Wild Beasts talk festivals, Liam and weird onstage requests

As part of our VO5 festival showcase, Wild Beasts played an intimate show in the NME basement.

You’ve just got back from Glasto. How was it for you?

Hayden: “Playing the Other Stage was intense – it’s a lot to take in, it’s like hyper stimulation and it’s everything at once, all the emotions; terror, panic, joy, love, noise. It’s all things.”


Did you hang out with Liam?

Tom: “I wish.”

Hayden: “Me and Chris were kind of just giggling like girls, [we] got a bit shy and a bit weird.”


Who did you see play?

“Radiohead. It was wonderful, masterful. It was a strange story arc for us, playing on that slot and Liam playing two slots later. I was watching it with Chris our drummer and we were primary school kids together, we were in an Oasis tribute band at 8 and 9! Then you had Corbyn on the Pyramid Stage.. It was just a privilege to be part of.”


Do you make your festival sets different from your own headline shows?

Tom: “Unless you’re fortunate enough to be Radiohead, they have to be shorter and sharper. You have to kind of weaponise it, you have to decide which are the flashpoints in your catalogue and stick them together and hope it works.”


You must have been playing festivals for a decade now…

Hayden: “Our first ever festival was probably Wireless in Leeds in 2007. We heard, because we were an up-and-coming Leeds band at the time, that the Kaiser Chiefs had actually put in a good word for us cause they were headlining that night.”


You are playing the last ever Secret Garden Party – how do you feel about there being one less event on the festival landscape?

Tom: “I think it’s a shame when something shuts down [and] it was run pretty independently minded. It definitely had its identity. I’m sad to see it go.”


You’re also playing Citadel. What’s your take on city festivals – do you prefer them to the ones in the great outdoors?

Tom: “They’re definitely different but they’re fun. Foals are playing straight after us who we’re good friends with then we’re off DJ-ing, then we just jump in a taxi home!”


Give us a taster of your DJ set…

Tom: “Without meaning to sound reductive I think our job is to make women dance so that the awkward men dance too. So certainly the big pop hitters, some very 4/4 stuff and some very adventurous tracks when we feel like we dare. But certainly the idea is to keep things moving, we’re not trying to give everyone a musicology lesson!”


What’s the last festival you went to as a punter?

Hayden: “We were playing at Primavera but we were on at 1am on the last day so I did have a full experience before our show. Solange was worth the whole trip alone -she was spectacular. Primavera is one of the special ones.”


And there’s tapas too.

Hayden: “Yes, tapas always helps.”


What’s been your biggest ever festival fail?

Hayden: “Well, there was a Glastonbury when there was a lightning strike on site so they shut down everything and we were just about to go on stage and we were told you’re off. It went from full adrenaline to being in the dressing room, in the foetal position thinking you’ve lost your Glasto slot.”


When you’re at festivals what’s your poison?

Hayden: “I’ve actually got to cite Ben Little our guitar player’s rider for this; a still water, a sparkling water and a coconut water. That’s all 3 of the waters on stage, no beer, just water for these lads. I guess there is some sense to it, because there’s a point when you need to be satiated; you need the still water. There’s a time when you need the sparkle to give you a pep up and then the coconut water has a vague kind of bodily fluid element to it which may give you a feeling of vitality and a visceral kind of feel. To defend the guy that isn’t here, I think that’s a pretty good trio of stage drinks.”

Have started to write any new stuff?

Tom: “Touring is really intense, so the muse doesn’t tend to visit when we’re heavily on tour. We’re thinking about the next thing but we don’t want to say anything misleading!”