Some bands just make you sit back and go ‘wow’ when you hear their music for the first time. Document made their way into that category for us when they released their first single Pity in early February, and managed to firmly establish themselves as a band to watch when they released their second single The Spy Who Came In From The Cold four weeks later.
Both tracks feature on their newly released, full debut EP. ‘A Camera Wanders All Night’ is a stunning piece of work, and a firm statement of intent from a band that seem destined to assert themselves as a leading light in the flourishing post punk scene.
‘A Camera Wanders All Night’ sounds like a record that’s been a long time in the making, a culmination of ideas that have been tried, tested, and fine-tuned before being launched on the world. This is the sound of a confident and experienced band, who know how to write quality music. It’s incredible to think that this is their debut, so free is it from rough edges. Each one of these five tracks could hold it’s own on an album, of which the prospect for this band seems mouth-watering.
Document spent the best part of 2019 gigging within the Manchester venue circuit, supporting the likes of Phobophobes, Polevaulter, TVAM and Sweaty Palms, as well as performing at club nights curated by The Blinders and London’s Never Heard Of Ya. We caught up with the band to discuss the EP, their influences, COVID19 and the future.
A Camera Wanders All Night feels like a record that’s been a long time in the making. How long have you been brewing the songs for?
The songs on the EP are tracks which we wrote when we first started the band. Most of them had been written by Charlie and Alex prior to the band even beginning, so when we got in a room together as the 5 of us it was a matter of fleshing the songs out and making them work as live compositions. Pity was conceived by us all hitting our instruments for about two and a half minutes and calling it a song, but we think that worked out pretty well haha! All in all, we’ve had these songs since our first gig, so by the release it’ll almost be a year to the day.
What inspired the title of the EP?
The EP title came from Sam Kennedy, the artist who has made the amazing covers for our singles and EP. ‘A Camera Wanders All Night’ was just a phrase which was added by Ken to artwork and we thought it was a perfect name for the record. We thought it was fitting due to the themes of paranoia and surveillance found in the lyrics throughout the EP.
Can you take us through the narrative in each song?
There are themes that ring true with every song I believe. The main focus for the themes were of paranoia, desolation and our monotonous existence. 'The Spy Who Came in From The Cold' talks of isolation and delusion from Leamas, whilst 'The World Until Yesterday' fears for the future of our youth and this planet. 'Pity' is a paranoid persuasion of anxiety and the fearful world we live in. 'Uncle Sam's Daughter' is the profound expression of romance to a stranger and the prospect of the American Dream. 'American Heat' shows the process of an evil character taking charge to bring forward the second great depression. Sound familiar?
The EP sounds quite diverse in some respects and yet cohesive. When you write, are you conscious of the need to apply different approaches to your songs?
As mentioned before, the tracks on the EP were written prior to Document forming and this meant thematically they weren’t the most cohesive set of songs. There are so many different influences going into these songs but once we began playing through them as a band we soon realised that they would work well together seeing as it was the 5 of us playing together and creating these sounds. It’s the musicians that make the tracks cohesive in a sense.
The Guitar on ‘The Spy..’ reminds me of Bauhaus around the time of In the Flat Field – are they an influence?
It means a lot to hear people comparing us to a band like Bauhaus as they are such a big influence for us. When we started the band they were one of our biggest reference points in terms of songwriting, especially for Charlie, our lead guitarist. Seeing as ‘Spy’ is one of the oldest songs now, it makes sense that you can hear echoes of ‘In the Flat Field’ throughout the tune.
What bands from the original post punk era influence you?
The Birthday Party, The Fall, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Wire, The Smiths, Talking Heads, Josef K, The Gun Club.
You’ve all been in and around the music scene for a while – can you provide some detail on this (experience, current activities)?
Alex, our Frontman/Lyricist, also fronts the brilliant Leeds punk outfit ‘Lumer’ in which he has played all over Europe and toured with great bands such as ‘Crows’ and ‘Yowl’.
Charlie, our Lead Guitarist, plays lead for Manchester artist ‘Phoebe Green’. I’ve been luckily enough to tour the country several times with Phoebe and have had some amazing opportunities which I never thought I’d be able to achieve. Personal highlight is playing the Manchester Arena.
Max, our Bassist, is the touring guitar tech/keys player for Manchester band ‘The Blinders’. He has been a part of their crew since the start of their career and has toured Europe several times with the guys.
Currently we’re all hiding in a decommissioned nuclear bunker about 20 miles outside of Barstow, waiting for the virus to bring about the end of the world.
How easy is it to balance being in different bands, logistically and creatively?
Logistically it’s quite a struggle at times but with a good schedule anything can be achieved! Creatively it can be quite a blessing in honesty. We all bring different influences from our other projects and apply them to our songwriting process within Document which in turn means we come up with some quite interesting sounds and ideas.
COVID19 is proving to be a nightmare for the live music world – how has it impacted you?
The effect the virus has had both on us and the industry in general is really heartbreaking. We’ve had to postpone our headline gig on 27th March which is so frustrating as we’ve been working so hard to make this one really special. Most other gigs we’ve got booked in have either been cancelled or postponed too which is even more upsetting, however everyone is in the same boat so we’ve just got to be patient and remain vigilant in these uncertain times.
When’s the album out?
No plans as of yet unfortunately but we’ve been writing a lot of new material which will hopefully make up our second EP or just be released as a few singles!
A Camera Wanders All Night is available now to buy or or you can stream here. If you like what you hear, give the band a follow and increase their visibility through the following: