“Hello, RUNNERS!”

19.07.11 Words by: Charlie Jones

A few months ago we popped up to Leeds and saw a band called RUNNERS play a monolithic 19th century imitation Egyptian temple by a canal. They came on at 1am, and were magnificent, playing a tight set that promised sprawling ideas, from head-first dives into krautrock, acid house and noise. A DIY band that played with absolute commitment to adventurous and fun music who like Egyptian shit and space, we fell in love with them over the coming months, and eventually asked them if they fancied putting out a record. That record – Starting Line – is out now, for free download through our label page and 12“s will be coming in soon. Have a listen to Starting Line and find out a bit more about this extraordinary band.

Ready … set …

What’s your name?

Dom. From RUNNERS.

How old are you?

I’m about to turn 30, RUNNERS started playing last May.

What’s your current location?

All in Leeds; we record in a studio in Armley.

How would you describe your sound?

It varies – our music has a nervous energy that we all share. We jam, so lots of different things can get sucked in, from disco to abstracted Miami funk. Same stuff, different strains!

How do you record?

We’re still finding our feet, trying things out in the studio. Recording’s a process of tightening, more than than anything. We’ve just moved into our own studio, which we’ve named Tranquility Base. It has a different vibe to my kitchen because you get natural light.

What’s your previous experience?

Nash played in Kowtown and Tigers, Toby, Leon and myself played in Double Six Flight Time, me and Leon played in Chops. We also ran a record label and night, and I toured the world as a band driver.

Who’re your heroes?

Toby’s would probably be a space scientist, Nash a filmmaker. Mine would be Sun Ra perhaps, or Mingus – musicians who were also motivated politically, people for whom it was about more than music. I suppose it’s a pioneering spirit we’re all drawn to.

What’s the next release?

There’s the Dummy one, obviously! And we’re recording all the time, and figuring out what form these songs will take, album, EPs, how they shape up.

One of the things that I dig about RUNNERS is this total, hardline DIY upbringing, and the principles thereof, applied to dance music.

Yeah. I don’t think the influences are musically obvious, I think it’s more the approach we take to things. Most of the things we’ve done in the past have been pretty far removed from anything sensible, and sometimes motivated by a desire to make actively unpleasant music, but we’ve stopped doing silly, exhausting things like that for now. It’s more fun to make people dance than scratch their beards anyway. I think that DIY music teaches you a lack compromise. And that can be really conducive to creating art, because you’re not making things for money, you’re doing it because you want to make something you just like.

I love the mentions of space and running. Toby was nearly a spaceman, right?

Yeah! Toby is a doctor, he nearly went to space with the European Space Agency. And we just like the aesthetic of those early computer designs that would accompany tales of humanity’s blank spread across the universe. And with Runners, and Starting Line, and the WordPress name Long-Distance Runners, it’s got loads of meanings – runners on a train track, the general forward motion and sense movement and escape. And low-level drug dealers, we identify with them.

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