Folk Rockers Patch and the Giant have brought their foot stomping, beer chugging, joke cracking indie act across the UK in several festivals and tour stops over the years before finally settling into the studio for a bit. Before multi-instrumentalists Luke Owen (lead vocals, guitar, mandolin), Angie Rance (trumpet, flugelhorn, accordion, piano, vocals, harmonica), Gabriel Merryfield (violin, drums), Nick Harris (bass guitar, percussion, harmonica, vocals), and Derek Yau (cello, double bass, piano) released their debut record, All That We Had, We Stole, on Feb. 10, they talked to Rawckus about their acute kleptomania, life on the road, and birthing the child that is their first album.
Rawckus: Since you started promoting All That We Had, We Stole, the things you’ve all confessed to stealing have included a wooden giraffe, a metronome, and a birthday card. Admittedly I get a rush out of stealing salt and pepper grinders from restaurants. What was stolen to make this album?
Nick: The band members, myself included. When I met the guys I was focused entirely on my own solo music and was not looking to join a band. Like many others, I was drugged and absorbed into the fold. Fortunately, this turned out to be a great thing. 80 percent of the band has been stolen from other bands. It's like we were headhunted by drunks.
The song “For Gabriel” is an apology for Angie and Luke losing fellow band member Gabriel’s violin. Were funds from the song able to buy him a sweet replacement? Has he forgiven you?
Gabriel: They told me they would do this but spent all the money on Nando’s [chicken restaurant] instead, although they sometimes save me some chips.
Angie: I bought Gabe a piggy bank in the shape of Bart Simpson’s head and gave it to him with all the money we’d raised. It wasn’t quite enough to cover his new violin but he did like the Bart Simpson head. And he’s still with us....so I guess we’re forgiven…it’s possible he’s still plotting his revenge though.
Is there an instrument or new type of sound you’d like to mix into your music in the future?
Derek: I think 2017 is the year of the eigenharp
Angie, you mentioned that you now understand how musicians say making and releasing an album is like “the longest pregnancy ever.” What kind of child do you think All That We Had, We Stole turned out to be?
Angie: Luke mentioned in another interview recently that it was like un-beaching a whale… I don’t entirely disagree with this. I’d say it’s a very BIG child, a noisy one that keeps you up all night, poos in all sorts of unexpected places, and costs you all of your hard-earned pocket money. One which you spend so much time and effort making look amazing in fun packaging but ultimately one which you love unconditionally and will be proud of forever, no matter what. I could also make a comment about it needing five men and one woman to make, but I won’t, that’d just be crude.
You’ve played a lot of festivals and done your fair share of touring in the past few years, and your UK album tour will take up almost all of February. What are your secrets for staying sane on the road?
Derek: High-brow car games, doing bad impersonations of each other doing bad impersonations of each other. And also when one starts flagging it is your duty to pick them up and pass them the hipflask.
In addition to making the songs, you all also double as actors for many of your music videos. Aside from saving budget money, why did you choose to move away from hiring more actors or appearing strictly as performers?
Luke: Because it's fun. We've been pretty hands on in many areas throughout this process and the filming has been one of the most enjoyable. It's tiring though. During the filming of “Flowers” I think we were awake for 36 hours, driving round the country making sure we had the right light. But when you have something to show for it, it makes it all worthwhile. We're now waiting for Spielberg to call.
How important has beer been to your recording process? What type of beer do you recommend to be the most creative?
Angie: It’s a total coincidence that the beer I fueled myself on during the recording process was largely from London Fields Brewery, which is where we happen to be launching our album on February 10th! It’s also possible that LFB were sending us subliminal messages, and this is the very reason we’re having the gig there. It’s also possible that all of this is part of our mission to get an endorsement deal from a brewery. Beer is also literally on the recording. If you listen closely during the intro to “Another Day,” you hear me using my half full beer bottle as a percussion instrument.