Interview: Childhood

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Childhood: Leo Dobson, Ben Romans-Hopcraft, Daniel Salamons 

Some bands come out and show you everything they have, all guns blazing, if you will. Some can't, won't, and perhaps don't even want to. Nottingham via London band Childhood fall into the latter category for sure.

It's funny then that this interview falls almost a year since our first Childhood fixation. That was back when we posted the affectionate cries of breakout track "Blue Velvet". And while still on a excitement trip we even included the four piece in our 'Ones To Watch' list for 2011. That failed to materialise, naturally. But hey, give them a chance, they are full time students after all.

They did give us some new material, though, with the racy, hook friendly "Semester", duly making its way into or CN mixtape for August. More recently, we had the pleasure of watching the band play mini future sound festival Binnacle, where they incorporated a style that was in the same psychedelic, shoegaze vein as say, UK startles Yuck. Something that was a little surprising to say the least, but was a whole lot more captivating and diverse than we were initially expecting.

Being one of our favourite newcomers we just had to get it touch to talk a little more about shows, life 'up North' and of course, "Blue Velvet". Read the interview with front man Ben Romans-Hopcraft below.

(One For The People) Ola! So, to get people acquainted, can you give us a quick run down of who Childhood are and how you all came to be...

(Childhood) HEY! Childhood was started when I (Ben Romans-Hopcraft) forced a cheeky little scamp called Leo Dobsen to pick up his guitar I saw in his depressing dorm room in 1st year of uni. We threw some ideas around and then recorded a couple of demos which gathered some attention on the Internet. We then decided we needed a band as it was only the two of us making songs on a laptop. The full band came together in the form of Daniel Ajegbo on drums, Daniel Salamons on bass and me and Leo on guitars. 

(1FTP) Does the band come second to university life, or is it vice-versa? And has balancing the two been a difficult thing for you? 

(Childhood) We aim to finish our degrees but the music always comes first baby! It hasn't really been a problem as of yet. We get to play gigs away from the scrutinising eyes of Londoners, but at the same time we can go back anytime we want.

"Leo recalls sitting in his pants last winter writing the chords and guitar lines for that song ("Blue Velvet"). When I first heard it I knew it would be a chart topping smash hit!"
- Ben Romans-Hopcraft, Childhood

(1FTP) Staying with the music, "Blue Velvet" and 'Semester" give off a rather nostalgic feel, which isn't something you would expect from such a young band. Can you tell us about your inspirations and influences that are present whenever Childhood sit down to write a new song?

(Childhood) The nostalgic element is something that happens naturally I think. We never sit down and decide to make songs with a distinct concept in mind, it's the vibe that we both relate to on a creative level. We listen a lot of music both modern and old. Guitar music (especially from America) at the moment is really refreshing and I guess has inspired us on one level to make music together. We also listen to a lot of 90's shoegaze and 80's guitar bands which you could say share some of the nostalgic qualities that comes through in our music.

(1FTP) Speaking of "Blue Velvet", almost a year after we post about it its still picking up a steady amount of hits. Whats the story behind that specific track?

(Childhood) Well Leo recalls sitting in his pants last winter writing the chords and guitar lines for that song. When I first heard it I knew it would be a chart topping smash hit! The chords instantly evoked feelings of my home and where I grew up. I guess it was because last winter was so bitter and I was kind of missing the comfort of my warm friendly house in London. The lyrics are about me going home as a kind of spiritual therapy, but in reality it was quite an underwhelming event, as it always usually is.

(1FTP) Just touching upon live shows for a minute, I read that half the crowd disappeared when you finished your set at a gig with Ex Lovers? Talk about a solid fan base! But along with other shows you've played, how has the general reaction been thus far?

(Childhood) We've only played a handful of gigs, but, ironically, that was one of our worst ones! The reception has been good thus far, we've had a good mixture of friends and Tom, Dick and Harry's.

(1FTP) Given that your from London, what are the pros and cons of being a band 'up North' so to speak?

(Childhood) The pros of being up North is, well clearly the weather HAHAHA O GOSH! But it is good to get away from London and write some songs without the pressure of playing important and sometimes unnecessary gigs in London. Me and Leo live together in Nottingham so it is easier to share ideas and write. The cons are that we live in a rat infested shit hole and goons are constantly trying to burgle houses in our area.

(1FTP) And finally, looking to the future.... Are there any specifics you're striving to achieve over the course of the next year or so?

(Childhood) Well, we want to keep on writing good songs and developing a fan base. We really hope to land a million dollar deal in the next year and top the bill at 'T4 On The Beach'. We wanna PARTY!

In another bit of news, Childhood are releasing double a-side single "Blue Velvet" / "Semester" in the early part of the new year, with Rodaidh McDonald of The XX fame on mixing duties. Elsewhere, you can find them playing Nottingham's Rescue Rooms (supporting Girls) this coming Saturday (tickets), then 322 festival at The Bowery in Sheffield on the 18th.

Below you can check out new slow burner "Just Floating", which was put together by filmmakers Last Left.