Ahead of their sell out show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute (read what we thought of that here), we caught up with Leo Wyndham and Rupert Turner from London-based alt-blues rock band Palace to discuss the recent release of their debut album and their current string of tour dates. It’s been three weeks since the release of your debut ‘So Long Forever‘ – how does it feel to have finally let it out into the world? It’s amazing; I think it’s been a long time coming. We’ve been waiting for about 8 months for it to actually come out, so now it’s finally out it feels surreal. It’s crazy but we’re so pleased to have it finally out there and people seem to really love it. It’s a good feeling it feels like we’ve finally come full circle. As well as the UK you’ve been playing gigs across Europe over the last few weeks. How’s the response to the album been over there? Yeah it’s been pretty much the same. It’s actually really full on. There’s lots of very passionate fans who have been singing along to all the words. Already? Already! All the shows around Europe sold out and there were big crowds. The love for the music is really growing and growing. This tour over the last two and a half weeks has been amazing. Every single show, it’s been getting better and better. What was the main inspiration behind the album – was there anything influencing your writing at the time? I guess lots of different things really. It was mainly stuff that was going on in our lives at the time. It could have been anything, just day to day stuff or things going on, like breaking up with someone or someone dying. The things that happen in day to day life are the things we’re interested in writing about. Quite often it’s the slightly darker things because they’re more fun to write about. I think it’s quite hard to write a jolly song. We haven’t written a love and peace song yet! I’ve occasionally tried to write one but it’s too hard. I feel as English people we’re so cynical anyway trying to write a happy-clappy song, it’s ridiculous. So I guess lots of different things inspired the themes of the songs – it just tends to be the slightly darker, more emotional things. Do you all have a favourite track from the album? It changes from time to time. We both love ‘So Long Forever’; it’s a general winner. It’s because it’s really enjoyable to play and was relatively easy to record. It didn’t take very long like other songs do. Some songs take forever and they kind of bring back miserable memories. When you listen to those songs recorded now you remember that day in the studio which was maybe felt horrible or weird. So yeah, we love ‘So Long Forever’ because it was just really fun to record. It’s also a bit of a banger, it’s not slow and drawn out, it’s nice and upbeat. In terms of older tracks, ‘Bitter’ is the only EP track featuring on the album, are any of the other tracks as old as ‘Bitter’ or are they almost as fresh to you as they are for us? ‘Blackheath’ has been around for quite a while, years actually. We recorded the first bit of ‘Blackheath’ during the same session as ‘Bitter’ so they’re actually the same age. They both must be about three years old but ‘Blackheath’ was one that we never released on an EP so people think it’s a new song but it’s actually a very old one. The album is basically nine pretty new songs plus two older ones. One of the songs even came out of recording in the studio. Me (Leo) and Rupert were just waiting to do a part for a song and we just came up with an idea. We wanted it to be mainly new songs overall and then ‘Bitter’ was the one that had to be on there because it’s the one that everyone loves and it’s our big song I guess. Where has been your favourite place to play so far? Do you have any crazy tour stories? There’s been a couple recently I keep on trying to remember but forgetting. There have been lots of weird things lately. Last night in Leeds there was this girl who’d watched us in Paris as well and she was stood right in front of the stage eating a packet of wine gums. She was stood right in front of me (Rupert) all night and didn’t even offer me one, I was really upset. That’s going to be our new band motto – ‘we’ll steal your wine gums’! In Europe there have been lots of weird drunken nights with strange stuff happening like karaoke nights that we can’t really talk about! We made our tour manager, Sweeney who’s actually from Manchester, sing karaoke on his birthday. Overall recently we’ve just had so many fun shows. Leeds was amazing last night; Belgrave is such a cool venue. We played there with Ghostpoet a while ago so it was amazing to come back and headline. Coming back to play somewhere we played so long ago to headline felt mental. It’s also mental we’ve sold this place out. Where do we go after this? Maybe somewhere like The Ruby Lounge. Alongside the build up and release of your debut you’ve been running your own live nights, Palace Presents – what was the inspiration behind it, how have they been going? It’s been going really well, it’s so fun. It’s at this old pub in London we really love. We’ve played lots of gigs there and it’s an amazing hidden gem of a pub. We haven’t played the night yet ourselves we just put on our friends’ bands. We’ve got one next week which is going to be massive. We’ve got loads of people playing: the singer of MONEY is playing with the singer of Blaenavon and then ISLAND, us and a secret band we haven’t announced yet. Ghostpoet and Flyte are DJing as well so they’ll be quite a lot of people on that night. It’s become such a cool thing and it’s been building up each time. Every one we put on gets crowded and busy but it still has a very nice relaxed, pub vibe. People are always quite surprised when they come down to the night for the first time. They always expect it to be a proper night in a snazzy venue but when you walk in it’s got that old, hearty boozer feeling. There are old men in the corner drinking pints, it’s so cool. How long do you plan on running it for? We’re going to keep doing it as long as we’re around. We’ve currently got it booked up until March or something like that and we already have a few people lined up for the next one. What’s the plan for Palace next year? Touring and writing, that’s basically it. We’ll try to get all the songs together for a new album. We’re already booking in all our tour dates for next year; we’re going to lots of new places. Hopefully we’ll go to Italy and Spain. Then we want to tour America as well. Is there anywhere you’ve not been that you’d love to play? We were talking about that earlier today. We were saying how we would love to play in Japan. There’s a big connection with British bands over there we need to try and tap into somehow. For all of us we’re desperate to get over to Japan, especially cities like Tokyo. It’d be amazing to go somewhere so different. That’s one of the main things we love about all this. Being able to go to cool cities and travel around with your friends its pretty fun. Maybe we could go to Russia that would be interesting. We could do a private show for Putin in the Kremlin!