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Escape Velocity

Field Day 2010: Runners Get Set To Go The Distance
Luke Turner , July 27th, 2010 05:30

We continue looking forward to this weekend's Field Day Festival with a chat with Leeds group Runners, whose anxious brilliance won them a slot opening the do

We don't mind admitting that when we launched our competition to play the Quietus Village Mentality stage at this year's Field Day Festival, it was with some trepidation. Given that you wouldn't wish a goodly proportion of the actually-signed music that gives our postman a severe case of the bad vibes every day on your worst enemy, what were the chances of finding something brand new, not affiliated to a label, and any cop? Happily, as our pick of the top ten last week revealed, we were thrilled by the breadth of fantastic entries – and especially by the eventual winners, a group from Leeds called Runners. With just a few YouTubes, some belting mixes and a polite turn of phrase in email to their name, Runners' lack of desperation for attention and commitment to making people have a dance in sundry house parties made us think they were the ideal troupe to clear the cobwebs and get the day off to a good start. So we demanded they actually recorded some music for you to listen to, have their picture taken, and answer the Quietus' questions...

Cheers for entering our Field Day competition. Did you do better than expected?

Of course... It's super early days for us and the line-up looks amazing!


Given that we found you on YouTube, we know nowt about you. Can you tell us a little about how you met?

We met at DIY punk gigs in Leeds a decade ago, and we've collaborated on various musical and non-musical projects over the years – CHOPS, Tigers!, The Chinchilla Collective, etc. We've all shot off in our own directions, but there's been a constant interaction and it seems a bit like all of our different tangents have kinda come full circle.


Most of the bands we've been involved in as individuals have been sprinter-type bands; lively, over-the-top, often too loud, too fast type affairs. Runners is a suitable metaphor for the change of pace and style in our music.

Zola Budd, Usain Bolt, Steve Cram: Discuss

What is this!? A Question Of Sport? Usain ‘Lightning' Bolt is a king among men and we salute his super speed as well as his fantastic nickname. I wonder if he drinks Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt energy drink, or perhaps enjoys training to the sound of Lightning Bolt? He seems like a stylish guy so I guess it's a possibility. Zola Budd is a controversial one, but bare-foot running is badass so we salute her also. Steve Cram seems studious and charming in an old-school English kind of way... probably a bit of a bore though.

You've eschewed the usual band hangouts of mySpace and so forth for YouTube video of living room revel, why was that?

It's not like we have a problem with 'social networking' sites, but it's nice to side-step them because all that's really required is somewhere to collate the basics. A blog and YouTube seem like as suitable outlet as any for promoting our wares in 2010.

What happened at those parties on the videos? Any tales of misadventure? Or are you, like us, the type to always end up in the kitchen?

The kitchen is alright. It may not be the party hot-spot but there's always a surface free for crafting lifepipes and a friendly nerd with good music taste nearby. We played at house-show in Liverpool in a huge ex-residential care home hosted by the lads from Indica Ritual and the kitchen had a giant projection of live Chat-Roulette up on the wall. It was pretty weird talking to friends we hadn't seen for a few months with all manner of six foot wrinkle-cocks dangling behind them.

How do you describe your sound?

'It's something we just found, we dug it up out of the ground'.

Please describe three non-musical influences:

Kurt Russell, VHS, Carl Sagan

What are the pros and cons to not having a singer?

Haha, have we perfected the art of vocals that go undetected In three quarters of our songs? It's the non-hierarchical post-utopian dream!

What happens if you get too funky?

We take it to the bridge…

What are you most looking forward to about Field Day?

DAM_FUNK. The guy's a genius. Playing should be pretty crazy too.

What do you say to the young people of London who don't like dancing?

You'll find your feet.

John and I are the only two people in London who dance at gigs. What do you say to those at Field Day who might look at us like we're being stupid?

I've been to plenty of gigs in London where people are dancing like complete loons! You must be attending the wrong parties lads.

Which other artist on the Quietus Village Mentality would you most like to collaborate?

One of Dom's first stage appearances was dancing in a bear suit to 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' with the SFA brass section in 1999. They were all really sweet, and It seems like Gruff still likes putting his finger in pies, so playing with him would probably be fun... and Nash wouldn't mind collaborating with him on a few lifepipes. I'm sure he's got a tasty little something in that pouch of his.

If you were going to cover a Fall song, which one would it be

'The NWRA'

A fine choice. How would you like to be remembered?


Runners open the Village Mentality Stage in association with The Quietus this Saturday, 31 July - rouse thy lazy stumps, for they're onstage at 12.30. For tickets and more information, visit the Field Day website