From the moment The Magic Gang step on stage, the spell they cast on their audiences is nothing short of, well, magical. All out dance moves, friends on friends’ shoulders, crowd surfers sailing over heads, and through it all, a characteristic brand of sun-kissed indie pop that leaves you feeling as warm inside as a stock photo of a puppy with a butterfly on its nose.
It’s an ardent enthusiasm the band inspire, one that’s seen them release two EPs, play at venues all across the UK, and start to venture abroad. Now, with a major record deal in the bag, a new EP about to see release, and a headline tour ahead of them, there’s never been a better time to fall for the Brighton four-piece. It’s no wonder that the excitement levels are soaring pretty high.
“I think it’s going to be fraught with disaster,” Jack Kaye laughs, “but we’re excited about it none the less.” Readying to hit the road with their housemates in Abattoir Blues, the group are slightly wary of running the risk that they’ll all end up tearing each other’s hair out, but much like with their music, optimism and ardour weigh out the rest. “They’re a bit of a mad bunch as well,” Jack comments on their soon-to-be tour mates. “It should be really fun.”
With new material at the ready, these shows seem set to be some of the band’s most thrilling yet. “We try and write choruses we can imagine big groups of people singing together,” Jack describes of the rousing characteristic of their music. “We try and make the verses as groovy and as danceable as possible.” This chant-a-long, shake-your-cares-away nature, instilled into everything The Magic Gang do, is exactly what makes their charm so hard to refute.
“When we play live, that’s kind of all it is,” the frontman states. “It’s just trying to create an environment where people want to sing along and smile.” This is something that not only resonates on stage, but with every release the band have put out to date. Rooted in deep friendship and a shared creative passion, the enjoyment they offer stems from their own determination to enjoy themselves.
“Talking to other bands it feels like our writing process is a lot different to what most other people do, or what most of our peers do anyway,” Jack mulls. “It really is such a shared process with us.” With every track born out of creative harmony – something that takes on a quite literal form in the shared harmonies that fill the choruses – The Magic Gang’s latest EP showcases them as bold and bright as ever.
With only a handful of tracks, the new EP is short but sweet, a format the outfit have continuously proved themselves to excel within. “I feel like we’ve done well to not put too many songs on each release,” Jack grins. “It’s made it kind of an easy listen for people.” Consisting of four track written at “quite different times,” the EP is an embodiment of everything the group have come to be.
“The single is basically a love song to Brighton,” Jack portrays. “One of them is a nice ballad Kris [Smith] wrote on his own.” Of course, even on their more melancholy numbers, the outfit never fail to inject their trademark sense of sunshine. “Despite what you’re writing lyrically, the mood of the song is normally determined by the whole band,” the frontman offers as explanation. “Sometimes the lyrics and the music don’t represent the same thing. I think that makes it quite interesting.”
Completed by two further tracks the band describe as “a little bit less autobiographical, a little bit more storytelling, and a little bit more fun,” the EP was barely even announced before the group confirmed they were beginning work on their long anticipated debut album. “We’ve been signed now, we can afford to make an album,” Jack laughs, “which is good.” Having spent three years honing their talents and growing tighter as a unit, the time has never felt more right.
“It felt like there was so much talk,” Jack groans. “You have so many meetings, and there’s so much talk around getting signed. When it finally happens, it feels kind of good to just get it done.” Now signed to Warner Brothers Music, The Magic Gang are ready to make the future their own. “It’s a huge deal to do something like that,” the frontman exclaims, “and it’s such a massive name.”
It’s not just finding a label that’s prompted the outfit to begin work on their first full-length. “For a long time it kind of felt like we were still finding our feet,” Jack recalls. “Over the last two EPs our songwriting has really developed,” he continues. “Production-wise we’ve learnt how to get the energy into recordings.” Having built up a solid reputation through their live shows, and now having built up confidence in their ability to recreate that energy on record, their debut album seems set to portray The Magic Gang’s essence at its strongest.
As for how the progress is going, the band reveal that they’ve written “quite a few songs which – if lucky – will make it onto the album.” With a backlog of material to draw from, the band admit that when it comes to writing for the record “it’s more a case of cherry-picking the songs” than it is starting from scratch. “We write so much that we’re more in the position now where we’re choosing what’s going to go on rather than consciously trying to write an album,” Jack enthuses.
The recording process is already underway. “We’re going to go away for ten days now and try and bash out four songs,” Jack divulges. “Hopefully some, if not all, of them will be on the album. It’s pretty exciting.” Retreating to a studio in Wales to work, the group are ready to put their all into every moment. “We want to be in a position where one of us can’t leave early and stuff like that,” Jack chuckles. “When you’re recording in London or Brighton one of you will just go home when they’ve done their part.”
Shutting themselves away might seem like an extreme solution, but in devoting themselves completely to the undertaking, the results will surely prove worth the while. “I think we wanted to be in a bit of a hub where we’re just kind of locked in one place, bashing it out and getting into that,” the frontman contemplates. “Also, we won’t have any distractions there, which is kind of ideal.”
Describing the working process behind the album as “something we do broken up over some time,” with recording sessions spaced out, the record promises to be The Magic Gang at the most Magic Gang sounding yet. But there’s still a way to go. For now, the band admit that they’re “quite happy just plodding along,” and if they can “make people smile and help people enjoy themselves” along the way, then what’s reason is there not to be involved?