Interview: Get to know indie-pop quartet Corella

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From being complete strangers to one of the top up and coming indie pop bands of the North, Corella hit the ground running from the get-go. I get to catch up with lead singer and guitarist, Joel Smith to find out what has been happening inside their busy camp.

Like most young musicians that turn up to university, you want to scout around to find the different talents on campus and attempt to form a band, but for the quartet, it just all fell neatly into place. “We first met when we all came to uni, we kinda didn’t know each other at all,” Joel explains. “I remember walking into my uni flat and seeing Jack (guitarist) and saying, ‘Oh what do you do?’ – oh, he plays the guitar and I said, well I sing and play the guitar as well and then Faw (James Fawcett) walked in and said he plays the drums. So we were like; right we have three people here, we just need one more – we need a bass player to start a band.”

Lucky for the three of them Fawcett knew Ben Henderson back in his hometown of York and that’s how they met. “It was kind of fate how we all met so it was really odd.” Adds Smith. “We just started jamming and then we knew we had similar interests in music and stuff so from there it just came out so it was interesting.”

Was it hard to get the different personalities to gel together? Luckily for the boys, they got off to a great start. “It was really weird, because we just met each other, and it was as if we knew each other from back in school.” Now I’ve interviewed a fair few bands in my time and I don’t think any have formed in a way that is so easy. When you randomly meet two guys who play the guitar and drums, life could not be any better for you.

It helps when you also share similar music tastes: “Me, Faw and Ben like Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Comets and Two Door Cinema Club and bands like that. Bands that have been there and done the indie scene and have that upbeat tempo/happy vibe about them. Then Jack adds that extra flair with the likes of Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to his lead guitar role.”

Getting more into the music, how do Corella write songs. “We kind of do it off past tense,” states Smith, “Me and Ben really focus on the songwriting.” The band travelled out to Barcelona to shoot the video for their single ‘Barcelona Girl’ as the song was based on a summery vibe as he explains: “We wanted to get across a summer feel so that came out.”

“The inspiration comes from what’s happened in our past lives and obviously, it’s cliché, but relationships and stuff like that.” Once the guys are in the studio writing and recording together, that’s when all the creative stuff starts coming out. “We kind of rely on each other to bring out the creativity,” says Smith. Upbeat indie-pop is making a serious comeback, and riding the wave with ‘Barcelona Girl’ and ‘Say Something’, Corella have a good repertoire of songs to hit the music venues and festival stages with.


Photo by Dawncast

Although Corella are under the radar with the big stages, They have had good success with the TV channels, ‘Barcelona Girl’ was featured on ITV’s Good Morning show as Smith explains: “That was crazy as they play unsigned bands on some of their fashion weekly shows. Our manager Nick, sent in the track and they absolutely loved it straight away.” The song is a perfect fit for the fashion items they were showing as they were featured back in the summer of last year.

“I remember waking up on the morning and I had loads of messages on my phone of people saying ‘Oh my God, Barcelona Girl’s just been played on ITV’ and loads of people were tweeting us and stuff. It was amazing to be on national TV and that’s a massive thing, so that was surreal to be fair.” They also managed to get a cheeky comment from Phillip Schofield who said it was a ‘good track’. “I’m taking that as we’re best friends now,” laughs Smith as he clearly loves the fact that Schofield might be a fan of Corella.

The track recently hit 500,000 plays on Spotify this month, which has been a big shock to Smith: “When we first started off, we never thought we would get numbers like that. I remember when we first released ‘Waterfall’ [debut single] on Spotify and was getting a few thousand plays and I was like these bands around us are getting so many more plays, they’re being featured on Spotify playlists, they’re reaching everywhere and when we brought out ‘Barcelona Girl’, the next day it got put on Spotify’s, The Indie List.” All good things come to those who wait, boys, remember that.

Their uncontrollable excitement when they made it onto The Indie List just goes to show how much it means to them: “We were just bouncing around the room – we just couldn’t believe it. For a small time band who’s not got management or has never had anything like that before, I think it really showed upon us. We couldn’t believe it and now it’s getting so many plays now. It just keeps on growing and growing.”

Speaking of new music, the band have recently announced that their new single, ‘Caught Up’, will be out this month (February 23). The band have taken a slightly different approach to their upbeat attitude. The track is bolder and sounds more refined. “I think I dived into ‘Caught Up’ being written about going to a festival with your friends and not really caring about anything and that shows in the song I think. It’s got a different meaning to it instead of depressing lyrics or anything like that it’s a little bit more… I think it can reach out to a larger audience who obviously like the festival scene.” I’ve had a listen to the track myself and I can say you’re in for a treat!

Corella have a seven-date UK tour coming up at the end of February and early March where you can most likely hear ‘Caught Up’ in action. “We’ve got a bunch of festivals coming up too – so many more than last year – so it’s just going to be even better”. They have big things in the pipeline this year, “planned out” as Smith states and to top it all off they have something big happening in Autumn.

With a busier schedule than last year, the only way the unsigned four-piece can go is up.

– featured image by Dawncast –


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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ICM, full-time journalist, occasional photographer, Chelsea FC.

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