Get ready to dive into the energetic and euphoric world of Sea Girls as they gear up to grace the main stage of the iconic Reading and Leeds Festival.  

The London-based-Leicestershire-formed quartet have been making waves with their infectious indie-rock anthems and captivating live performances. With their highly anticipated appearance at Reading and Leeds Festival just around the corner we chatted with drummer Oli Kahn about what they have in store for this years performance. So, grab your festival wristbands and join us as we embark on a thrilling exploration of Sea Girls and their electrifying journey.

I just wanted to kick things off and and ask as you prepare to take the stage at Reading and Leeds Festival, how does it feel to be a part of of such an iconic festival? 

What are you most looking forward to? 

I think with Reading and Leeds it’s just kind of this almost like otherworldly experience, especially when we did the main stage last year, I think it was last year or the year before. And the first few songs, you’re not in your body and then by the end, you’re kind of back there and like, “Oh shit, that was cool”.

Reading was actually the first festival I ever went to along with Andrew our bass player, like three times in a row so it’s like crazy how I’ve actually played the festival more times now than well after that than I’ve actually been to it. And I don’t think I ever thought that I’d be on those stages when I was watching it. It’s just kind of amazing, 

Amazing, what a feeling that must be! Over your time at the festival what’s been your favourite stage to play? Do you find main stages where you belong now, or if you had a chance would you take up one of the smaller stage?

I like the idea of doing a tiny stage like the lock up stage from back in the day. Like a hardcore stage, just to pack that out and get it really sweaty would be really fun. But doing the main stage is very fun. I can imagine like a secret set kind of vibe. I imagine that would be cool.

Are there any surprises you have in store for this years set? Can you give the fans a little taste of what to expect? 

There’s definitely going to be new music, which is exciting. I feel like Reading, we always put out something just before. So the last time we played, we just released the lead single from our second album. One of the ones before we’d released the song ‘Violet’ so it seems to go with us like hand-in-hand with new music. I guess if you’re going to get a song across, you’re going to go across there and there’s some big old indie songs to come so hopefully that’ll be a big kickstart for the new tracks. 

I guess it’s a good sort of a trial run to see how well they translate into live settings.

Exactly and it’s the most receptive audience for our kind of music you can imagine. So it’s good fun and there’ll be plenty of just bangers, our classics. 

That follows nicely into my next question. So obviously you have a limited time slot. How do you find choosing what songs to include in that setlist?

Can you can you tell us a bit about how the process of crafting this years setlist? 

Yeah, at start it was easy because we would just play every song we had and now we’ve got two albums and like four E.P.’s so that’s like a 4 hour long set or something.

In terms of choosing the songs I feel the last tour we did, which was an hour and 40 minutes worth of stuff. There was a lot we wanted to include but couldn’t just because we’d just kill ourselves playing like hours every night. We’re not the Foo Fighters I don’t think I could manage that. The process starts with us saying we have to play like the big songs. And then from there what would be fun to play, like we have a song called ‘Adored’, which I think we probably all thought we were going to have stopped playing but then we brought it back for this last tour and everyone loved it.

It’s kind of like, some for us as much as some for the fans and there was a song ‘Higher’, which we didn’t plan on playing at all for that tour. But we have a group of fans online who love that song. So we were like all right well, we should probably play it for them, even though, you know, we probably wouldn’t have on our own. But that’s quite fun because then that’s like a moment live that is for the fans rather than, you know, just purely for us. 

Is that one of the tracks you’re most looking forward to performing? What would you say would be the the one you’re most looking forward to playing on main stage this year?. 

I think ‘All I Want To Hear You Say’ because people know that song when we play festivals, at least that one will get a big reception. And it’s always crazy like, you know, people on shoulders and stuff. So that is always a highlight of the set and people’s reaction to it makes it not boring playing the same song for years and years, which I can imagine it definitely would get that. And playing the new song. I’m always excited by new songs because it just feels more exciting for us and it gives us an element of danger. Like, are we going to pull this off are people are going to like it? So it adds an extra little adrenaline boost for that. So yeah, definitely looking forward to that.

Amazing. And you mentioned you’ve been to Reading Festival in the past, are there any past performances or moments from the festival’s history that have inspired you or the band?

I remember still distinctly when I was 16 crowd surfing to ‘Punk’ by Vampire Weekend, in the blaring sun just after my GCSE’s. And I guess trying to give people that feeling is part of what we do is make this kind of rush of excitement in our songs that we aim for that I think translates live. I think if we can get someone to feel like I felt in that moment, then, you know, we’d have done our job well.

Are there any acts and this year that you’re looking forward to seeing? is there anyone you will see? 

There’s The Last Dinner Party, which is like a new band that’s kind of, you know, blown up online, but I saw them in a tiny venue near where I live a couple of months ago before they released any songs. I was like, Wow, these guys are amazing. And then I saw them playing the same day at Reading so I was like, “Oh, everyone, you have to come see this band”. And obviously now they have some songs out and everyone knows about it. But for a little bit I was like, Oh, this is my little secret. I can kind of show its share with the band. Other than that obviously, like the headliners they’re all awesome. So definitely going to try and check that out. 

Nice one. And after your performance this year, what are your plans the rest of the year? 

I think the focus for us is going to be recording and writing. We already done like a week of recording recently, got like four songs on the go and there’s going to be more. I think last year we did so many festivals and so many tours. We did like three or four tours last year. This year we’ve just got festivals, so there’s a lot of time to focus on making new music. So that’s going to be our main job this year.

Absolutely, and go back to festivals. What would you say your top three festival essentials? 

Festival Essentials, a reusable water bottle. A £5 bottle of water is enough to ruin your festival. A waterproof tent, I guess. And then loads and loads of beer. 

Epic, and obviously you’re no stranger to festivals having attended Reading in the past. What would you say is the best festival grub? 

The best festival grub, I think is a burrito. It an get messy, but it’s all in there. It’s like you can hold it in one rather than, you know, chips people are going to nick some chips, your mates nicking chips. No one’s going to take a bit of your burrito because that’s pretty weird. 

Love that. And so rounding things off now, could you share your wildest festival story? 

The first ever Leeds I went to when I was 16, someone did a poo outside my tent and I was like, Wow, this is a real introduction into festival life.

Christ, thrown right into the deep end there. 

Yeah, I imagine it’s still exactly like that now. If not worse.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the fans before we sign off this chat? 

Next Friday (26th) our live album from Alexandra Palace comes out at. It’s just nice to have the document of the last tour we did. This is the first time we’ve ever released something like that, so that’s crazy. I am looking forward to that and hopefully people are looking forward to that too. 

Reading & Leeds Festival 2023 will take place from Aug 25 – 27, 2023. Tickets are on sale now and are available here for Reading Festival and here for Leeds Festival.