As soon as we laid our ears on Villagers back in 2009 we knew this was a band we weren’t going to get out of our heads anytime soon! Their haunting lyrics, melodic guitar-heavy tunes and Conor O’Brien’s clipped delivery made the band a regular for the Topshop girls at work and at home. After a few years buzzing with tours and awards – playing with Elbow and winning the Ivor Novello, respectively – it was time for that ‘difficult’ second album. However, the force of O’Brien is not to be reckoned with and {Awayland} has unsurprisingly been met with amazing reviews. Our favourite track so far has to be The Waves, a euphoric electro sound that we’ve yet to hear from the Irish group and has a colour saturated video we can’t get enough of.

We spoke to O’Brien about keeping his bandmates in line, Cole Porter and the best gig he ever played.

How did Villagers come to be?

I held auditions in my apartment. I had to whittle them down to five from players from a choice of at least thirty. Fortunately, all the members of Villagers are good looking multi-instrumentalists so I was able to assign each of them with a role and dress them accordingly. Now they do as I say, musically and otherwise.

What’s the inspiration behind the band and music?

As a songwriter I am inspired by the members of my band and as musicians they are inspired my me. We inspire each other every day.

Did you always want to play music?

Yes I have always had a very intense love affair with music and everything that surrounds it.

What music do you listen to on the road?

I listen to lots of different types of music on the road. My current favourite is Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

I think our show with Grizzly Bear in Berlin last year was pretty special. That might be the best gig we’ve ever played. I feel the best is yet to come.

Who would you most love to collaborate with?

I don’t really do collaboration well when it is with a stranger. The idea fills me with dread.

How would you describe your sound?

It is malleable yet persuasive; like a drunk concubine in the midst of a passionate encounter or a fleet-footed catamite as he runs through the long grass beside the river as it becomes the sea.

How would you describe your style?

Modern, yet timeless.

What are your must-haves when touring?

Besides the obvious, I always need to bring a strong sense of selfhood and a willingness to explore.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

A clown.

What’s different from the latest album?

It makes me want to dance.

Watch the video for The Waves, here.