After bursting onto the scene in the mid-2000s, The Pigeon Detectives quickly established a loyal following with their scruffy, but deliciously catchy melodies and lively on-stage antics instantly proving to be a hit. Now with five studio albums under their belt, countless chart-topping hits and an enthusiasm which hasn’t dwindled over time, the Rothwell five-piece are still going strong and living the dream ten years on.
In an industry which invariably sees the next big music sensation fizzle out almost overnight, it’s an impressive feat to still be making waves and it seems the band have no intention of throwing in the towel any time soon as they gear up to head out on a celebratory anniversary tour to mark the release of their platinum selling debut, Wait For Me. “When we first started out, we were just thinking about what’s happening next and where are we next going to play and get drunk, so thinking about it now does put things into perspective and it’s pretty crazy to think that the tour is already selling out,” explains drummer, Jimmi Naylor.
“It’s really cool that people who have supported us since the beginning still want to come out and see us, as well as those who maybe weren’t old enough the first time around.” While described by the band as scruffy, occasionally clumsy and somewhat naïve, their first album was a runaway success and the top three chart position marked the beginning of a highly successful career. Along the way, they’ve sold millions of records, headlined shows, and even played with Massimo Cellino at Elland Road – an experience which they chuckle about fondly.
“It was really funny and he’s certainly a character,” Jimmi recalls. “I know he’s been controversial and made some bad decisions for Leeds United, but he’s a nice guy and we enjoyed his company. But he definitely needs more guitar lessons.” But over the course of ten years which has seen hard copy CDs swapped in favour of digital downloads and the rise of social media, there have been some challenging learning curves for a band who are used to doing things old school.
“Social media is massive now and our management and label definitely put pressure on us to be more involved with it because it gives you that direct line to people who like your music and come out to your shows,” says Jimmi. “When Facebook and Twitter first came about, we didn’t have a clue! We didn’t really get on board with it and I think some of our earlier records could’ve maybe done a bit better if we had, but it’s that fine line between self-promotion and ‘oh, look at what we’re doing’.
“But if you’re too cool for school to put yourself out there then no one knows what you’re doing, so you’ve got to put the effort in these days because it’s your livelihood and you want your music to reach a lot of people.”
Social media may have opened the door for them to interact with their fans and share their music with a much wider audience, but their live reputation is one that has spread all on its own. Raucous, in-your- face and full of energy from start to finish, the band’s shows are no polite sit down affairs, and with a frontman who always seems like he’s had too many red bulls, it’s impossible not to get swept up in all the excitement.
“Performing live is where we as a band have the most fin and people generally know it’s going to be a bit wild when they come and see us, and that’s not us blowing our own trumpet, but I definitely think we’re a band that’s not just good to listen to live, but good to watch as wild,” Jimmi explains. “It’s so much better when you go see a band that really put on a show and give 150 per cent every single night and I think we’re sometimes better live than we possible are on record.”
Of course, while the band pour their heart and soul into every show, the homecoming gigs in Leeds are always the crowning moment of any tour – even if it can be a little stressful. “We love playing Leeds, but it’s always really annoying because we get so much hassle from family and friends wanting to come and watch and asking stupid questions,” Jimmi laughs. “Up until we play, it’s always really stressful but once we’re up there we don’t feel the pressure. “We feel like we could just fart on stage or fall over our instruments and people would still enjoy it because they’re like our people, but Matt always gets more nervous than usual because it’s home fans. But we’re super excited to play and hopefully everyone will be in the party mood.”
If the past is anything to go by, the tour will be every bit as rowdy and outrageous you’d expect. So here’s toasting to a spectacular decade and we’ll see you on the road.
The Pigeon Detectives will play O2 Academy Leeds on the 3 rd and 5 th November.