02nd Sep2009

Your New Favorite Band: The Bishops

by Todd

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Not since The La’s imploded, have we heard such a perfect pop explosion as Britain’s The Bishops.  Shimmering guitars and pitch perfect vocals that melt in your mouth.  Twins Mike and Pete Bishop provide the vocals and guitars/bass that’ll have you hunting down your Knack records, while drummer Mike McConville gives it the necessary punch.  Their newest album “For Now” is sugar-pop cereal that we’ll happily lap up with a little splash of milk.  The boys destined to top your pop charts sat down for a few moments to tell us how to get The Bishops.

While the band have quite a few videos, they don’t have one for our favorite song, Wandering By.  So please indulge us by listening to this gem, before diving in…

TDOA: ‘Wandering By’ stuck us because of the many great references it evokes.  We hear Morrissey, the La’s and a host of influences.  Tell us about the music you listened to that you think influences your music.

Peter: There is definitely a lot of British influences in what we do such as the early Sixties beat scene, British garage, punk and more current indie references. The La’s is a good example of a band who were very influenced by the past in a way which was very original and fresh, something that would later become Britpop. I Love the guitar riff of ‘There She Goes’ and the pop perfection of its 2minutes 30 capsule, which is pure magic. I think in simple terms we really like great melodies and a really orthodox approach to writing and making music in a way that great pop/rock does.

TDOA: We watched the interview on Japanese television with a mixture of amusement and awe.  What led you to this appearance and what can you tell us about your popularity in Japan?

Peter: The video was from a TV programme we did in Yokohama. We maybe seemed a bit lost and dazed because we had only just arrived in Japan and were instantly whisked away. I remember getting changed on the train and feeling completely knackered but really excited. When we were doing the interview I think we maybe seemed a bit lost, and look like we don’t know what was going on which was definitely the case!! It certainly looks like a possible contender for ‘Lost in Translation 2’ haha! We have been to Japan once and have released 2 albums there. Certainly from our experience there I would say we have a good fanbase, very enthusiastic and fanatical!

The Bishops on DNA TV in Japan

TDOA: Our site gets a third of its hits from China.  When we saw your Japanese appearance it started a conversation about the impact of Western rock on the Eastern Hemisphere.  Do you think there’s an untapped market in this area

Peter: I think that with a growing affluence and an increasing influence of Western culture a territory like China will look towards bands, culture trends in the West in a similar way that Japan does. China is obviously a huge place and hopefully this would also mean a growth of Chinese bands coming to the UK and US also.  There is definitely a lot of potential there for such a market and u can also see that its happened in the arts already.

TDOA: Obviously people in that part of the world are open minded enough to listen to music from all over the world, yet we don’t see the same happening in the West.  Did you see great bands when you were in Japan and why do you think people in this part of the world are reticent to explore the rock music being made in that part of the world?

Peter: There are some great bands in Japan and one band that we have seen and played with in the UK is called The Suzan. They have some great songs and have a great live show. It is a shame that in the US and UK bands from Japan and other territories struggle and one of the main reasons is that we both have such saturated markets and its so competitive. Maybe also they are put off by the language difference also, which shouldn’t be a reason but I think comes into play.

TDOA: The band has done quite a few videos!  MTV in America rarely shows videos.  Is England a better forum for videos and if not, can you discuss the thinking behind making videos as a promotional tool?

Peter: I think the showing/frequency of music videos on TV has become less but I think the growing presence of You Tube has encouraged bands to promote themselves as much as possible using such formats. We have done quite a few videos now and I think it is a good reference point for people to see and watch the band. I know that I really enjoy checking out bands and music online.

TDOA: The styles of your videos vary greatly.  Do you have a favorite video of yours and can you tell about the storyboarding of that video?

Peter: I really like the Breakaway video, I think the producers planned it really well and they presented the band really well. I think they used our twin image well and the monochrome appearance of the band. I think it really syncs well with the music which is difficult to achieve. We are currently working on a new video for our new single ‘Hold On’ and at the moment we are working with a ‘domino effect’ that I think will look really effective.

TDOA: The vocal melodies on your songs are such a integral part of your music.  Since you’re twins, the assumption is going to be that this is effortless.  Do your songs tend to start with a single vocal melody, with the addition of the harmonizing coming later, followed by guitars or what exactly is the process for a typical Bishops song?

Peter: The vocal harmonies are definitely a trademark of the band sound, and this does have a big part to play with the development of a song idea. We write a lot of music together from scratch and usually the vocals come in at an early stage. Generally speaking the vocals are effortless and easy to achieve but sometimes also we have to take a bit of time to craft certain parts. Its always a great source of argument over who is doing it wrong! The ideas are then brought to the rehearsal space where we run through the ideas with Chris on the drums and then it really starts to happens.

TDOA: Tell us about working with Brian O’Shaughnessy and how he influenced the sound of the new record, please.

Peter: Brian was great to work with, he brought some strong production ideas and experience regards some new instruments and sounds we were curious to try out. I think the vision of the album ultimately came from us but Brian guided us through and helped us to achieve this. He brought a lot of strong guitar ideas and extra things such as synth parts that chracterised the production of the final song written idea.

TDOA: What’s next on the agenda for the band?  Plans to come to America and play festivals, perhaps?

Peter: We would love to come to America to play but so far the opportunity has evaded us. We have released an EP back in 2007 in Seattle on a small indie label which was great and we were due to play at SXSW but the label/band could not make the trip in the end. This was a shame as there was a nice build up starting to happen, we even had a mention in USA Today amongst a strong list of upcoming bands. I think our plan now will be to approach a state and see what we can stir up. New York would probably be the most ideal place at this stage. We have done a lot of touring in Europe and wanted to build on these territories and I think we all feel that very soon we will try and establish something in the States!

To learn more about The Bishops, visit their website: http://thebishopsband.com/

You can purchase their new album, “For Now” via Amazon

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