Interview: GUARDS

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Upon hearing about Guards they were somewhat of a myth. Now, over a steady amount of time, they have emerged as a stand out band to keep an eye on in 2011. A lot of you will be wondering still now, who are Guards? This is down to the niche market in which they currently sit in. But all that is soon to change.


The process of how this venture all came about is a bit different to a normal band formation. To be clear Guards consists of Richie Follin (already a fully fledged member of the band Cults) and others. On how Guards came about Richie had this to say:

"Well it was kind of an accident...I wrote the songs on the ep for my little sister (Madeline Follin lead singer of Cults) to sing and she only ended up using one of them for Cults."

This could prove to be a stroke of genius if things go how we see them going...

"So, I ended up singing on them not really sure how I was going to use them and I sent them over to Madeline, just up on a bandcamp page and she tweeted it. The next week it was up on a million blogs."

This is the nature of the Internet these days. You start with a tweet and end up scattered across the blogosphere. He continues...

"I am always writing and recording under different names and I just put them out for free on the Internet this album just got tweeted about haha.... But Guards is my main focus and my band now."

"I think people should be more concerned with the music, or at least be exposed to it before they are shown the inside of what the artists house looks like."
 - Richie Follin, Guards, Cults, Willowz


The power of the Internet for promotion is endless, I'm sure our regular readers will be aware of this. In the modern day market it is a necessity but never-the-less there's a range of ways to go about it and Guards along with Cults, have found one of the best ways possible. Hold back, don't give it all up, just a bit. People want what they can't have and the longer they go without, the more they want.

"I don't know how hard I try to achieve it, but I think mystery is good for bands. I think people should be more concerned with the music, or at least be exposed to it before they are shown the inside of what the artists house looks like."

You would think that Richie was a huge fan of social networking and other forms of Internet media by the success they've had from it, but think otherwise. "I don't have a Facebook, or a blog, or a MySpace page, or a website... So I don't think I'm a good example of the pro Internet band. I think Internet exposure is great, but I think any medium that allows people access to your music is great."

It's fair to say, busy is the word to best describe Richie at the minute. On what he's been up to of late he told us:

"Just finishing the Guards album up, and splitting my time between playing shows with Cults and Guards. Willowz my other band, will be putting out a record next year as well..."

He describes Guards as, "bliss doomed power rock pop". I think the track 'Don't Wake The Dead' suits that description only way too well!


When I asked about the bands sound and how he ended up with a very hard to pigeon hole sound, Richie described it (again) as an accident...

"I just wrote a bunch of what I thought were good songs and didn't really think about it being cohesive as a "bands sound"." We at 1FTP have adopted a very wide spectrum term for Guards which is 'Current Vintage', and were sticking with it.

(cont) "I think what may have glued the elements together was the production mixed with the 12 string sound and omnichord sound. It has become kind of a joke now, since recording the album, that even if the song doesn't initially sound like Guards it will once that 12 string and omnichord are laid on top of it."

"All my favorite bands have a couple styles of song and I think it's a good thing."

On the subject of bands, Richie has a list as long as my arm of listening preferences, "I love the Tame Impala record....The Strange Boys, Arcade Fire, Twin Sister, Ariel Pink, MGMT, Deerhunter, Spoon, Atlas Sound, Black Angels, Women"

"Old stuff I have been listening to a lot is, The Jam, James, Abner Jay, CCR is always on repeat."

"I just got turned on to Gino Washington, Dion, I also just bought this 'Brazilian Guitar, Fuzz Bananas' a compilation of Brazilian psych bands that has some cool stuff on it..." The guy has taste, that's for sure!

Guards and Richie's hectic schedule is looking to continue for a bit longer, he broke to us the news that, "Cults just finished their record.... Guards and Willowz are also finishing up records and tours are going to follow each albums release. Guards and Cults are going to Europe in February and we are also both going to SXSW."

Below is a short documentary from Babelgum at Guards' first ever live show. To purchase Guards debut EP click here.