Your New Antique are a Huddersfield based four-piece on the verge of big things. They have signed to The Animal Farm label and have just released their second single. I caught up with lead singer and guitarist Jason Williams, guitarist Rob Crisp, bassist Chris Ruffoni and drummer Ben Wallbanks on the eve of their single launch gig at The Parish in Huddersfield.
Jason and Rob met at University, Chris and Ben then joined in recent years replacing former members. Your New Antique are a fusion of many varied musical influences. Rob and Jason share a love of early Arcade Fire and Interpol albums. Chris was heavily influenced by the bands of the sixties like The Beatles and Pink Floyd while Ben is a big Led Zeppelin fan. Although their influences are varied there are also a lot of cross over points with them all being fans of Radiohead, Joy Division, The National, Grizzly Bear, Leeds favourites ILikeTrains and up and coming Huddersfield band Ilovecolour. Jason is primarily responsible for the early stage of the creative process and all the lyrics. Rob explained ‘Jay brings in the bones of it and we flesh it out’. Despite being signed to a label Your New Antique have a DIY ethic that is a strong part of who they are and something they care deeply about. Ben told me ‘For our last two releases we have done everything ourselves’.
They seem to be a band that even though they are having success they do it for the love of doing it and that won’t change. They enjoy the smaller venues and connecting with the crowd, especially when things take strange turns. When I asked what their favourite gig has been to date Rob straight away remembered The Garage in Doncaster ‘There was a stripper! Two guys dressed as penguins! Loads of guys from York who were friends with the support act. They all came down in one bus. They all really liked us. BBC Introducing were there. The guy gave us more beers than he should have ‘coz he liked us. It was just the weirdest place to do the best gig, I really enjoyed it’. All the band enjoyed playing Brudenell Social Club too.
A couple of singles are in the pipeline during the next six months through The Animal Farm, building up to and E.P. release. Jason is excited about the forthcoming material ‘We have really honed down the style that we are after now, so I think we have pretty much nailed that sound’.
They have recently shot some videos with Huddersfield film-maker and novelist Marco Zaffino, Ben was particularly impressed by him ‘He’s just great, he’s awesome’. All the members commented on how amazing it was to work with him and how much fun he made the process. ‘It could never be a hassle with him, we just dicked around for a few hours and he filmed it and it looks great’ said Rob. They also have plans to work with him on the videos for future singles. The most recent video they shot was in a house that used to be a church. The house belongs to a friend of Rob so he described why it appealed to them, ‘There’s some proper rooms in the back but the big space is still just a massive space, you can go upstairs and film down into it and its got garden sheds and boats in it so it looks pretty surreal’.
Jason then played the first single launch gig with a broken rib
The band are genuinely really good friends despite not all knowing each other to begin with. I wanted to hear some stories of their exploits to back up this point. Jason gave me an example ‘Chris Ruffoni broke my rib two weeks before the launch of the first single. We went out in Leeds, had a great night, got absolutely smashed. I went over to see my mate he was at a table, all of a sudden I feel this massive object clamber onto my back. I slipped forwards into the edge of a table and said “ouch” then I sat down for a bit and went home. Then the following day I didn’t think much of it and helped the sound engineer with all his gear. Then I realized I had to go to A&E ‘coz it was just getting worse and worse’. Chris responded to this accusation with ‘I don’t remember’. Jason then played the first single launch gig with a broken rib, and of course made Chris carry all his gear for the following months.
When I asked for stories about Ben the rest of the band came forth with at least half a dozen, unfortunately none of which were clean. So after long deliberation they told me that he was once the subject of a half page article in the Huddersfield Examiner for passing his driving test first time with no minor faults. This portrays a very squeaky clean person, the first bunch of tales didn’t though.
Fans are very important to the band and I get the impression that they want a high level of interaction with their followers. They recently enlisted the help of their fan base to assist with the latest video, Jason explained ‘We sent a message out on Facebook and asked friends to help out, it’s got a really nice DIY ethic to it’. They also have set up a mailing list designed to help with that interaction. Chris told me of this initiative ‘We offered people half price in to tonight’s gig if they joined the mailing list and got back to us through it’.