Talk Show: a band of ‘unstoppable intensity’
The praise has been coming thick and fast for up-and-coming indie/dance quartet Talk Show, who will soon be coming to Cambridge.
“There’s an unstoppable intensity to Talk Show,” proclaimed NME, while “intense dance-inspired ferocity” was how The Guardian chose to describe the band’s explosive music.
There have been similarly enthusiastic comments from other publications — and radio stations such as BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 Music — suggesting that now might be a good time to go and see this fiery foursome: Harrison Swann (lead vocals, guitar), George Sullivan (bass), Tom Holmes (guitar) and Chloe Stacey McGregor (drums) live.
“Intense” seems to be a word which is used a lot to describe the group’s hard-hitting sound and energetic live shows. Harrison Swann, speaking to the Cambridge Independent from his home in the New Cross area of London, agrees.
“Yeah, I think that kind of came naturally… I think it comes from two things. For starters, I think it comes from that thing of starting [the songwriting process] with the rhythm section first and building from there, but then also because we put all our focus on our live show — we try and make it the best it can be. That’s a big thing for us, for us to be good live and for it to be big live and for it to kind of communicate across is always a focus.”
Although their music probably falls under the ‘indie’ category, dance music is a big part of the overall Talk Show sound.
“Yeah, I think that’s massively creeped in,” says Harrison, who is originally from Manchester. “I think really since Covid I just wasn’t listening to the same kind of music anymore; I was a bit bored of the old stuff and really wanted to change.
“I hadn’t been listening to old punk records, I’d been listening to Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers and Tricky and Faithless and The Prodigy and Beastie Boys and stuff like that, and I think the others had also felt the same. So we were like, ‘Right, we’re just going to shake this up and have a look at something new’.
“I think it was also necessary; we kind of felt as we were going into lockdown that things needed to change and it needed a bit of a shake-up. I suppose for us to just get through the lockdown we needed to make it interesting for ourselves because we didn’t want to come out [of lockdown] and it was the same old thing that people knew before.”
So it’s fair to say that the pandemic gave the band a new level of intensity?
“Yeah, for sure,” replies Harrison. “It allowed us to really hone in and focus on what we felt we were good at and what we were probably not taking advantage of, and all the different influences that we probably said, or knew, were influences but didn’t quite make the most of them, if that makes sense. We were like, ‘Right, we want to go and make really thumping electronica but on guitars!’”
The members of Talk Show, Harrison and George especially, all said the reason they moved to London was to start a band. They met while studying at Goldsmiths University (though they were all on different courses), which is close to where the frontman now lives and the space where the band rehearse.
They have certainly been dedicated when it comes to perfecting their skills. “We’ve religiously practised there [in the rehearsal space] every single week for about six or seven years,” reveals Harrison.
On the positive comments he and his bandmates have received from the music press and others, the friendly twenty-something says: “Yeah, we’ve done all right, things have been going well… it’s been a slow growth but it’s been an enjoyable one, for sure, and we’re always really grateful whenever people take the time to write about us and come to shows and express their joy or love for it.
“It’s really appreciated because, like I said, we’ve been rehearsing in a dark, dingy basement in New Cross for about six years now so I’m glad that people like it.”
Talk Show have previously supported the likes of Fontaines DC, Squid, Warmduscher, Shame, Crows, The Murder Capital, Marika Hackman, Spector, and Pip Blom. See them perform live at The Portland Arms in Cambridge on Wednesday, May 10.