LEO Wyndham, lead singer of the London-based alt-rock band Palace, manages to spare some time out of his busy schedule to talk about touring, his love for Manchester, and plans for an upcoming debut album to Quays News entertainment reporter Eleanor Doward…
Palace are set to play Soup Kitchen in Manchester on October 27. But there’s no time to rest-up before then; a jam-packed tour schedule awaits them right through to December with barely a breather between shows. As I chat to Leo, he is gearing up for a show at The Cornerhouse in Cambridge.
With an inspired new EP and an always-hard-to-come-by glowing NME review of their earlier EP under their belts, I worried that I might be met with someone a little – shall we say – high and mighty. I couldn’t have been further off the mark. Wyndham was chatty, funny and modest.
“We started the band as a fun thing,” he explains. “Just a mess around thing to do in the evenings. And suddenly we see ourselves in the situation that we’re in now and we can’t quite believe this has happened, it’s just a dream.”
— SomeGuy (@ConorByrne_95) September 27, 2015
Leo, Rupert, Will and Matt, all childhood friends, formed the group in 2012:
“We’ve grown up being good mates,” Wyndham said. “And we’ve always played instruments from a young age. But about three years ago we thought it was about time that we started something together and formed a band.
“We very quickly realised that people were pretty into us and saw something there.”
Their last EP, ‘Lost in the Night’, received deservedly high praise. Speaking about the new EP, ‘Chase the Light’, Wyndham told me that “the songs came out of the same vein [as the earlier EP], but it feels a bit bigger and more epic.”
When asked if he could describe it in three words, a flustered Wyndham said: “I’d say…erm…epic. It sounds really arrogant, but epic, broad in terms of the range of it and ethereal. Or sexy.”
The group has been compared to The Maccabees, who are signed to the same record label as Palace, but Wyndham modestly refutes the comparison.
“We’re literally psycho fans of The Maccabees and they’re probably quite scared of us. It was a dream to hear ourselves put in the same category as them but we don’t really agree with that.
“If we could be half as big as them we’d be pretty happy really.”
Wyndham cites personal influences as Jeff Buckley and Otis Redding: “Any kind of performer who gives it real heart; that’s something I really connect with.”
True to his word, Wyndham’s favourite track from the ‘Chase the Light’ EP is the track that he claims to be the most heartfelt and meaningful, ‘Settle Down’, a love song written for his girlfriend.
After a busy period working on their new material and planning their tour of the UK and beyond, Wyndham tells me that he’s excited to do some exploring. The band will play venues in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany in November.
“Basically we’ll be doing lots of touring and hopefully travelling around the world, getting to see cool places.”
Palace are especially excited to be playing in Manchester, it seems, a meaningful place for Wyndham in particular.
“My brother went to Manchester University, so I used to go up a lot and see him. I really love Manchester and I love Mancunians.”
Having played in Manchester once before as a support act, the group are looking forward to headlining in the City: “We’re really excited to go back there. It’s going to be really special – our first headline gig up North.”
That said, the priority is still the music. The band plans to begin working on their debut album in December with the aim to release it in April.
“We want to keep doing what we’re doing and keep releasing music. As long as there are people there to listen to it and enjoy it then we’re always going to keep at it.”
So with the next step a debut album and plenty more touring, it seems that we can expect big things this coming year from Palace.
By: Eleanor Doward