Interview: Noisettes

Emma LeeNoisettes have stormed the charts with their bouncy new single - which sounds nothing like the ragged punk they used to make. Head of their Norwich gig, EMMA LEE spoke to guitarist Dan Smith about success second time around.Further listening: Noisettes

Emma Lee

Go baby go baby go. Noisettes have stormed the charts with their bouncy new single - which sounds nothing like the ragged punk they used to make. Head of their Norwich gig, EMMA LEE spoke to guitarist Dan Smith about success second time around.

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It's rare for a band to get a second shot at being the next big thing. But that's exactly what happened to Noisettes.

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Released in 2007, their punky, bluesy debut album, What's The Time Mr Wolf? spawned five singles and saw them touring with the likes of Muse, TV on the Radio and Bloc Party.

Fast forward two years and they'd be equally at home sharing a stage with Kylie or Girls Aloud.

It's always a risk taking a radical change of direction - but it's certainly one that's paid off for the band.

With Prince, Portishead, Queen and Fleetwood Mac on the stereo and producer Jim Abbiss of Arctic Monkeys fame at the helm, the result is purest pop.

The insanely catchy single Don't Upset the Rhythm is one of the year's biggest anthems. And, if there's any justice, their album Wild Young Hearts should hit the higher reaches of the end-of-year critics' polls.

For singer Shingai Shoniwa, guitarist Dan Smith and drummer Jamie Morrison, their success is the culmination of years of hard work.

'We were really happy with the first album we put out. But we're perfectionists and ambitious,' says Dan, explaining the change of tempo. 'We want the next one to be even more diverse but stronger.'

Of course, Don't Upset The Rhythm was helped along a bit by being used on a car advert... ?

'We all went to the cinema separately and had the same experience of seeing the advert. I really thought someone was going to go 'the song on that Mazda advert is terrible',' Dan laughs.

Dan met Shingai at the star-making factory the Brit School in Croydon - other alumni include Adele, Leona Lewis, the Kooks and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine fame.

'I met Shingai in the second year. It was fate. We just ended up dancing in a rehearsal room. Eventually we met Jamie and realised we should be in a band. We nearly killed each other, then formed a genuine bond of friendship,' he says.

Dan admits to being a bit of a late starter musically. 'I remember having a really indifferent attitude about music. I wanted to be an artist - my mum and dad are artists. One day my dad came in and said 'I just jammed with Jimmy Page'. He went out and bought a load of Led Zeppelin records for a pound each. And that was it. I learned to play guitar in four weeks.'

It's been a whirlwind summer of touring for the band - now they're on the road again and heading to the UEA on Wednesday. It's their biggest-ever show in the city - they've previously played at the Ferry Boat on King Street and Norwich Arts Centre.

As well as playing larger venues, they're also travelling in more comfort than before - one of the plusses of success is that your tourbus gets upgraded.

'When we did the first festivals this summer we had the most run-down bus of the lot of them,' Dan says. 'What's weird about the summer is we ended up going to America for a month. We went all over. We started off in LA, went to Seattle and New York. And in the middle of it we had to fly back to do Alan Carr's TV show and then fly back out there.

'We came back in the second half of August. And V festival was really good fun. We met a lot of bands. You think 'I can't believe I'm talking to Peter Andre'. I never thought I would get star struck, but I do.'

t Noisettes play the UEA on October 14.

t Wild Young Hearts is out now.

Further listening: Noisettes

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