, for example, that’s the festival we used to go to when we were in college just wanting to be a band saying, ‘we will play here’, so that really encourages you to do stuff. It’s not discouraging at all, to play in a festival like Deer Shed. When I first saw the stage I was like, ‘that's a really cosy looking place, with a nice atmosphere’, it’s all good.
Chris: Any other festivals or gigs planned this year?
Both: Nope [Laughs}
RR: Quite a dry summer for us.
DW: We’ve actually been finishing our latest album, It’s ready now, just somewhere tucked away, there should be a single out in a couple of months, but I do think there’s going to be a tour before the year’s out, only a small one, not a proper tour.
RR: We’re gonna spend the rest of the summer writing the fourth album, all work and no play!
At £69 per adult ticket, it’s undeniably good value, wrapping it up with great accessibility and camping facilities, this is definitely a festival you don’t want to miss come 2013.