Kaotican Alphabet

The High Wire interview

We caught up with Coldplay's latest support act

London-based bliss-poppers The High Wire begin their run of support slots with Coldplay in Manchester tonight. We called up their frontman, Tim Crompton, to find out a bit more about them.

Hello Tim. Are you all set for your support slots?
Oh goodness, no. Not being all that familiar with arena touring, I have no idea how to be prepared for it. I’m just excited that I won’t be at work for a few days.

Are you looking forward to it?
Absolutely. Even just sound-checking on a big stage and playing guitar really loud will be great fun.

What’s the biggest gig The High Wire have played so far?
We’ve only done small ones really. We went and played at CMJ in New York at the end of October, which was big in the sense of scary and cool to do.

How did it go?
Well, as far as I can tell, within the crumbling edifice that is the music business, it went down OK.

How long have The High Wire been together?
It’s a weird one, because it started off just being me on my own and I never really intended it to become a band. Then gradually people joined and stayed. But in terms of the five-piece we’ll be for these shows, we’ve only been together for about six weeks. We’re very, very new. In fact, Manchester will be our fourth ever show together.

How would you describe your music?
It often gets described as shoe-gazery, but I think really it’s just slightly psychedelic pop music. Basically I love the Beach Boys and Teenage Fanclub, and the result is The High Wire.

How did you come to be playing on this tour?
Well, actually, Coldplay got Emily, who sings for us, to sing on a couple of their tracks. One of them is Rainy Day from the Prospekt’s March EP. She’s also on a really beautiful track called Lukas, but I don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day. It’s kind of a folky, Parachutes-y type track.

So they borrowed your singer and offered you a support slot in return?
No, I just think they were very desperate. I was cornered by Prospekt in a pub and asked if we would play with them and I said, "Not in a million years". I think that slightly upset the rest of our band. But then a few weeks later I was cornered again and asked what I thought I would be doing of an evening that was more interesting than playing at the O2. And I caved in.

Do have some history with Coldplay?
I think it’s difficult to be around the age I am, in London, in bands, and not have come across them. So, yes, I do know them. And if any of them are ever involved in an air-rage incident and need a character witness, I’ll happily explain that they don’t usually throw yoghurt.

Do you know Eugene Francis, who’s opened for the first half of the UK tour?
I do, yeah. I played with him years ago in a different band he was in. I love his new album.

Have you had any tips from him about being Coldplay’s opening act?
No, I haven’t had a chance to hear how it went. In a way I don’t want to, in case I hear he went down really well and then we go down terribly.

Have you played a gig in a venue this size with previous bands you’ve been in?
No, never. This is completely mental and out of the blue for me. And perhaps not very sensible. But hopefully that’s why it will be fun.

What are you hoping to get from it?
Well, I’ll be able to say that I did something interesting. Saying that you played the O2 is better than saying you sat at home and watched Home & Away. It’s good to do interesting things.

Do you think you’ll be able to win folks over?
Well, I don’t have any expectations really. I’m sure some people will find our music nice and some people might find it annoying. But I suppose the reason I’m doing it is that I’ll definitely be up there enjoying myself. If anyone else does too, then that’d be great. Otherwise I’ll just be soundtracking people finding their seats.

Have you seen Coldplay on this tour?
No, I’ve heard lots about it, but I haven’t seen the full show. I’m really looking forward to it.

Finally, what is your favourite Coldplay song?
Can I give two, or is that cheating?

No, two is fine.
Thank you. Well, See You Soon is one of them. I think that’s a favourite for a lot of people who’ve heard it. And then for more sentimental reasons I’d say In My Place. That song really encapsulates Coldplay for me.

For more information on The High Wire check out their MySpace page here