Interview with Billy Sullivan, The Spitfires

Let's start 2013 as we mean to go on, with the best in new music. Billy Sullivan is the frontman of The Spitfires, one of the finest young bands around right now. For our first interview of the year, we put a few questions to Billy about the band, his influences and what they have planned for the year ahead.

Where do The Spitfires hail from?

The Spitfires hail from Watford and Harrow.

How long has the band been going?

We have been together - as this line up - since September.

How did the band get together?

The band all were mutual friends, Matt was at college with me and Sam I knew for a while beforehand.

What inspired the name?

The name I've had since I was 11 or 12. Mostly to do the target on the side of the Spitfire planes and my obsession with Modernism I developed at that age.

Do you have a main songwriter, or are the tunes all band compositions?

Yes, I write all lyrics and most of the music. However my ideas develop when we are in the rehearsal studios and we play off each other.

You released the double A side single Spark To Start/Sirens in 2012. What are you saying in the two tunes?

Spark to Start was a response to the bland music scene forced upon young people and the attitude of the current music industry. Sirens was a reflection on the riots that took place in 2011 and the frustration that is still inside young people but with no positive way to express it.

There’s an excellent video that goes with Spark To Start. Where was it filmed? Tell us a bit about the making of it.

The video for Spark to Start was filmed on the roof of Cannon Street station in central London. It was pissing down all day and it really would of been a shame to waste the fantastic view. But we were lucky because it stopped raining as soon as we started filming!

What other tunes should we be looking out for?

We will be demoing new tracks at the start of February , to be followed by a single around June/July.

Which artists have influenced you?

Personally my influences come from the original mod movement of the 60s, the punk movement of 77, Britpop, 2 tone, Soul, Reggae and The Arctic Monkeys.

Are there any of your gigs that you would select as having been particularly special?

We went up north for a few dates supporting Bruce Foxton's FTJ which I would say were special gigs. Especially the first night at The Cavern, Liverpool that was sold out.
The crowd were with us from the word go and really appreciated our style and sound.
We have a gig New Years Eve at The 100 Club which will be a special night playing with New Street Adventure who are a fantastic live band.

We love playing live, our sound really comes across on stage and with each gig we gain new friends/fans who are into what we do.

Are there any books or films that you would mention as influencing you?

I love A Clockwork Orange as a book and a film. Also the obvious - Absolute Beginners. I take my inspiration mainly from the situation and the people that surround me.

Which record – if any – changed your life?

There's been a few records that have changed my life, from All Mod Cons, Up The Bracket, More Specials, What's Goin On, Sandinista. All of which changed my outlook and the way I wanted to write.

What are your plans for the future? Can we expect more releases and tour dates?

January time will see us rehearsing, writing and demoing. I imagine we won't properly be back gigging till March and hopefully a summer tour to back up another single.

The following are The Spitfire's upcoming Gigs for 2013

Watford Town & Country Club (DRUM Benefit) 26th January

Upstairs at Ronnies , Frith Street, London W1 (Early evening gig) 6th Febuary

Billericay Football Club 9th March

Find out more about The Spitfires at their website and their Facebook page.

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