Elbow - More beautiful days in store for Guy and his happy campers

Elbow's status as perennial festival favourites saw them playing an energy-sapping 29 events last year. But not this summer, their frontman tells Andy Gill – it's time the 'travelling circus' hung around to soak up the vibe

For Guy Garvey, genial frontman of Latitude headliners Elbow, festivals have become a keenly anticipated part of the band's summer schedule, offering an escape from their normal routine, operating according to what they call "Fezzy Rules".

"We get dead excited about it," he says. "We love regular touring, but this is totally different. It's like being part of a travelling circus, there's a lot more elements of fun to the festival period." Besides playing their music to people who aren't necessarily there to see them, they also appreciate getting to hang out with other bands, whom they only meet in those environments. "It's a nice feeling to be accepted by the music community, and it's great to run into your mates in that setting," says Garvey. "But you can't get too worried about your gig, because you're not allowed a soundcheck – it's probably much harder for the crew, they really have to be on their game, know what they're doing and do it quickly. For us, we just wander on and do what we do – we call it 'Fezzy Rules'."

Last year, Elbow played an extraordinary 29 festivals worldwide, often as many as two or three each weekend, jumping back on their bus as soon as their set was finished in order to get to the next tribal gathering. "We're doing it at a more gentlemanly pace this year," says Garvey with relief. "We've only got eight festivals, I think, so we'll try and hang around afterwards, get a bit of atmosphere."

Guy's first festival experience was the 1999 Reading Festival, which remains one of his most memorable gigs. "I'd never been to a festival before we played one, and I didn't know what to expect," he recalls. "I thought, 'This is great! Everybody's covered in shit, and drunk, and really getting into the music! I could learn to love this!'"

Last year's Glastonbury was another high-point in the band's career. "We had such a good weekend," says Guy. For Latitude, Elbow are planning a few special moments, including the premiere of some new material. 

"There's a possibility of one song, but we're all a bit nervous about it, because the wonderweb means you get YouTubed, and that becomes the definitive version for some people," he says. "But we like the idea of road-testing material before committing it to vinyl, which we've never been able to do since the first album. I owe the bootleggers, though, in terms of evidence of one American tour I wouldn't otherwise be entirely convinced I was part of. I can't remember a day of it – but luckily, the bootleggers recorded every show!

"And our set will include some stuff from Build a Rocket Boys! that we haven't played before – we're doing "High Ideals", which I'm over the moon about. It's an odd song for us; it's got two verses, a bit of a chorus, and the rest of it sounds like a bizarre theme tune. Strings and brass, choral work – it's great, the full nine yards."

As well as producing the next album by fellow Mancunians I Am Kloot, Guy and the band have recently been writing material for their own next album, something he admits requires the kind of focus that can't be sustained whilst touring.

As the lyricist, a lot of the responsibility for the direction and meaning of each project falls on Garvey's broad shoulders, a duty he relishes.

"When we started this record about six months ago, I wrote down in big letters 'THE GREY AREAS'," he says. "I wanted to write songs about the grey areas that you don't often hear about in songs. I've written a song about breaking up with someone – which I've done many times before – but this time it's about the sense of relief you have when something fails: alongside the hurt, there's always a sense of, 'Well, at least I know where I am now'. We've got a song called "And It Snowed" which tries to address that. 

"There's a pattern emerging, of writing about the minutiae that don't often get written about. I've also got something about this feeling I have, that as a species, we're on the verge of something all-encompassing, a little piece of universal wisdom that will tie everything together in a way it hadn't been before. It feels like the beginning of a yawn, almost, but it's deeper than that."

And though he may sound somewhat vague about this possible revelation, Garvey's songs confirm his keenly empathic sensibility. He's no stranger to fortuitous coincidence, either. When he and his partner, Emma, were house-hunting in north Manchester, the first place they looked at seemed perfect for them. "But the funny thing was, when we first went there with the estate agent, it felt familiar, as if we'd already been there," he says. "Then when we met the owner, she opened the door and said, 'Is it Guy?'. I said, 'That's right'. She said, 'You used to play round here with our Jed when you were a kid!'. There was me thinking she'd recognised me from my fame, but no: I had been there before." 

Clearly, fate had brought Guy back to the centre of his universe. How cool is that? 

Elbow headline Latitude Festival on 14 July (latitudefestival.co.uk)

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little