Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Eight questions with Lucy Leave

(c) Lucy Leave

1. Who is Lucy Leave? (a short introduction)

Lucy Leave is a band with three lead singers, all with lots of different ideas and their own noisy instruments which they are still deciding how to play.

2. When was the EP recorded and where? If there is an interesting story behind how you and any producers & session players met and started playing together, please do share.

The EP was recorded in our front room. Last time out we did go to a very good studio in The North, but we got too excited and played everything too fast basically. Recording it ourselves gives us the time we need to change things when we like, and we are pretty whimsical. Besides, a Professional Studio would never hand over a product as noisy and messy as ours to their client. We don’t always want our things to sound pleasant.

3. So, how much Syd Barrett do you actually listen to - is it a breakfast soundtrack, are we talking about a record collection which only contains albums whose cover art is insect catalogues (there are some great ones - see q7)… and would you ever play a cover of his song Wolfpack at a gig? How do you find the balance between composing original material and being so clearly & strongly inspired by one of rock’s heroes?

Well you know we all love him very much but I don’t think any of us listens to him more than we listen to Deerhoof or Neil Young or Grimes for example. I suppose you could say he’s one of the artists that are ‘our Beatles’ you know - but does anyone really listen to The Beatles all the time? I think that we’re just as likely to rip off Robert Wyatt or Fugazi or The Fall as we are to rip off Syd. Stealing is fine, because we don’t worry about originality, that’s the least of our problems - the way we play each other’s songs, the way we mess them up and rearrange them, the way that we don’t always defer too much to the parts that the other members are playing when it comes to writing our own, means that what comes out of all of that is never likely to sound like one thing in particular.

4. How did you come across the Modern Art Oxford venue, have you seen gigs there before, are you excited to be hitting the basement in the heat of summer? What venues in Oxford or further afield are next on the horizon for Lucy Leave?

Well we’ve seen some pretty ace groups there - Flights Of Helios, Islet and After The Thought a few years ago was sweaty and trippy and LOUD and so we hope it’ll be like that. It’s a great space, something a bit different, and we’re very much looking forward to launching our EP there. We’re playing some festivals this summer, including Riverside, which will be fun, (we’re also on the shortlist to play Truck! Vote for us!) and then in September we’re doing a bit of a tour culminating in a gig at The Cellar in Oxford. It’s all very exciting.

5. Who is your audience and how do you connect with your fans? Any crazy, fun, exciting stories are very welcome…

Our audience is mainly hardened Oxford scenesters at this point. I think that people can be a bit wary of us to start with - they worry that we don’t know what we’re doing. And I’m not saying that we do but… once they’ve seen us a few times they get the general idea, and they can enjoy it a bit more. We feel so lucky to have started out in Oxford which has a brilliant and varied audience for live music - they’re very trusting and patient and give you the space to experiment a bit, on the understanding that it will come to something in the long run, and I think it’s very helpful for us to have that motivation, to deliver something that will be worth their while.

6. Could you describe your backgrounds in Oxford life, are you students or specialists in any non-musical activities - did we hear it was Physics? Could music ever pry you away from these and become a career? But mainly, have you ever listened to the album “110: Superstring Theory Refuted” by Bull of Heaven?

No we haven’t… *boots up Spotify* oh it’s not on there. I’ll try Youtube… the first thing of theirs on there seems to be part one of four of a 24 hour long song - sounds amazing. Well I’m glad that you thought one of us was good at Physics, anyway, because Bull of Heaven sound great. One of the great things about being in a band and playing to different audiences is the new bands that you play alongside, and the new bands that people tell you about. Someone compared us to Sebadoh a few months ago, and we’d never heard of them, and they are absolutely brilliant, so thanks for the recommendation and the compliment! But none of us are good at Physics I’m afraid. In terms of Oxford, and Other Lives, well who knows what will happen in the future...

7. Are you planning to experiment with a quieter acoustic sound (as we’ve glimpsed in the closing moments of the “Jesus Walks Funny” EP, an orchestral sound, any time soon? We love your approach to tape and lo-fi-ness, and we’re curious to know how that’ll grow/change or what aspects you’re expecting to keep as they are.

That’s a good question. But the truth is we have no idea. That recording is Pete’s original home-demo of the song Foam, the full band version of which is on that tape somewhere. Mike wanted to put it on the tape because a) it’s beautiful, and b) it’s different from the other stuff, and we think that things should have some kind of arc… we’re always experimenting with different kinds of sounds, and actually we have been toying with acoustic versions of things, but it’s not necessarily a direction we’re going in… and wow, we’d love to play with an orchestra, like Sinatra or Guillemots or Field Music. Although the lo-fi thing is here to stay I think - a lo-fi orchestra would be pretty cool.

8. What does your dream gig look like?

In the sweaty basement of an art gallery with some of our absolute favourite bands. Is June 11th free?

Lucy Leave play Modern Art Oxford for us on 11th June to launch their upcoming EP, with support from Slate Hearts plus two more acts to be announced. Tickets are available through our site HERE and you'll also get a copy of the EP if you grab a ticket, and join the Facebook event to keep up to date with info about the show. 

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