Released into the world today, Tugboat Captains’s new single Be Strong, Smoke Less offers words of wisdom alongside a welcome serving of sun-drenched jangle pop. Its opening refrain is instantly relatable in a time where expectations are high and we all need to make some space for reality (Be strong, smoke less, maybe you’ll feel less depressed – I‘ve tried but I need something to relax my mind). It’s a track that will stay in your head long after listening and offers enough intrigue to make the London quartet’s upcoming tour dates look a very attractive proposition. Say hello to the band and read on for the story behind the song, service station etiquette and more…
Hey there, say hello and tell us who’s involved in Tugboat Captain…
Hello! Tugboat Captain has had a number of members over the last year or so since we formed and has always been made up of family and friends. At the moment we’re a four piece with Josh on bass, Buddy on keys and bassoon, Georgia on drums and myself (Sox) on guitar. We’ve stripped back the touring line-up a bit so we’re a bit more streamlined and also a bit more like The Beatles. We also all sing!
Your new single Be Strong, Smoke Less is out today – what’s it all about?
Be Strong, Smoke Less is a song about some advice that I frequently get given to me by my Mum. The song explores that feeling of trying to be the best person you can be but not doing it necessarily for yourself. We’ve been playing this track out on the road for nearly a year now and it really feels like I should have quit smoking by now.
Off the back of this, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I would say the advice to be strong and smoke less is pretty strong advice to be given but I haven’t given it much heed so perhaps not the best? A wise man once told me not to slag off other bands on the internet in case you run into them at a service station. I think that’s something to live by.
You’re touring across the UK – how difficult is it to arrange and finance a tour independently?
The organisational side of it can be pretty tough as it just requires liaising with an enormous number of people who are scattered across the UK and like us have the same DIY ethos. This tour took us about two months to get fully booked and organised so it’s a pretty time-consuming task. This is the biggest tour we’ve ever attempted and we’re pretty scared about our health. Most of the tour is sleeping on friends’ floors (sofas if we’re really lucky) and eating meal deals so we can be financially ship shape. As it gets closer and closer I do feel like we’ve made a grave error and we may not make it back to London alive.
Which other artists will you be listening to as you make your way round the country?
We have a playlist of van classics that we always seem to have on and always seems to get us through long journeys between cities – this mainly includes children’s TV themes, Van Halen and Chris De Burgh. If we’re not listening to that I guess we usually listen to lots of our mates’ music. We’re lucky enough to know loads of people in great bands putting out great music. At the moment we’re all on a bit of a mad Enjoyable Listens’ rush – we met them doing a show in Milton Keynes and we’ve been best pals since, they’re even joining us on a couple of our tour dates so go check ‘em out. Other than that, it’s probably just going to be Wilco.
And what’s the dream (awake or asleep)?
Matching Flying-V instruments for the whole band (Flying-V acoustic, Flying-V double bass, Flying-V keytar, somebody needs to figure out how to make a drum-kit Flying-V).
Tour dates below
28th – Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
29th – Manchester, 78 Sackville Street
30th – Staithes, The Captain Cook Inn
31st – Sunderland, Pop Recs
31st – Newcastle, Little Buildings
1st – York, The Crescent
2nd – Glasgow, The Glad Cafe
3rd – Liverpool, The Jacaranda Club
6th – Bristol, Hy-Brasil Music Club
7th – Plymouth, The Junction
8th – Falmouth, Killigrew Inn
9th – Truro, Prime
10th – Brighton, The Green Door Store
11th – Bournemouth, Sixty Million Postcards
12th – Ipswich, The Smokehouse
13th – London, The Victoria
19th – Cardiff, Wales Goes Pop
20th – London, Nunfest
Interview by Siobhan, photo via Tugboat Captain
15th March 2019