Music | Whale of a Time!

Named after the indie film Squid and the Whale, the London foursome, Noah and the Whale are getting on the fast track to success, writes Kate Rothwell.The summer of 2008 may not have been much to shout about weather-wise, but Noah and the Whale still managed to get their ultimate sunshine anthem ‘5 Years Time’ stuck in many a head during the past few months, and there’s plenty more where that hit came from.Frontman Charlie Fink certainly isn’t going to let any whisper of a one hit wonder stop him in his very productive tracks.“The press would like that story, but in England the album charted higher than the single. Last week we got seven tracks demoed for the next album- I’m not going to stop writing songs. If more or less people want to hear them then that’s fine with me.”The band have played the festival circuit with huge success this summer, and will be taking their live performances further afield in September, touring the US just as debut album Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, is released stateside.A number of free gigs will be the tool of choice in ‘breaking’ the notoriously difficult American music scene, but Noah and the Whale have already secured a fanbase before even touching down in the US.“Radio doesn’t seem to exist so much in America as in Europe. They’re more reliant on blogs and student radio as a way of hearing new music, and they’ve been talking about and playing us for over a year now- it’s sad that we couldn’t play to those people who’ve heard about us. With the Musicfree shows, we’ll hopefully get people to see the band who’ve been waiting for a while.”Laura Marling, a former band member, is now a successful solo artist and will be busy with her own US tour in September, leaving the idea of her ever being able to balance both projects as doubtful.“It’s pretty impossible at the moment. She was a solo artist before she was in the band. It was always obvious that it wasn’t a full time thing; it just was so good that it lasted longer than we ever expected it to. We’re all very proud of her; we’re so entwined in each other’s music. I produced her album and Tom, who plays violin in the band, did the string arrangements. Everyone’s very happy for each other.”Noah and the Whale do most things a little differently and recently played an intimate gig in an unusual venue- a retirement home. Doug (drummer in the band) and Charlie’s grandfather, Cyril Milner, and his friends were treated to a special set at Gretton Court, and according to Charlie the response was pretty good.“Different to our usual reactions, but they seemed to dig it”. And another thing that helps the band to stand out from the rest - those curious press photos.“I just wish we never had to have our photo taken ever again! Photoshoots are the most stupid thing- pointless. Why would anyone want to see us, doing whatever, we’re a band.”Theatrical press shots and curious venues aside, Noah and the Whale would prefer to be noted for their music than their all-round eccentricity; you can check them out for yourself at Whelan’s on Tuesday 28th October. For news of any extra dates, just ask your granny.