You've previously mentioned a fondness for artists like the Byrds and T. Rex. What is it about that era that really speaks to you?
The way it comes across is like no other kind of era of music. I think it's got a rawness to it and an atmosphere around it in the way it's recorded. It's hard to put it into words. Those bands just connect with me, and all of us, really.
Do you ever get the sense you were born in the wrong decade?
No, 'cause I think we'd view music in a different way if we had been. If we were around in the '60s that music wouldn't be as inspiring to us. There's nothing worse than being inspired by another thing that's already going on because you're just a part of that rush. If we were around [then] I probably wouldn't have played a 12-string because [The Byrds’] Roger McGuinn and George Harrison and loads of other people were already playing them. I'd want to try and go against that.
With psychedelic music there's always that question about the influence of drugs. Do they play any role in that creative process for you?
I couldn't possibly say, really. Yes and no and also maybe. When it comes down to recording you need to have a clear head. I think it's important to be able to think with your own mind because otherwise you're watering down your real outlook.
You've received praise from Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr, but I was more intrigued hearing you received a letter from the influential Robert Wyatt of Soft Machine.
Yeah, he sent us a letter through the post. I think at the time we had maybe four tracks, and he said how much he enjoyed [the music]. I can't remember it well enough to quote it, but it was nice to receive it and see what he thought about it in his otherworld way. He's such a great person and musician and ideas man, and it's nice to hear that from someone we grew up listening to, especially after we got into the psychedelic thing.
When's the last time you received a handwritten letter through the post?
Oof. I don't know, really. It was probably one from the bank saying I've gone into my overdraft, but that one wouldn't have been handwritten [laughs].