The View brought their 10 year anniversary tour to Manchester for two sold out nights at the Ruby Lounge in the heart of the city. A small, dark venue which has a low ceiling underground; perfect for the energy and sweat that the band create with their music and live performances. The crowd was made up of people of all ages, from grown men who were in there 40s ten years ago to teenagers who must have only been 8 or 9 when the album was released. This just goes to show that not only was the album such a hit when it was released but also that The View have been producing excellent music since which has brought new fans who have since fallen in love with Hats Off To The Buskers. 

The View played through their debut album, hit after hit, and had the crowd going crazy from start to finish. Despite the incredibly low ceiling, which Kyle Falconer told us had been an issue as they couldn’t fit their illuminated heart backdrop in the venue, people were on top of others shoulders singing along to their favourite songs. Surprisingly ‘Same Jeans’ got the worst reception, probably because it has been over played for 10 years, however ‘Superstar Tradesman’ erupting and the whole venue went mental for it.

They went off stage after they had played Hats Off The Buskers in full and when they returned they played a selection of fan favourite from their other 4 albums. As they left the stage for the final time Falconer went behind the piano in the corner and played ‘Tacky Tattoo’. The song was slightly rushed but that is understandable after the pace and energy they had put into the whole night, however it was still an emotional ending to a reminiscent evening.

Lead singer Kyle Falconer sat down with us before their second night in Manchester and talked to us about their iconic debut album and what their plans for the future are.

It’s been 10years since The View’s debut album Hats Off To The Buskers and it has stood the test of time. Did you know it was going to be as successful as it was at the time, or was it a surprise?

We didn’t know it was going to be that successful but we still knew it was going to do quite decent. We were signed to a major label but we never knew because it was a sub label, 1965, so we wasn’t clued up on it because we were so in the moment – or drunk. We never realised, we were going to all these parties and people were saying “you’re going to be big” and we just kept playing. Then the venues just kept getting bigger and bigger, if you work hard it happens but it was strange seeing it all happen.

‘Same Jeans’ is the iconic track off the album. When you wrote it did you know it was going to be as big as it was?

No, before we recorded that song it became a hit around Dundee, our home town, everyone would sing it. Even then people would come up to us saying “go on do that song” we were like “nah we want to play our other songs”. We met with the record producer when we recorded it and he said that the world would go nuts for it. The record company said they want the song they went to see. We do get just associated with that song and a lot of people saying “you’re the jeans guys”, but then we’ve also got superfans who have all our albums, it’s always good to have a hit, we’ve had hits after that but it was that big that it was hard to get away from it.

What was your personal favourite song off the album?

I think ‘Superstar Tradesman’ sums us up because we all gave up our jobs to be in a band and a lot my friends nowadays are in bands, but if you want to do it you’ve got to do it right. We gave up our jobs and went for it, thats what it’s about. People kept telling us to get a trade, we weren’t standing for it. We all had trades, I was a bricklayer, Kieran [Webster] was a civil engineer, Pete [Reilly] was a joiner and Steven [Morrison] was a butcher so we all just went for it. After rehearsal we’d go the bar for a pint and a tradesman would say “look at him with his guitar” and pat you on the head and say “gonna be a rockstar son?”

At what point did you know to quit your jobs and go for it?

We’ve been in the same band since we were 14 and we stopped, after my dad died we were 16 and I met them at the funeral and said that I want to get the band back together. We started doing our own material because we used to just do Beatles covers. We wrote three songs, ‘Claudia’ ‘Comin’ Down’ and ‘Superstar Tradesman’ and we knew this was good. Then we had 6 songs and we were doing gigs and we thought every song we were writing was brilliant. Then we got signed and me and Kieran knew we were writers, we knew it was our jobs. We never knew it until we started writing because we used to just cover songs.

Was there a song that you wrote that didn’t make the album, which looking back now you wish had?

No because that was all the songs we had at the time, it was rapid, it was a really big elevation. It went from getting a band together and being really serious to getting the name, The View, and then we got a manager and he told us we were gonna be big time. We had a massive audience straight away. We really worked at it, we played as much as we could – you get a lot of people who are half-arsed. This band Cabbage, we’re friends with and they’ve been in bands for years and i’ve always been trying to get them to get good. I see them rising and it’s good because it’s all people from different bands and they were struggling and they’ve finally made it. If you work and you don’t give up, it’ll work because after the first band a lot of people just give up.

You’ve said it happened so quickly, but was there a meaning behind the album or was it just the songs that you played at the time?

All the songs at the time were about a party atmosphere, there was a lot of drug taking going on in our environment and a lot of drinking. It was just a bit of freedom. ‘Don’t Tell Me’ is about having a hangover and the first time I got the fear, I never knew what it was until the day I turned 18. I thought “this serious I can’t keep drinking”. We did escape the normal average life and get away from getting a trade, but even tradesman nowadays are all richer than us.

The album cover was a hand illustrated design, and like you said before it’s all about the working class roots. Who designed it and what was the ideas behind it?

It was by Ryan McVill, who was our best friend growing up. He came on tour with us and he started doing all the t-shirts and he’s a graffiti artist. We all wrote random scribbles. The record company had loads of different ideas and wanted to put a picture of the band and we said “no definitely not” because we knew we were going to get classed with the song ‘Same Jeans’ and if we just put a picture of the band on it would just be so typical and we wanted it to be about being different. Me and Kieran write together but on the first record the songs which i’ve started were in green and all of Kieran’s were in pink so that’s why we decided to do the different colours. It was just all the names and all the tattoos we had we just wrote them all down. On the back cover all the different songs are in the different colours. Thinking back about it, it’s actually really cool.

You’ve performed at T in the Park several times over the years. what are your feelings towards it closing down?

Hopefully it comes back. It’s a big deal, especially for Scottish people, that’s like their christmas. In Manchester you have loads of festivals, you get festivals everywhere. Recently there has been more festivals in Scotland, but that was the go-to festival and it was like everyones Christmas; it lets you forget your troubles for a little while. If we were playing on a Friday it was great, but if we played on the Sunday we had to try and stay sober for the week.

I’ve seen you perform a few times before and I saw you at T in the Park last year and I thought that was by far the best you’ve played. Is there and extra feeling of “it’s Scotland” or “it’s T in the Park”, is there an extra love there?

The last time we played T [in the Park] it was the biggest crowd of the whole weekend, even though we weren’t a headliner; we were on at 5 o’clock but we had the biggest crowd. We’ve done it 10 times; we’ve done it once before as “The Dryburgh Soul Band”, which is still us but because we’ve played it 3 years in a row and we didn’t have anything new released but we still wanted to play so we went under another name. It’s class, if you’re there you know yourselves. It’s the same with Glastonbury, that’s brilliant but there’s a thing about Scottish people who think they’re hard done by sometimes because they don’t get as much as southerners. When we get something we really hold onto it and when it gets taken away it’s not fair.

You’ve played here in Manchester a few times before, do you like playing here and is it different to Scotland?

It’s brilliant, it’s quite similar to Scotland. We love it, we’ve got lots of friends here so it’s home from home; same with Liverpool and London. We’ve played together for years so we’ve got really close friends and it’s good to psych is up when we know we’re going to Manchester. The crowd are nuts. I got my tooth chipped at the gig. I was sitting there with the security going through what the heavy songs were so they could be ready, they should be ready from the start here – to be honest that was the least mental song as well. There’s people coming up non-stop, it’s old-school people coming up on the stage which is fine, I used to do it as well.

It’s your 10 year anniversary of the album and theres a lot of bands coming up to that point. Tom Clarke is touring The Enemy’s album and The Twang have just announced theirs, what do you think of the 10 year anniversary tours? 

I never actually thought it was a thing until a couple of years ago. A lot of these bands have taken time out. We’ve done 5 albums, and we’re in the middle of making another. We’ve got accepted back to America so we’ve put all our hits on an album and put 5 of these songs so they’ve scrapped the other songs. I didn’t want to do a 10 year anniversary I just wanted to do another album, but they said we’ll miss out if we don’t because everybody else is doing it; it is really good to get to this stage. It’s annoying though because these others have taken a break, we’ve been doing it non-stop.

Now i’ve got a exactly a year until I do another record. I’ve got all the songs written, we’re going to the studio in June, we’re going to Paul Wellers studio ready to record a new band, my brothers playing bass so that’s going ahead.

Words: Stuart Daley and Dean Smith

Photo: Stuart Daley