You released a new album this year and it’s your first one since 2010, so what was the reason you guys wanted to create an album after so long?
When we did our first four records that was our life, we didn’t have families, we were young and had no responsibilities so our life and our family was FLC. Through getting older and a bit wiser, we want to live life and that helps us get inspired to write music, especially lyrics, and it’s unfortunate, but we don’t live near each other anymore. Huey is way out in Somerset, I’m close to London, Frank’s up in the midlands, so it’s just not as easy.
The record ‘Classic Fantastic’ we did by emailing parts to each other - a lot of people do it, we have some friends in New York who make their living by people emailing them a song, they write keyboard parts and then email it back as an MP3 and people pay them and they email it back as a proper file. It's great that technology allows us to do it but you lose the vibe of an album which has kind of died anyway. Everyone buys the songs based on a 90 second preview where its has killed the album. Doing things long distance, we know it didn’t work because we only play one or two songs off that record whereas ‘Another Mimosa’ we met in London at a studio, but it was only a couple of times a month for four hours at a time which isn’t really enough time to get creative. It's enough time to come and be like ‘Ok, we've got to do guitars today’ and you only have four hours so you feel rushed.
With this new record, we just started to pick the songs and ideas which is original material we’ve been writing over ten years, which is good that we have the music ready. I think with this one, we’re planning on going back to how we did it originally which is getting the demos done over emails and then we’ve got to find someone to finance it for us to be able to go to New York to our great studio, our engineer who has mixed and recorded all our records is in New York so we need to go to the studio for about 10 days to actually record everything together and then it will feel like an album.
Whether or not people buy albums anymore doesn't matter, we’re a band that makes albums and that's something we’re hoping with this next record - with any luck we can get it out next year at some point. We want to do it quick because ‘Another Mimosa’ was a covers record and that record proved to us that we can still do music together so it really inspired us to do another Criminals record. I think the fans might have been a little upset that it took 10 years to do a cover record, but will now be excited when they hear the next one - I have a good feeling about the next record.
So you’re thinking 2020?
I think 2020 is a good estimate. Writing the music for us is always easy, the lyrics are much harder. Huey needs to come up with stories and the best way he can be inspired by New York is to go to New York. I know it's summer holidays coming up with our kids so Huey and I go to the States and Hue will hopefully be in New York for a bit and get inspired to write lyrics. Once the lyrics are done we’ll go to New York, and it’s great when we go to New York because we always try and book a gig which helps pay for the trip, and then also allows us to play for our friends. Normally we have like a 250+ guest list and 100 people buy tickets because it's just never really worked out in the States for us - the UK was much more interested in us back in the day so we were able to tour everywhere.
Do you have a memorable stage moment?
Ok well I always have two. The one that was the good one was playing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 1999. We didn’t know what to expect, we knew about Glastonbury, we knew it was kinda the Woodstock of England - it was just next level. It was funny because on the day we were all psyched, the promoters were psyched everyone was very positive until Lenny Kravitz showed up, because Lenny and his ego were not happy that they were on before us and the whole day he was being a little baby and trying to switch with us, he wanted to go on after us. I’m not trying to debate he's a bigger artist than us, clearly he's sold a lot more records than us and much more internationally known but we didn't do the billing and Scooby Snacks was huge at the time and he hadn't really released anything in a couple years. So he moaned to the promoters, they told him to get off his high horse and he did a killer show. We came on and we killed it, especially if you see that Youtube footage of Scooby Snack - in those three and a half minutes everyone wanted to party like never before and it was amazing that it was video taped.
The funny part of the story was that a few months later, Huey was in New York at a bar and in the back corner dressed like he's in a music video is Lenny Kravitz with his sunglasses on in a club - it's like give me a break I wanna slap those glasses off. So Huey, being classic Huey, sent a Champagne-like jug filled with ice and one beer over to the table for Lenny with a note that said ‘Dear Lenoard,’ which obviously pisses him off, ‘Thank you for opening for us at Glastonbury, love Huey. It's funny because it's cocky and Huey has an ego, singers have egos, but wearing sunglasses inside it’s like you’re not Jimi Hendrix, respect to his music though. I don’t think he was happy, but Huey would’ve probably laughed finished his drink and left anyway because he doesn't want to get into a fight with him.
We did a show in Eastern Europe years ago, and sometimes you play Eastern Europe and the production wasn't really up to scratch. It was a great festival, but at the time of year in this particular town they have a bug infestation, so during our show, which was right at sunset when the lights were just coming on, all the bugs decided to go up into these bright hot lights and die and just rain on us - it was awful. I remember our roadies were making sure nothing breaks but the main thing they were doing was spraying us with bug spray during our songs. The next day I looked at our keyboard setup, it was just disgusting, there were bugs in the drums, bugs in the keys on the keyboard. When I say infestation it wasn't like 100 or 200 bugs it was millions of them that were just raining on us the whole show. It was horrible. The show was good but not the bug infestation. When we got to the sight there were bugs flying everywhere around they’re not like mosquitoes but they’re nasty bugs that are just in your face and it as humid and hot which doesn't help, but it was just the time of day and the lights and they were so hot so they all went up. It was raining awful bugs it was really kinda gross.
Who are you currently listening to at the minute?
I guess I only really listen to Classic Disco Funk 80s - that’s just what I love. I listen to Hip-Hop and Reggae that’s like older music. Newer music I like because I DJ, and I DJ in this Caribbean Restaurant called the Rum Kitchen
in London and I tend to play newer Hip-Hop UK-based stuff so I like it. I love producers like Diztortion and Donae’o, I could name loads of them. What Wiley’s doing on his track with Idris Elba was huge, but a year and a half ago or last summer I was playing Boasty by Wiley before Sean Paul and Idris were on it and it was massive then so I do love it. Prince, there's not a day that goes by that I don't listen to Prince, clearly because its Franks favourite artist of all time so we have to listen to it all the time. And it's sad Prince died but it's amazing that he's releasing all his music from the vault because its stuff he wouldn’t release and it needed to be heard, it's great.
Tell me a bit more about your DJ-ing, how did you get into that?
I’ve always loved it and it’s easy work, you get to go to cool places and eat and drink for free and play music for people and if you get good at it you can kinda do it. I was DJ-ing at some clubs and some mates that were managing it said they were opening this Caribbean restaurant, do I want to be the guy that helps us with the music and I said of course, this is a great chance for me to play music that I do love. I love house music, but every club and bar in London plays house music eventually and it's a Caribbean bar so we decided to play hip hop and reggae. There’s nothing better than when you're playing music in clubs and people are singing the words and a lot of house music doesn't have that does it?
Is there anything you would like to say to the Village Green crowd about your performance?
We’re looking forward to hanging out and we’ll probably play for around an hour and we hope we can all have a good time and it’s not raining and just have a good party and the cats that know our music will be happy and those that don’t might be surprised. Drink tequila because that's what we drink.