IN CONVERSATION:  The Lounge Society "We're a live band.  That is the centre of it all" 2

IN CONVERSATION: The Lounge Society “We’re a live band. That is the centre of it all”

Sharing a stage at Lytham Festival opening for Wet Leg, Fontaines D.C. and The Strokes, in July and with their debut album Tired of Liberty set for release on 26 August via Speedy Wunderground, it’s fair to say that The Lounge Society‘s summer is going pretty well. Produced by Dan Carey, the 4-piece from Hebden Bridge have already garnered support from the likes of BBC6 Musics Steve Lamacq ahead of their debut albums release.

I spoke to Cameron Davey (lead vocalist, keyboards, guitar) , Archie Dewis (drums), Herbie May (guitar/bass) and Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar/bass) as they headed to Germany. They have their own headline UK and EU tour starting in September. Having congratulated them on their debut album, I learnt a little more about The Lounge Society.

If I could start by asking you a little about the history of The Lounge Society. How did you come to be together in a band?
In a musical capacity we came together doing Music GCSE equivalent, year 10 at our local high school. We were the only four with a similar musical taste and so bonded over listening to records and sharing records. And eventually as we came to play instruments we’d spend our lunchtimes jamming, attempting to learn covers of bands like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. We started to write our own things. It seemed like the next step was to look to play at open mike gigs around the Calder Valley, like The Golden Lion. It sort of grew from there. And quite quickly it became all we wanted to do, and all we really cared about. It still seems to have that ethos today, that we are the only four who would do this! I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t all do this.

And then quite quickly you signed for Speedy Wunderground. How did that happen?
One of our family friends sent an email and a demo to Speedy Wunderground and they got back really quickly. I remember getting woken up by a phonecall from Herbie saying “Wake up, Get out of bed“. The first time I’ve actually jumped out of bed! This was during High School so getting out of bed was the worst thing. We were 16/17 and from there we got a week and a half, to go down and record, and we’ll see what happens. Never been to London before. Crazy experience. Obviously very very nerve-wrecking as we had a huge respect for the label and everyone involved even before we even thought about working with them. Then the next thing we knew we were in the studio trying to make a record with them. And now they are close friends of ours and a great label partnership.

Dan Carey is such a creative, completely submerged in music. His way of being in the studio and making music, did that work for you?
We often say we’re not sure if the album, or anything we’ve done we’d be able to capture with anyone else apart from Dan. It was important to us there was a live feel to the album. We have developed a perfect relationship in the studio. He knows where and when to leave us a bit of space. He’s always got the right idea at the right time. He knows what needs to happen and exactly what to input. There is such a great atmosphere now when we work in the studio. The kind of excitement you don’t really get anywhere else. Being on stage is what we were made for but instead of getting that for half an hour, an hour, you get it for two weeks at a time when you’re doing the record. Its an electric feeling. You can zone in and nerd out over delay time! And we were doing that every day for a week and because it was with Dan in the studio, our brains were in a specific space for the whole two weeks. It never stopped, even when we went back to our accommodation after recording we’d be thinking about the next day, watching documentaries of our heroes. We’d watch John Lennon going off on a philosophical rant. It would all feed in. There was so much work to do when we were making the album. Some of the songs were very old. There was a lot of tweaking that was done last minute. But that was very healthy as it captured where we were at creatively at the time. It felt very new. If we had something completely polished and just went in and recorded it, just transcribing it, it wouldn’t be the record we wanted. We got to create it with Dan and over the course of the two weeks. Some lyrics were written the day before they had to be recorded. There was an element of pressure. I think that was very healthy for us and it gave it a little bit of angst on the final recording.

Your description of the production process is perfectly encapsulated on ‘Boredom is a Drug’. There is a rawness to it, it’s not polished or clinical, which is a good thing. It makes it more vibrant.
That is definitely one of the songs where we were writing the lyrics at the last minute. The morning of the day we recorded the vocals we wrote the lyrics! It was quite important for us to have that slight element of chaos. Like writing the lyrics the night before. Even individually defining parts: drum, guitar, bass vocals – sat there in the studio working out exactly how to play it dynamically. If it was too polished, I don’t think it would have been the album we wanted. It’s important it had that rawness and grit to it. We talked about The Velvets and Iggy Pop and we definitely wanted that chaotic vibe to be on the record.

I’m interested in how your songs are created. They don’t follow the traditional song structure. The lyrics are very important and they are very strong but you don’t feel the need to pack the song full of lyrics. Your songs feel very musically driven. How do you build a song?
I do think there is such a thing as lyrical inflation. If you pack a song full of words then maybe it means that each thing you say might be valued less. Whereas if you keep it to the key points then people have no choice but to listen I suppose.

But when it comes to writing songs we have like a mad scientists lab. We shout or play ideas at each other and they bounce off:
“like that'”, “do that”, “good line”, “good riff”, “change this word’“, “where do we go next?
And it all just builds often from starting with improvisation or a single riff, or a single rhythm. We always have to write songs altogether with our instruments in hand. Its incredibly collaborative, every lyric every bar, its the process of distilling four ideas into one track. We’re not trying to hold anyone back. We all have far too much to say and far too musical ideas on our own to allow any one of us to have too much input and vice versa. And it makes it more interesting for each individual because it means that system of compromise means you never run out of ideas because the moment you do someone else is piping up and that goes in all four directions. And we spur each other on. Being surrounded by your best mates being creative makes you creative in itself. You learn from people.

With the songs on EP Silk For The Starving, they seemed external looking with social commentary and politics. Whereas Tired of Liberty seems more inward looking, more to do with the human condition. Is that right?
With Tired of Liberty its more that we’re looking at it from a perspective that’s from where we’ve grown up, where we live, who we know, what we’ve seen, what we do on a weekly basis, just being together the four of us. Its goes through that filter and becomes itself more personable. It doesn’t make it any less political. It’s how big things affect everyday little moment. Tired of Liberty is more based on personal experience as we have developed and grown and had to see the outside world a little bit more, for better or worse. We’ve been able to interpret it into less general terms I suppose. Its definitely personal and we feel we have something to offer in that sense. It’s more interesting. If we listen to other bands like Fontaines D.C. that’s why they’re songs are so interesting you’ve got the context of where they are coming from and what they’ve seen.

As Tired of Liberty is your debut album, was the track order important? Did you spend long on deciding it?
It was definitely important. There were some tracks that we knew where we wanted them to go on the album. We were quite set on ‘People Are Scarey’ being the opener. And ‘Generation Game‘ was always going to be the ender. But everything else was quite open. The order changed quite late on quite a few times while Dan was finishing mixing it. The way we recorded it in the studio gave it a rough structure. We knew how the album developed dynamically, so that helped us. It gets bigger throughout the record. It was designed not so much on a lyrical but more on a musical narrative. If we went from extreme to intimate from extreme to intimate it might lose some of its coherence. So we wanted it to grow as the listener listened to it in order. Its how we recorded it as well. The earlier tracks have a much more tight sound, with close mike-ing, less reverb, less chaos, more specific. And then track by track as we determined the order we opened things up, get a little looser, and also got a little more tired developed into the chaos of what the new version of ‘Generation Game‘ is all the way from ‘People Are Scarey‘.

I could hear that ‘Generation Game’ sounded a little different. Was it rerecorded for Tired of Liberty?
Yeah completely. As we have toured it and as we’ve developed as players its taken on a new thing. With ‘Generation Game’ there was so many layers, so many parts, its hard to pin down on its first recording. It felt quite nice to show it in its new form. It gathered new energy and new meaning for us over a year or two. You can’t help with that for any song, it just changes and adapts as we change as a band. We thought it ought to be the closer to the album because it was the debut single as well so nice synergy to round off that period with the same track in different form.

How was it playing on that stage at Lytham Festival opening for Wet Leg, Fontaines D.C. and The Strokes?
It was amazing. It was a very special moment for us. There was the gig, and then there was the experience. We played but also being there, seeing those bands that we all love, and hanging out with them was a whole different thing. I had to not let the occasion affect the gig. You have got to try and just do what you do when it comes to playing. It will live on as one of the most special shows because The Strokes were for us were one of the most informative influence, inspirations so to even be in the same mile radius as them was a huge honour. And quite emotional watching them play. We had a couple of moments watching them play, we hugged each other. We had a little area beside the side of the stage for the first few songs which was crazy. There was a disco afterwards and formed a dance circle with Wet Leg and Fontaines which was bizarre.

And finally, as you have alluded to already, playing live is very important to you as a band. You have the UK tour and European dates coming up. What does it mean to you playing your songs live?
It’s everything really. We love being in the studio but we’re a live band. That is the centre of it all. Definitely ……….

Tired of Liberty, the debut album by The Lounge Society, will be released via Speedy Wunderground on 26 August. Please see here for full details.

There will be a number of instore performances and signing sessions including Resident Records, Brighton and Action Records, Preston around release date.

The band begin their UK and EU headline tour at The Bodega in Nottingham 25 September 2022. For tickets and full details please check here

For more information on The Lounge Society please check out their facebook and twitter.

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