A Chat with Tugboat Captain (12.06.20)

All the way from South London, Tugboat Captain is an indie-pop foursome with a gentle beat and heartfelt lyrics. Known for their riotous live shows (which can combine bassoons and nudity), homemade videos and Beatles-esque sound, Tugboat Captain have built quite a name for themselves. We speak with Sox (S) about their latest single ‘No Plans (For This Year)’, discovering new music and much more!

OSR: Cliche, but how did you come up with the band name? Was it a simple or difficult decision?

S: We’re named after a Galaxie 500 track which uses the line ‘I just want to be your Tugboat Captain’. When the name was picked it was just me in my bedroom making music and I needed some sort of name to put it out under and that kind of stuck.

OSR: Why did you enter the music industry?

S: I don’t think we’ve ever entered the music industry per se. We still feel like we’re on the outside looking in, doing our own thing. We play music because we enjoy it and we want to share that with people. If anyone wants to call that an industry, by all means, go ahead.

OSR: What can you tell us about your track ‘No Plans (For This Year)’

S: ‘No Plans (For This Year)’ was written well over a year ago but seems to have become eerily prescient of the times we’re now living through. It’s a song about not really knowing what you’re doing with your life, but also knowing that you could happily give up your time for love.

OSR: What was the writing and recording process like?

S: This is the first single from our debut studio record (our previous stuff was done in my front room) and we had the privilege of being able to use free studio hours in Abbey Road through a number of bizarre strokes of luck. I recorded demos for this album in January 2017. We then took the songs on tour around the UK in March last year as part of the ‘Be Strong, Smoke Less’ Tour – a brutal 19 consecutive date tour behind our last single. Since then we’ve been in and out of the studio making the record with our producer David Dargahi and a bunch of other wonderful people.

OSR: What do you feel makes you unique as a band?

S: We have fun. We rock. We cry. Also, we have an electric bassoon.

OSR: What do you want people to take away from your music?

S: Smiles, tears, laughter and merch.

OSR: Were any of you involved in music before Tugboat Captain?

S: I think we’ve all played in other bands at some point. Josh (bassist) and I had a band previously, as did Buddy (keyboard/bassoon). Georgia (drums) still plays in her awesome rock/party/tears band Mothercanyouhearme.

OSR: How would you describe Tugboat Captain as a band?

S: Nautical-pop.

OSR: If you could collaborate with any musician, who would it be and why?

S: Paul McCartney – for obvious reasons.

OSR: What is your favourite smell and why?

S: Our old tour van was an ancient school minibus driven by good friend and loyal ally, Rob Humm. I like to consider it an inverted convertible because there were gaps in the floor that let the air in. It had the smell of endless snacks, sweat and hash. I miss that van.

OSR: What do you think is the best way to discover new music?

S: I get a lot of my new music from For The Rabbits which is an incredible music blog and never fails to provide something new and fantastic.

OSR: What is the best advice you have received regarding your music career?

S: Be nice.

OSR: What advice do you have for new musicians?

S: Be nice.

OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?

S: Be nice.

Thanks to Tugboat Captain for chatting with us! You can find more about Tugboat Captain on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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