Irish band Villagers were a surprise inclusion on the final list of nominees for this year's Mercury Music Prize. Their debut, Becoming A Jackal, is up against the likes of the xx, Wild Beasts, I Am Kloot and Laura Marling.
In an interview with the NME, frontman Conor O'Brien discussed his feelings on the nomination.
"It's a real honour and a definite surprise to be nominated. I wasn't even expecting it, there wasn't even a sense of 'maybe we'll get this', I'm super-surprised, it's something I never would have thought about."
He added: "The thing about prizes, it's a real honour to be included but I want to maintain a little bit of distance from it because I want to keep creative, I want keep writing and I think if you get obsessed too much with stuff like this then it's not too good for your song-writing."
Conor also picked out his favourite acts from the other contenders for the prize.
"I really like the Wild Beasts album [Two Dancers]," he explained. "I think there is a lot of space to it and I really dig it - its kinda groovy too. It's one album I've come back to consistently since it has was released. I also dig The XX album [xx], I've only just started listening to it and again I get that kind of spatial vibe to it."
O'brien added: "I'm also looking forward to hearing the I Am Kloot record [Sky At Night]. I Listened to them a lot when I was learning to write songs. I remember a friend of mine at school would give me compilation tapes all the time and it always had 4-5 I Am Kloot tracks on - there is a kind of rawness to there music which I really like."
In terms of winning, the frontman revealed what scooping the £20,000 prize money would mean to him and the band.
"I didn't even know there was prize money involved," he explained. "Winning would mean I could take the band with me [on tour] a lot more. At the moment, the reason we're not doing that is money, we're getting up to that position anyway, but the prize money would go towards that or probably into recording the next album. Either way it would gradually make its way back into the band. I don't think I would go out and buy a boat or something."
The winner of the 2010 Barclaycard Mercury Prize will be announced at a ceremony in London on September 7. Earlier this week Villagers announced a series of gigs in the UK in support of their nomination.
The above information was taken from http://www.nme.com/news/villagers/52251
Best of luck to Conor, and to all the nominees. I think Villagers are in with a strong shout, though this year there are a number of exceptionally good albums nominated this time round. If you haven't already, I would recommend checking out Wild Beasts, the xx, Laura Marling and, of course, Villagers.
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