This is going to be an exciting year for Theme Park. With an album set to be released this February, their first headlining UK tour, and a jam packed festival season fast approaching; these boys are the epitome of what hard work, dedication and good music can lead to.
A horrible cold did not stop band member Oscar Manthorpe from speaking to me at length about the band, his croaky voice simply adding a rock-star-too-much-whisky-and-partying edge to the conversation. Ironically, this could not be more different from his bright and sharp personality, not failing to give me in depth answers about the band’s history and experiences in the music industry thus far.
“Marcus, Miles (Haughton, they are twins) and myself have known each other for ever. Even before we were mates, our parents were friends, and we went to the same school, did the same activities like tennis. We were kind of destined to be in a band together”. Although tennis may have brought them together, it was their love of music which made them gel in the way they did. “From classical instruments and training at school, to picking up guitars and jamming at university, we formed our sound over many, many years of experimentation.”
And it is their individual, quirky pop sound that finally imprinted itself upon the music of Theme Park: “We wanted to change the way people thought of rock music, that guitar playing didn’t have to be specifically used in moshes and heavy metal bands. Bands such as LCD Soundsystem created a blue print as to how we wanted to eventually sound, combining a strong and heavy rhythm with synthesised melodies was our way of adding something a little different to the generic pop and rock sound.”
2012 was a huge year for Theme Park, as the band shot to recognition with staple single ‘Jamaica’ being played on Radio 1 for the first time ever, and opening for Bombay Bicycle Club on their UK tour. “It was, well, a much bigger deal than I thought it would be. To get that play on Radio 1 meant something massive because, although we would be happy just simply playing music, for our family and friends listening to our song on national radio it meant that our music was now officially out there, in the open”. Supporting Bombay Bicycle Club was also huge in the way that the band was able to really fine tune their live shows: “taking the live shows down to the finest tee, creating a bigger, better sound, and using better lights, better guitars… we are constantly looking to improve our shows, and making them that much better for the audience. Bombay gave us the chance to do this.”
Perfectionism is something which definitely makes this band what it is, an acute attention to detail which is so evident in their music. “We have literally been working on our album for ages, but we kept pushing the release date back because we revisited old songs, and then added new material constantly. That’s what makes me so excited about this album, because we’ve had so much time to fine tune rather than rush”. When asked if they were at all scared by their impending album release, they answered: “we simply hope that it lives up to expectations”, highlighting the great quality of this band: that they are so inspired and motivated by their fans.
2013 is off with a bang already, seeing the release of their latest single ‘Tonight’ crawl its way onto radio playlists across the country. “’Tonight’ is something special for us, something about the song just clicked. Musically, it sort of epitomises everything we wanted to create sound-wise, a reinvention of disco really. Working with Friendly Fires on the production of it was also such a highlight of the album-making process. It gave us a completely fresh mind set, and their relaxed approach gave way to some really cool ideas.” The response to this song, as well as the past couple of months has been staggering, with the band reaching nearly 60,000 likes on Facebook.
“That’s pretty cool and majorly intimidating at the same time”, exclaims Manthorpe. When asked if media response is important to the band he replies: “Absolutely. In today’s music industry, Facebook and SoundCloud, all these media outlets become a band’s cultural ID, and sort of online entity. So to get the sort of response we have had has been staggering, especially considering we are such a new band on the horizon”. And being a band starting out today has certainly been no easy feat for Theme Park, who have worked continuously since the formation of the band. As for what ad vice they would give similar bands starting out, “don’t take yourself too seriously! It’s all about having fun and sharing experiences through your music. I would say make sure you have a good, solid support system behind you, something we have been lucky enough to have over the past years.”
Their future maybe bright, albeit uncertain, but one thing that you can be sure of is that Theme Park are loving life: creating and performing music, doing what they do best.