The Newcastle band have scored their first Mercury nod with their acclaimed fourth album ‘Spook The Herd’ – which sees them employing their unique brand of atmospheric indie to dissect the hell-scape that we’re all living through. Rising nationalism and entire countries being let down by their leaders are all pertinent themes on the record, but they are always tackled with a degree of impressive subtlety.
“We never do sit down and say ‘this is what we’re going to write a record about’, because it feel too forced and not natural,” Wilde told NME of the record’s themes.
“But that stuff, climate change and global politics is just what you see when you’re flicking through the news. Those things are on my mind and they’re the things we talk about as a band. It seeps into the music.”
She continued: “We’re not political with a ‘capital P’ in the songs, but not in a social commentary kind of way – it’s a personal point of view. We’re not trying to lecture anybody or proclaim that we’ve got the big answers to massive questions. It’s coming from the point of view of people who are just living in these weird times.”
They enter tonight’s ceremony as the rank outsiders – with stiff competition from the likes of Michael Kiwanuka, Porridge Radio, Stormzy and Dua Lipa. But if victory comes their way, the £25,000 couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
“We’ve just discovered that there’s been a big leak in our rehearsal room and a load of stuff is knackered. It would come in pretty useful for that! But we’re not thinking of the winnings – we’re just chuffed to be on the shortlist and have the album heard by more people,” Hazel explained.
And while fans had to wait five years for the arrival of ‘Spook The Herd’, it seems that the follow-up could be here sooner than expected.
She added: “I’m really itching to get started on the next one. We do have a few ideas that we started on, but that had to take a backseat at the start of this lockdown. I’m itching to just getting cracking on the next one, I’m sure it will find its own way.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the winner of the coveted prize will be announced on The One Show on BBC One tonight, after a week of programming that will also include a special of Later… With Jools Holland featuring performances from all nominees.
You can check all our interviews with the nominated artists here.