I caught up with Paul Townsend from Hundred Reasons a few days before they hit the road to promote their forthcoming third album 'Kill Your Own'.

R13: How have things changed for you now you've signed to a major label (V2)?
PT:Well they're actually classed as an independent label, I was quite surprised when I found that out but apparently they're independent. I mean they're owned by Richard Branson so they can have as much money as he wants to throw at them!

R13: So has that changed things for you guys as a band?
PT:No not really, as before we were signed to Sony. Gravity was our management company and it's also a record label, so when we weren't doing anything with Sony we managed to release some stuff with them because that's where our true loyalties lie. Gravity has been our management company since before we were all in this band.

R13: You been giving away CDs in the form of the Singles Club series on tours? Whose idea was it and what was the motivation behind it?
PT:The original Singles Club that was probably our manager James' idea and then they talked to a man called Blair Macdonald at Columbia about it and they decided to put it through and we thought it was a really good idea, because we figured the best way to promote our kind of band (because we're not a pop kinda band) is to get our music out there. We're more of a live band, a touring band, so the best thing to do is to be loyal to the people that are loyal to us. So we do things like always trying to release original songs and try and get as much material out as possible. The loyal people, like the people that came out for the last tour in December, when we gave out Singles Club 1, they're the kind of people that have always stuck with us, so we try to give them things that other people will find hard to get.

R13: So is that going to be something you continue doing on future tours?
PT:Hopefully yeah, we should be doing a few more Singles Clubs, we haven't talked about the next one yet because we've got so much material coming out at the moment. We've got a single coming out and an album coming out, but we will definitely do more Singles Clubs.

R13: You mentioned that you've all been in different bands, and a few of the side projects in the band have been highly successful. Has that affected you guys playing together or anything like that?
PT:No not at all, we agreed from the beginning that we all had interests in doing music elsewhere, because when we work together we work as a five piece. Everyone has a creative input and everyone writes so you have to compromise a lot. We all have an interest in getting our own ideas out there so you don't have to compromise so much, and we've all agreed that that's something we want to do, but we've all agreed that Hundred Reasons is our number one priority. The deal is nothing else gets in the way, and it hasn't, everyone is very happy and supportive of one another.

R13: I guess it must help having Larry as part of the band as he's a great producer, does that help the band get more input into the album when you're recording?
PT:I think we probably did have more input to the album this time, but I think that's just because we've learnt through making records with Dave Sardy, who's a very clever man, and we've learnt a lot from him. Through making two records with him we're better at structuring our songs and our albums anyway. Larry has said 'I think we should do this' or 'I think we should do that' so he's had a producer's influence. He's a good producer and we all trust him and the songs have all come out brilliantly, we're all really happy with it.

R13: So when you sat down to write this latest album, how did you go about the writing process this time?
PT:We decided not to do it the same way that we wrote the second record, we were too mellow and relaxed and so we wrote lots of happy mellow songs. We just did what we did with the first record, got back in the rehearsal studio and just rehearsed all the time and played all the time until we annoyed the piss out of each other and wrote some cool songs.

R13: So you jammed it all out rather than just had a few ideas which you worked on?
PT:Sometimes ideas were brought in from bedroom rock. But half the time we'd write in a room together, somebody would be messing around and we'd go Oo I like that, people would join in and then normally by the end of it the idea would be so different you wouldn't recognise it but we'd get songs out of it. Some of them were rubbish and some of them were good, so we let people hear the good ones!

R13: You said the last album was quite happy and chilled, how would you sum up this new album then?
PT:Well it was quite stressful with us recently because parting company with Sony was obviously very stressful and the second record wasn't received as well as we would have liked. We were kind of worried that we weren't going to be able to do this full time anymore. Which we like to do, we want to stay on the road, we want to be able to tour all the time and we want to be able to write all the time. It was getting quite tough because even though we had no money, it's still a full time job so we're pretty much all incredibly broke and in debt. We've had a lot of stresses but at the same time we've remained solid as friends and worked hard and it's all gonna pay off!

R13: So you've come through the dark times?
PT:Yeah, I think people think they were darker than they were! I went in to do some work yesterday with a friend and they told me that on XFM they've been saying we've split up and fallen out with each other. A few people have said that to me, it wasn't quite as bad as all that, we were just poverty stricken. But apart from that it's still just hanging out with other guys in the band, I can't say it was horrible, we were just all a little bit thinner because we hadn't eaten as much.

R13: So you're all still getting on fine?
PT:Oh god yeah! Definitely! We always have a laugh, take the piss out of each other and argue as well but we always have a laugh.

R13: What do you think went wrong with the second album then?
PT:I think many many things went wrong with the second record, but at the same time, this may sound stupid but I'm very proud of it as well. I think it was a very necessary learning curve. The first record we pretty much just got lucky, we wrote what appeared to be quite an immediate rock record, we weren't really aware of it, we just had quite a few songs and we picked the ones we liked the most and threw them on a record. We didn't have an experience of how it works, we just got lucky really. For the second record, by then we'd learnt so much as musicians and songwriters, that we wanted to put so much of that into the record as possible. Like I said we were in our comfort zone, we were all very happy, we decided that because the first record was incredibly stressful we decided we'd go to Cornwall and live in a studio, go surfing every morning and barbeque every night. But I guess we were too happy and we didn't write a challenging enough record. We're all still proud of it though, we kinda agreed that we're happy with the songs that are on there but those songs should not have all gone on one record. It's all very mid-paced, all the same kinda tempo, they're the kinda songs where if we took three and spread them over many albums then I don't think it would have been an issue, it's just because they were all put together. At the same time though it didn't help that Sony pulled out before it was released, they pulled all the budget because the first single did badly, but the first single was chosen by them anyway! It's all a shame, but we're all incredibly happy with the new record and the new deal.

R13: So this one's going to be more edgy and more rocky than the previous one?
PT:Yeah, I think it's more edgy and rocky than both our previous albums. I think it's a better one.

R13: Have you played much of it on tour yet?
PT:Yeah actually we've played quite a lot of it on tour. We've actually got most of the album up on the internet spread over our myspace page and our website, so a lot of people have heard the songs. I mean we've had 'No Pretending' knocking about for over a year now and that's on our live DVD as well so people know a lot of the newer songs and we've been playing them as much as possible because obviously we're very proud of them and want to play them. It's quite hard to introduce new songs, like too many at a time to people. People are paying you to see your gigs to hear the songs that they like so you've got to introduce them slowly. Through the fantastic use of the internet we've been able to show people our new songs, without even the record label getting upset as we haven't made them copyable.

R13: You guys seem to use the internet a lot for promotion and so on?
PT:It's a fantastic way of getting your face out there!
R13: How do you feel about filesharing and illegal downloading and so on?
PT:It's hard to say really because we've all grown up with it in cassettes, you know sharing cassettes and mix tapes, and that stuff is really good. It's kind of a part of more independent music, it's more a part of the culture but now it's got so out of hand that people don't realise how much it's affecting the industry. As long as the industry can change and evolve the it doesn't matter at the end of the day, but if it can't then that's really bad! The more edgy weird bands aren't going to be picked up because they're more of a risk, and people are going to be putting more and more money into people who are obvious winners like Madonna (not that she needs any more money!) but we're going to have more Britney Spears and more Westlifes and less Faith No Mores and less Muses so that kinda worries me. But like I say it's a part of music culture to be copying and sharing that sort of thing, so it's a tough one I guess!

R13: You played lots of great tours around the world with a whole range of different bands, have you got any favourites that you've been on tour with?
PT:Yeah loads! Erm, it would just take ages to say! Incubus are a fantastic band and great people, Muse looked after us fantastically! We've toured with so many great bands though... Capdown, they're one of the coolest bands I've ever toured with, I wanna tour with them again soon!

R13: So do you get any say in who you tour with?
PT:With getting supports we try and nag our management to try and get us on tour because we love the band, or if the opportunity comes up then it's not always about who you like. I mean you might not like the band but it doesn't mean the people who like you won't like them so you've got to get yourself out there. With bands coming supporting us there's only been a few times where it's been a compromise and it's been quite tough because we have an agent and you have to go through big promoters these days. They all seem to have to have a say, you don't always have to go with them but every now and again you should compromise because they're always compromising for us because we're always saying we want to take out Gravity bands, or bands that a lot of people won't have heard of. We got Cave In over about 3 years ago, we got Error Type 11 over before they were Instruction and things like that, so a lot of people make compromises so we can get our way! So a lot of the time we have to compromise for them and take out bands like Inme.

R13: You're not a fan of Nnme then?
PT:I didn't really get to know them, they weren't with us for very long on tour and they mostly kept to themselves a bit, but I'm definitely not a fan of their music.

R13: Do you get to listen to much music while you're touring? Are you taking any CDs with you?
PT:Yeah definitely, but we try to do it separately, otherwise we end up ramming our extreme tastes down other peoples throats! If I hear another Rush record I'm going to kill Andy! I'm sure other people feel the same way about Led Zeppelin from me though [laughs]. You kinda do that in your alone time, you get in your bunk, switch the light on and read a book or something with your walkman on. But sometimes we put something on that we all like, there's many things that we all like but there's crew there and other people to consider so it normally comes down to something like Appetite For Destruction which is just a part pleaser.

R13: It's going to be a few days before you hit the road now, are there any last minute preparations you're making?
PT:Yeah well we're definitely going to be rehearsing, we're also bringing out a guest to play with us to help us out with some of our new songs because we've got extra keyboard samples and stuff.

R13: It seems quite layered the new album...
PT:Yeah and we want to get it across properly so we've hired a friend to come out with us, play some keyboard and a little bit of extra guitar.

R13: So is the sound of the album going to be fully recreated live, or will it have to be changed a bit because of the setting?
PT:We're going to get it as close as possible, some of the things will be difficult to recreate unless you get in massive racks but we've spent a couple of shiny pennies to get some extra sounds and some extra equipment to make it work and we think we've got it pretty close.

R13: So what are you hoping to achieve in 2006?
PT:I just want to tour. It will be brilliant if the record does well because that means we'll get to tour. Basically I just want to get on the road and stay there and go as far as possible!

R13: You don't get tired of life on the road?
PT:Yeah obviously I miss people from home like family and friends and stuff but I never get sick of the road.

R13: Do you have any message for the fans?
PT:See you at the front!