So good to hear you

 
 

xxi-6-m-superfoodGearing up for their European tour, Mark Conroy speaks to Superfood frontman, Dom Ganderton, about releasing their debut record, keeping themselves in check and those notorious munchies

Over a crackling telephone line, Superfood frontman, Dom Ganderton recounts how he is currently at the new digs of his band’s label, lounging in his boss’ office, who has kindly stepped out. “I feel like an imposter”, he admits with a chuckle, “I don’t know if I should sit in his chair and put my legs up on the desk.” Ganderton is not the kind of guy who takes things too seriously and it’s this sense of fun that permeates through the music of the English four-piece band. Their recently released debut LP, Don’t Say That, oozes youthful exuberance alongside a joyous mainstream sensibility. With their springy guitar sound, memorable hooks and Dom’s unashamed, regionally accented vocals, they have successfully embraced the concept of ‘Brit-pop Revivalism’, like few bands have in recent years.     

Rising from an increasingly successful music scene in Birmingham alongside the likes of Swim Deep and Peace, for whom Ganderton has produced for previously, Superfood were formed by Ganderton and his friends Emily Baker, Ryan Malcom and Carl Griffin. After watching the trajectory success of their fellow peers, it wasn’t long thereafter they felt that they could emulate their musical inclination and ultimate success themselves. For Ganderton, the eclectic nature of the scene meant that each band could mould their own sound while still learning from each other. “Everyone has kind of stuck to their own thing and took their own spin on things.”       

Pretty soon, Superfood was signed by Infectious Music, boasting the likes of alt-J and Royal Blood on their rosters, and began drip-feeding parts of their debut album, through EPs and singles, up until the end of last year when Don’t Say That was released. It received a very warm reception from various publications; “I think its gone down really well,” he says. “I mean for a debut album you couldn’t have asked for better really.” Their path to success has been nothing short of rapid. “It’s strange really because from the inception of the band to moving things into recording the album, it was just really quick. It was like a whirlwind. It was a dream. We went up to Lancashire to record it for three weeks in the countryside in this chapel. It was amazing. It was a dream come true.”

She once came out of a shop with banana and got our tour manager to go back in change it because it was bruised. She’s never heard the end of that

As for the dreaded term “brit-pop” and everything it implies, which is so often and almost ubiquitously used to label their sound, Ganderton doesn’t let it bother him too much; for now anyway. “I dont mind it. I mean when you get two guitars, a drums and a bass in a room and you want to write chirpy, kind of Beatles-esque songs, I think you can end up with something that sounds like it’s from another band anyway, whether it’s from the 90s or whatever. I think it’s just been easy for people to say that. Once one person said it was Britpop, everyone else did. It’s not what we are going to be doing for the rest of our lives.”

With a sound like theirs, Superfood can certainly expect some, perhaps not-so-subtle, comparisons to their ‘90s forefathers. Yet, just because their music harks back to the golden days of Oasis, Blur and “Cool Britannia”, does not necessarily mean that it’s the only sounds the band are emulating. Don’t Say That displays a wider range of influences than they might get credit for, so it’s not surprising when Ganderton explains that all they’ve had playing that day is the likes of Cypress Hill. The hip-hop influences, especially on the album’s title track, are apparent and will be even more so in the future. “It’s just that kind of groove that we haven’t yet discovered how to hone in completely.” Other perhaps less immediately obvious influences Ganderton muses over include ‘90s garage bands, including lo-fi giants Pavement and cult bands such as The Cribs; evidently a deep and varied well of talent from which Superfood are drawing inspirational tendencies.

Once one person said it was Britpop, everyone else did. It’s not what we are going to be doing for the rest of our lives

The tracks on Don’t Say That certainly have a novelty that refuses to wane, but this is not to say that they are in any way cheap. Superfood’s tunes are infectiously fun and burst with catchy melodies, yet withhold a comical, introspective and even bizarrely dreamlike tendency. The song from which they take their name, ‘Superfood’, details the band’s expedition of attempting to find some nourishment while suffering from the munchies. On ‘TV’, Ganderton paints a picture of a world which, thanks to the “tube”, isn’t lacking in imagination or original thought. How am I to ever dream without the TV on?” he sings sarcastically and on the surreal ‘It’s Good To See You’, he envisions plants coming to life. This sense of turning the mundane into the hypnogogic is something that Ganderton strives for. “The last thing anyone needs is a another band talking about how their heart feels. Well that was kind of our motto when we started, we’ll just take people to a different place, rather than just being so introvert all the time.”

As the band are about to embark on tour across Europe, Ganderton finds that he is still coming to terms with their success and the dissemination of their music across the globe. “We get tweets from the likes of Triple J in Australia saying that they’re playing our song at the moment and then you think, ‘Hey, there are people in Australia at the moment listening to our music!’ It’s crazy.” Even with all this dizzying success, however, they are still the typical band comprised of a group of friends who just wanted to hang out and play some music. They’re a tight-knit group and it’s this strong, familial type of bond which helps keep their feet firmly on the ground, ensuring at all times to keep each other in check. “If Emily starts acting like a bit of diva, we’ll be the first to shoot her down. Just like, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ She once came out of a shop with banana and got our tour manager to go back in change it because it was bruised. She’s never heard the end of that.” Even with the release of their debut so fresh in the ears of their growing audience, Ganderton informs OTwo that he already feels like they are ready to record a follow-up. One thing is for certain however, whatever direction they decide to go in, undoubtedly there will be a hungry audience awaiting a Superfood musical delicacy.

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