Canada’s In-Flight Safety‘s felt inspired after David Bowie expressed his approval of the band’s early EP. On its latest, We Are An Empire, My Dear, the band builds on the light and airy pop of their early work to create a batch of songs that, while similar in style to Coldplay, tends to retain a sense of restraint. Undoubtedly, it’s this trait that helped the band garner a spot performing at SXSW 2011.
I recently asked In-Flight Safety’s John Mullane a few questions about their music and thoughts on South By Southwest.
Houston Calling: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s SXSW?
John Mullane: I am most looking forward to my hit list of new bands I want to check out for the first time and bands that I have been listening to for years but would otherwise never get to see.
HC: What bands/musicians you’re looking forward to seeing at this year’s SXSW?
JM: Personally and on a friend level: Rah Rah, Rich Aucoin but as a fan-boy: Twin Shadow, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Telekinesis, Menomena, Naked and Famous, Duran Duran (!!).
HC: What do you consider to be your primary musical influences and how do they play into your songs?
JM: I have to say my primary musical influences have turned out to be all the records I listened to as a kid in the late eighties and early 90s. I think my sense of melody is guided by the overly melodic stuff like Crowded House, The Cure, and then later Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead. As much as I have new influences monthly those early ones remain steadfast.
HC: What do you think is the hardest part about getting the word out about your band?
JM: At this stage of the game it’s just the sheer over-saturation of information and entertainment option available to any one person. It’s super daunting as a human being to pick and choose what form of entertainment you are going to digest at any one instant. To that end we generally hope and pray people are still looking for great songs and make that our focus. Also put 5-6 ordinary dudes in a rock band and that’s seems like the ultimate recipe for boring. So the trick is how you separate yourself from that mold which has, frankly, become lame.
HC: What can you tell me about the video for “Actors”? It’s pretty interesting…
JM: The video for actors was cooked up by goods friends Andrew Stretch, Ken Leblanc and myself. We did this project at a film fest here in Halifax where we had one week to come up with a video concept and then shoot it. I would say we were heavily influenced by the lyrics of the track and Radiohead’s “Just” which has always creeped me out in a satisfying way.
HC: You guys will be heading overseas after playing in Austin for South By Southwest. How did that tour come about?
JM: Yeah, we are off to new lands. It’s definitely a dream come true for us to play in Europe. We have a friend in Europe who passed our record around to a few folks, two of whom wanted to put the record out. It was sort of an embarrassment of riches. One in Germany and one in UK. It caught us off guard because we don’t even have a label proper in North America. So the tour was booked around the release of the record over there.
HC: Are there any bands that you’re currently listening to that you’d recommend I check out?
JM: This great young band our of little label called Milks & Rectangles, also a young band from Vancouver called Clockmakers (they have a Bandcamp site). Digging this Kiwi band called Naked and Famous as well. A lot of “and” in bands names these days.
Check out the video for “Coast Is Clear”:
In-Flight Safety plays its official SXSW showcase at Paradise tomorrow (Saturday, 3.19.11), at 10pm.
Check out the band online at www.inflightsafety.ca.