BounceSin: Rob Allen, Thanks for taking some time out to talk to BounceSin Magazine today. The good thing about catching you on your own is that there’ll be nothing lost in…
Rob: Yeah! No mistranslations!
BounceSin: Hah! Yeah! So, Chicago and Minneapolis a couple of weeks back, Amsterdam only a few days ago and now the UK to kick off the European Walkabout tour…
Rob: Yeah, Amsterdam was mainly press and promo stuff – that was kind of fun. We did do some radio with 3FM and in between songs they would play there own promo bits – It was like “BSHOO-BOOM-BAM” and we were all just sitting there like “What the hell was that?!”… Sounded like a jumbo come out of nowhere.
BounceSin: A surprise then? Hah! So in the lead up to tonight’s event, how have the last few weeks been for you?
Rob: Eeeer… Hectic to be honest with you, very busy! We did seven weeks in the States and that was gruelling to be honest - in a good way – it was just that, normally you do about four or five week tours but because we hadn’t toured round the States for a while we wanted to go and play as much as possible…
*Eric returns from sound check with Cello and Guitar*
Rob: Oi! Keep it down will ya?
Eric: Oh, are you being interviewed?
Rob: Yeeeah! It’s for VanityRob.com
BounceSin: Yeah! @RobsMoments! Hey Eric, nice to see you. Sound-check going okay? Any pre-gig nerves?
Eric: Yeah, thanks! Somehow a three or four hour sound check is still not enough time! And No, not really nerves just wanna make sure everything goes like we planned! Better get going!
BounceSin: Okay, good luck! And obviously, Rob, you guys SMASHED the American tour with tickets selling out really quickly, is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to in Europe?
Rob: Erm, well we always have fun… I have to watch my words when I say this… but when you look at the size of America and then the UK it’s like… half the size. In some places in Europe people are more reserved and then in other places it would be… well NUTS! It was a bit like that in the States. So some were more rowdy than we expected and others were less so… After a couple of promos in Berlin and London… I think London sold out in about 4 minutes! That was a wonderful achievement… and the same in Berlin, really; quick sell-out and the gig just WENT OFF! Initially we didn’t know what to expect but they were both just great! After that, I mean, we were playing at a 650 capacity venue and they bumped us up to a 1,200-1,300 venue, which was great.
BounceSin: I bet! And you’ve got 23 gigs to enjoy in the coming months, many places of which you’ve visited before, the world must really have started feeling like your oyster, how surreal is it to be constantly on the move?
Rob: Yeah, a lot of places we’ve visited already and you don’t always get as much time as you’d like to see the places. Hopefully the Walkabout bus route will allow us a few hours in the morning to see the cities a bit. Of course, I’ve been doing this for a while with Augustines - and before that, Pela - so it’s not surreal. I don’t think this lifestyle is for everyone, it is fatiguing but, you know, as we grow and learn everyone gets to know their needs, whether it’s alone time or vitamins to make sure you’re on your game every day.
BounceSin: Hah, I remember Eric mentioning in another interview about how he’s often asking to nick a couple of your tablets!
Rob: Yeah! I’m gonna have to hide them now.
BounceSin: Hah! So, let’s talk about the Album. The working title changed from ‘Now you are Free’ to the self-entitled ‘Augustines’. How significant is the band and album name change for you guys?
Rob: Ah! It’s Massive! ‘Cause when we started it was ‘Augustines’ right? Imagine you’re in school and your teacher says *Rob cracks out the convincing high-pitched tone of a patronising teacher* “Okay Laurence, we’ve got another Laurence so you’re going to have to change your name” – You’d say “No, Bollocks! That’s my name” right? So that’s essentially what happened, there was a band using a similar name and we were forced to change it. It was all done amicably of course and we eventually decided on ‘We Are Augustines’. After a couple of years, the other band decided on a new direction and said we’re welcome to have our name back and, of course, we were like “aaaabsolutely”. We’re over the moon to be honest because, you know, it was OUR NAME and the self-titled record reinforces that.
BounceSin: From ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ - an album born out of a lot of tragedy and loss for Augustines. How do you feel your own individual characters, as well as your songs, have matured?
Rob: You’re always growing, you know, and always trying to better yourself. All the things we spoke about in ‘Rise’ were real-life things and we wouldn’t wish anyone in the world to go through those experiences again. Of course, we were never going to be able to re-write an album like ‘Rise’. So it’s been more about moving forward and, you know, there are still real life stories in there but it’s much more about looking forward and what’s next, really.
BounceSin: Yeah! It must be an exciting time - the transition has been described as ‘kicking against horror, surging towards glory’ by Drowned in Sound, so hopefully that’s prophetic!
Rob: Yeah, I like that! Very poetic!
BounceSin: And Billy described your music as being like a ‘Fourth Member of the family’ – If your music was indeed a person, what do you think they would be like?
Rob: Oh Jesus!... erm…. Oh Goodness… Bloody hell! I could try and say Uncle John but you wouldn’t know who that is and I could say a famous person but I only know the perception of that person and not who they actually are… so to be honest I couldn’t answer that question. Haha, could you?
BounceSin: Perhaps not someone in particular but they’d certainly have thoughtful and insightful characteristics! They’d be optimistic following some hard times and… I feel like Augustines are a little like Modest Mouse and Okkervil River but pulled together?
Rob: Oh, there you go! Put that in Haha! I’m a big fan of modest mouse! I’ve never seen them but it’s one of my hopes!
BounceSin: So, you’ve achieved a hell of a lot in the last 3 years - like appearing on Late Night with David Letterman and winning the best music video award from Los Angeles Art House festival! I’m sure there are immeasurable amounts of success to come… If you could jump a year back in time or a year forward in your career, what would you choose and why?
Rob: Always forward! Aaalways forward!
BounceSin: So, enjoy the memories but strive onwards yeah?
Rob: Yeah, I mean, we don’t have that luxury in life and you get old, you make mistakes, you have good days, bad days, good calls, bad calls, and I’d never change anything. Whatever happens bad or good it shapes who you are and there are always things you’d like to change and you can’t. You have to accept that that’s part of it and I’d never go back, no. Whatever journey each of us has taken, or anything that’s happened, it shapes where we are now. I’m all about positivity and going forward!
BounceSin: That’s lovely! So, final question, if you had all of your fans in one big room, what thoughts or messages would you like to share with them?
Rob: Well, I’d say thank you for the support for one thing. If anything I’ve learnt that erm… err… *Pause*… you were talking about fatigue before? Haha!… you’re seeing it now!... I haven’t really had much chance to get a good sleep… I slept alright last night but… haven’t really slept for 9 weeks hah… But, no, what I’ve been saying to myself is that you have to work hard and do the best you can. As humans we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, whether it’s the work life or relationships and, you know, my whole approach is that you’re never going to crack it or get everything right. You’re never gonna figure everything out, it’s never gonna happen, you’re gonna try, you’re gonna make mistakes and you’re gonna fuck things up and, on the other hand, you’re gonna smash stuff and kill it as well! So my message would be, always keep your head up, keep working hard, and going towards your focuses and the most important thing is, while you’re doing it, be loving and very nice! Because… I’ll tell you what mate, that makes a hell of a difference, it really does. You know, manners, and being polite and doing everything with love seems to make things lovely! It’s nice… it feels good!
BounceSin: It’s nice to be nice!
Rob: Yes! It is!
BounceSin: Very true! So you must be excited to get started with the tour and we know you’ve had aspiration to do a bit of crowd surfing which you didn’t manage before!
Rob: I know! I had the PERFECT opportunity to do it and I bottled it! D’you know what happened?!
BounceSin: Didn’t you lose your shirt at one point?
Rob: Yeah! So I was gonna go and I was all excited so I whipped my shirt off and – no-one needs to see that – which was the stupidest thing because it was one of my favourite shirts and then I ran down to the dressing room which was LOCKED! Turned around and I’m stood outside the girls toilets, half-naked and women are coming along saying ‘Oh Hi! Great Show!’ Haha! “Yeah, thanks”!
BounceSin: Didn’t offer a private show then? You were half way there anyway!
Rob: Haha! Yeah, well, whether they wanted it or not they were getting it!
You coming to the show tonight?
BounceSin: Yeah, of course! Looking forward to it!
Love the dressing room here as well, looks like an alien bunker!
Rob: Yeah, it is a bit like a WWII shelter isn’t it?
BounceSin: Must feel pretty safe from groupies in here?
Rob: Hah, Yeah, it’s kind of cool. Actually, we played in Hamburg with the Maccabees – they’re great, lovely boys – at a place directly translated as ‘the bunker’ and, after Britain bombed Berlin, Hitler was so fucking annoyed and pissed off – Sorry I’m a bit of a history buff Haha – and he decided that it wasn’t going to happen again and so built these massive concrete fortresses all around Germany – he planned to build around 23, I think… I can’t remember the number but yeah… he only managed about half of them. Anyway, these fortresses are so big they couldn’t destroy them or knock them down as it would completely ruin the foundations of the cities so a lot of them have been turned into apartments etc. but this particular one is a music venue with music studios, a music school, basically a massive music place and… it’s EERY! That was one of my favourite places. Just the history of the place was incredible! So if you find yourself in Hamburg! Go there!
BounceSin: I was actually in Hamburg for the 2010 Europa League final but… was too depressed by Fulham’s pathetic defeat to catch up on the history side of things, haha!
Rob: Ah, I didn’t know you were a football fan!
BounceSin: Well, the way this season is going, I don’t really like to admit it! Are you a football boy then?
Rob: Yeah, I don’t really talk about it too much… some people take it a little too far but I’m an Arsenal fan… not doing so well! Started alright… typical Arsenal! Haha!
BounceSin: Cracking! It’s been great to chat! Best of luck for tonight and once again, thank you so much for taking time out to speak to BounceSin Magazine today!
Rob: Cheers me ol’ pal! Hopefully it goes well!
AND trust me... It did!