Wild Beasts play London’s Field Day festival on August 6.

The festival organisers have just published an interview with the band’s frontman, Hayden Thorpe, on the Field Day webzine, in which he talks at length about some of his unabashedly high-minded influences.

“It was the humanist sentiment of Frankenstein which I was drawn to,” he says, a little bombastically, of the impact of Mary Shelley’s novel on his own work. “Here was a creature in desperate want and need of love, doing dreadful things, but for all the right reasons. I think there’s something deeply embedded in the human dynamic about underlying wants and intentions. The Frankenstein monster is a beautiful tool for demonstrating people’s greed and cruelty towards outsiders and incredible love and kindness towards insiders. The part of the book describing Frankenstein looking in on a family and making sense of their actions is really quite something.”

Asked if he thinks Wild Beasts are a quintessentially British group, he says: “I suppose historically embedded in Britishness is a masochistic sense of humour and a desperate want to draw the exotic and flamboyant out of what is normally a grey mundanity.  I think that’s what we do best. Defying the habitual misery in light of ‘the other’, that colourful paradise we seek on some far off beach. We can never quite be ‘cool’, but maybe that’s all the more endearing.”

Even as they grow in popularity, Wild Beasts continue to divide opinion. Does Thorpe feel they’ve made any mistakes in their career to date?

“We’ve been stubborn. We’ve existed relying upon puristic standards to a debilitating extent at times. We’ve been self righteous when it would have been helpful not to be. Essentially the fact that we started the band as teenagers means we still hold those idealistic standards, this has been are greatest asset and our most dangerous threat. Any mistakes we’ve made we’ve made for ourselves and I suppose that is what counts. I’d rather have discounted a load of bad advice and perhaps a little good advice in the cull rather than accept all the crappy advice that is flung around left right and centre.”

You can read the full interview – which touches also on the work of Hemingway, Almodovar and Morrissey – here.





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