Viva! Los Campesinos!
Comprised of seven West Country indie-kids in their early twenties, a blur of hair clips and nu-rave colours, Los Campesinos! are the latest Next Big Thing. Often described as twee and compared to mid-nineties Teen C bands like Bis the signs may not be immediately promising. But see them live and you realise they may actually be the next BIGGEST thing. Yes, they’re that good. The superbly crafted bouncy indie-pop of their debut EP Sticking Fingers Into Sockets includes infectious debut single We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives, Don't Tell Me to Do the Math(s), the wonderful You! Me! Dancing! and the lyrically-brilliant It Started With a Mixx. In fact Los Campesinos! produce that rarest of things – proper pop music with wonderfully intelligent, pertinent lyrics. Gareth Los Campesinos! (I’m guessing not his real name), 22, the band’s lead singer, is a passionate veggie and Viva! supporter, and I was thrilled to be invited to meet him and to one of their gigs at The Thekla in Bristol. Before the gig I chatted to Gareth about his beliefs. Why did he go veggie in the first place? “It’s a rubbish reason really!” says Gareth, being typically self-effacing. “My girlfriend at the time was vegetarian, so that made me decide to become one…we spent a lot of time together over summer and so when we were cooking obviously we weren’t cooking meat. And I just realised that I didn’t need to eat meat. Since I turned vegetarian I haven’t lapsed once,” he says, obviously proud of his achievement. I point out that he wouldn’t still be vegetarian if that was the only reason, and he agrees. “The main reason is I just think it’s completely unnecessary. We don’t need to kill things to eat them so I don’t know why we do. And of course there’s the cruelty side, it’s nice not to be involved in cruelty if you don’t have to be. I mean I’m not a passionate animal person…you don’t have to love animals to think that we shouldn’t be killing them. I just think it’s horrible that we lock animals up and subject them to cruelty just so we can eat them.” What would he say to people who say they love animals but then eat them? “I would say OK I’ll eat your dog then! I hate people who are all lovey-dovey with their dogs and cats but sit there eating a hamburger. If things had been different hundreds of years ago we could have pigs in our houses and be eating dogs! There’s no difference between eating a pig or a dog, they’re all animals and none of them deserve to be eaten.” I was honoured to be interviewing Gareth, so was pleasantly surprised by how pleased he seemed to meet me! In fact, he’s a passionate Viva! supporter and seems really keen to spread the message. “Joining Viva! is a great way to access a network of like minded people, who realise that by changing your diet you not only help animals but you help yourself and the environment,” he was keen to point out. “Sometimes it’s hard when you are surrounded by friends who may not share your beliefs on vegetarianism and that’s why joining Viva! is a great thing to do, you become part of a community or people that are all acting to help change the world.” At this point he’s called away to play, but not before thanking us profusely and asking me to send him more information about out campaigns. Downstairs, the venue is absolutely packed with screeching, dancing fans and once the band start playing, it’s easy to see why. In fact I’m blown away by the mesmerising, high energy performance, catchy tunes and meaningful, witty lyrics. They really do seem to be headed for great things and with a compassionate, charismatic lead singer at their helm and truly blinding pop songs there’s only one thing left to say…Viva! Los Campesinos!