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Page last updated at 08:17 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 09:17 UK
Red Light Company on the march

by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

Red Light Company
Red Light Company supported Editors on tour

Did you hear the one about the bass player who travelled more than four and a half thousand miles to audition for a band only to be deported six hours later?

What about the one about the guitarist who wanted to join the same band only to be told his services were not required...unless he fancied learning how to play keyboards?

Frankly, it's amazing that epic-indie newcomers Red Light Company managed to get together long enough to pose for a picture let alone come up with some songs.

The band have been together a little over a year and released a debut EP in May to resounding critical success, with support from Radio 1's Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley.

Their music has been compared with the stadium filling sound of Arcade Fire and Editors - who they toured with earlier in the year.

Band history

"Well, it was me and Shawn who started the band. I posted an advert on the internet and got a reply from Wyoming, which was the last place I expected", said the band's willowy blonde frontman Richard Frenneaux.

Born in England but grown up in Australia and New Zealand, he is the spitting image of David Bowie on the front cover of his 1971 album Hunky Dory, all hollow cheekbones and blonde main of hair.

He continued: "He flew out and didn't have enough funds so got deported but before then the customs officer let him out briefly so we could talk and we realised we had musical interests in common.

Shawn Day flew back to London a few weeks later. He was born in Japan but raised in Wyoming, one of the most sparsely populated states in the US, the bassist told Newsbeat that moving to the UK was nothing short of destiny.
Red Light Company
I was doing this Ian Curtis style dance trying to get rid of these insects that were about two inches from my mouth
Richard Frenneaux

He said: "There are lots of hills, lots of plains, big skies but not a lot of music. I'd just graduated from university and was obsessed with Bowie and The Cure and stuff and it seemed like my tastes were geared towards the UK.

Day and Frenneaux next recruited keyboard player Chris Edmonds, who had the slight disadvantage of never having actually played the instrument.

Frenneaux said: "He went away and learned the keyboards and all of our songs within two weeks, so it worked out great.

The truly international line up is completed by drummer James Griffiths from Bridgend in Wales and guitarist Paul Mellon who hails from Motherwell in Scotland.

"Heartache in a blender"

Performing live, the band have a sound that is almost too big for the club shows they have been playing on their current UK tour.

Songs like When Everyone is Everybody Else and Arts and Crafts pay testament to the Arcade Fire comparisons in the sheer scope of the music.

It is a big, big sound and Frenneaux has some trouble defining it.

He said: "It's is a tough one, we just concentrating on writing songs. I guess there is some hail back to the 80s but it's hard to describe your own music."

Day added: "I've heard it described as 'heartache in a blender, topped with strawberries'."

Which gives you the picture...or not.

Red Light Company's new single Meccano is released in the UK this week.

With a smile on his face, Frenneaux admitted that it could just have as easily been called Lego.

He said: "It was the first song me and Shawn wrote together and its about the loss of friendship. I think Meccano is appropriate because it has that naivety about a starting a writing partnership as well."

Bees on the mic

The band have finished their as-yet-untitled debut album and are looking to release it later this year.

At the moment they are in the middle of the UK and European tour, which the band claim is going very well. At least better than one of their most memorable gigs.

Frenneaux said: "We were playing at Loch Lomond and I had a really bad cold so I was drinking honey and lemon which wasps and bees obviously love.

"I'd got it all over the microphone so while I was singing I was doing this Ian Curtis style dance trying to get rid of these insects that were about two inches from my mouth.

"I guess it must have looked pretty strange for the audience."

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