The four members of the band Noah and the Loners
Credit: Noah and the Loners

IN CONVERSATION: Noah and the Loners

Noah and the Loners release debut EP A Desolate Warning on Marshall Records this week. They head to Austin, Texas in a couple of weeks time for a second appearance at SXSW. Noah Lonergan (vocals, guitar), Amber Welsh (bass), Joseph Boyle (guitar) and Noah Riley (drums) talk about the EP, and much more.

How are you feeling so close to the release date of your EP?
Noah L:  We are all really excited.  It’s nice to get a load of music out to be honest because everything has been pretty spaced out.  Obviously we’ve only had four singles out and all of them have been released about six months apart. So it will be really nice to get a body of work out that we’re all really proud of.
Noah R:  Especially after every live show, they’re like, we want more songs and now we can give them more than just a new single!
Joseph:  And compared to our first singles it feels more cohesive as well.  It sounds like a body of work.

Why did you leave the first two singles, ‘Teenage Tragedy‘ and ‘Protest Anger‘ from the release?
Noah L:  We worked on this EP with producer Neil Kennedy (who worked with Creeper and Hot Milk) and he has been so influential on our sound. And the way we’ve worked with him has been so collaborative and brilliant, and to get someone who has so much experience.  Whereas before we were doing it all at Marshall Studios with the in-house sound engineers.  So ‘Teenage Tragedy‘ and ‘Protest Anger‘ didn’t really work with the sound we were going for with this.  This EP sounds a lot bigger and fully polished and we’ve evolved a lot not only as song-writers but as performers as well since the two singles came out.  And I started testosterone, and my voice has completely changed. If you listen to those two songs compared to the EP, I sound like a completely different human being!
Joseph:  We were really young, in every aspect.  We’re still learning but we’re at a higher level now.  And I feel that we can create a better piece of work.

And you have a track called ‘Just Kids’ which acknowledges that, just how young you are.
Noah L;  That song was written ages ago, even before this band existed when me and Amber were in our previous band.  We’ve been sitting on it for a while but it kinda came into its own in the last year.  We changed a bit of the structure, we sped it up a bit and it feels so lively and so us.  The lyrics of that song resonate with a lot of people in our audience, in terms of people feeling like they are not being taken seriously because they are young.  I think that is such a thing in the industry.  And it’s something we have experienced a lot, not only in the industry but in education.  I know for me when I was in secondary school whenever I said I wanted to do music, my teachers were like “nah it’s never going to happen” or “you’re getting too political with it” or “you’re approaching it in a way that’s not going to make it commercially successful”.

Is there a main theme running through the EP?
Noah L:  To be honest I think the EP covers every aspect of what we talk about within the band.  It covers mental health, it covers politics, it covers us being young, that’s everything we speak about within the band.
Noah R:  It’s very personal to us.  All the songs on the EP are topics we want to talk about and share with the world. Obviously ‘Crash Landing’ with the political side then ‘Losing My Head’ going into more personal stuff.  They all cover different topics but they are all under the same umbrella of what we feel and what we want to show to the world and how we want to say it through our songs.

And when you heard the songs through for the first time, how did that feel?
Noah R:  Just immensely proud. From what we play live, to hear it back on a recording, and for it to sound the way it was – Neil just got it.  For me I just can’t wait to get this out now.  You’ve got to do all the build up, all the hyping but can’t it just be out NOW! Please!  I just feel proud.
Noah L:  I think also unlike a lot of bands we don’t really do demos.  So we don’t have recorded versions at all of the songs before we go into the studio.  We only have live videos that people take from the audience.  So for us to have a recorded version of a song you have been working on for such a long time is just so nice anyway. And getting all of them from the EP in one go was just brilliant.  We get to finally listen to these songs we have been working on for two years!

You played four gigs in Spain.  How was the experience and did the audience know your music?
Noah R:  First of all I think we were very surprised by the turnout.  We were expecting half empty rooms and because we were checking the ticket sales before the gigs, it wasn’t looking good!  But then when we got to the show we saw there was a lot of walk-ins and it was great to see.
Noah L:  We went into it with the expectation that it was going to be a warm-up for the UK tour.  It was anything but that, it was bloody lively!  It’s the first time we’ve played abroad other than SXSW.  It was a very surreal experience for all of us, and such a learning curve.  We hadn’t really played four shows in a room, back to back that were all so far away from each other.  We were travelling for 8 hours a day in the van.  So we drove to the venue, got out, did soundcheck, ate food, played the show, and left, so we didn’t really get to experience Spain at all which was weird.
Joseph:  They were also very youthful shows, in comparison to a lot of the shows in England and that was good to see.
Noah L:  I think we were also lucky because we had some Spanish national radio play literally the week prior to going out and it coincided with the release of ‘Crash Landing’.   I think that’s why we had so many people show up last minute.

Noah you’re a very confident frontperson, you really do seem to be comfortable onstage.
Noah L:  I get it from playing with this lot.  We’re all best mates, we’re very comfortable with each other.  We live with each other now.  I don’t think I’d be able to be confident onstage if I wasn’t onstage with the rest of the band.  You guys make me feel safe onstage.  I think we all bring it out of each other.  We feed off each others energy so much and I think that’s shown in our live shows in the last couple of months.  We’ve all progressed so much as performers, and I think that will be ever growing the more shows we do and the bigger the shows get.

Noah L and Amber, you have played in previous bands. But is punk what you’ve always played?
Noah R:  For Joseph and me we’d always listened to guitar music when we were younger.   Albeit not punk but still rock.  For me I was always into the likes of Foo Fighters, that big guitar music.  So when we picked up instruments it was always drums, Joseph obviously went straight to guitar, so there was always that guitar influence and then it evolved.
Noah L:  Yeah I think for me and Amber when we started Polarized Eyes we were listening to a lot of like Twenty One Pilots and 2010’s emo music.  And then the awful ADHD kicked in and there was the urge to do everything at two times the speed that we were originally writing it at!  So then it turns to punk music.  As soon as you get angry at the world it and you’ve got really bad ADHD then the two go hand in hand.  You can’t play music that is slow because it’s boring to your brain so its got to be at a million miles an hour.
Joseph:  One thing I’m experiencing right now, is to not get too wrapped up in anything sounding too perfect. I think that’s really applicable for us, because we go to music school and everything has to be played immaculately.  Having your passion be prominent in your performance is way more important than playing everything squeaky clean.
Noah L:  And I think that comes out in the punk attitude. We don’t need to be perfect as long as the performance is great.  For us its more important we play a show that gets the audience going and has really high energy rather than playing everything note for note for note.  That’s what makes us a punk band. 

When did you sign for Marshall Records, and how did that come about?
Noah L:  March 2022.  We’ve been signed to them for nearly two years.  Marshall have a live agency.  Our manager contacted the live agency and sent over our music.  We weren’t even thinking about a label at that point, as a next step as a band we just wanted a live agency.  They liked it so much they sent it to the record label.  The record label then asked me and Amber to go in for an interview, not saying it was an interview!  This was at Marshall Studios and we showed up and they said “play for us” and it was basically an audition, which was quite terrifying!  We didn’t really know that that was going to be the case! But it clearly went well as they signed us!

Noah and the Loners are returning to SXSW after performing there in 2023.  Do you think this will be a different experience?
Noah L:  100%.  SXSW last year was the first time we had done a run of shows back to back, and bloody hell my voice felt the strain of it! This year we are playing much bigger shows, and established show.  We’re doing the BBC 6Music stage at British Music Embassy which is huge for us which we got asked to do by Steve Lamacq, and we’re do the Marshall Records official stage. I think it is going to be a completely different experience.
Noah R: We’ve definitely moved up the ladder from playing there . Luckily we’ve been picked up to play these bigger shows. We just want as many people as possible listening to us.
Joseph: Also we put on a much better show now, more energy, way better songs and we play them better. There was a guy who came to our recent Brighton show and he hadn’t seen us since The Great Escape last May. He was shocked. He said it was like a different band.

Is it a coincidence that you’re playing the 100 Club on 28 February, release date of the EP?
Joseph: It’s our dream venue. I’ve been there so many times to see some of my favourite bands. Me and Noah R went to see Thus Love there a couple of months ago, it was a great show and we were like, we have to play here.
Noah L: And then we got an email from the Music Venue Trust who have been massive advocates for us. They have been so supportive and they do so much good work for grassroots music venues. They are doing this stage as part of a music conference at London Calling 2024 and we want you to headline the 100 Club. There is no better way of celebrating the release of our debut EP. The whole of our label are coming, all our families are going to be there, there’s a free bar, its the perfect venue to play on the release of our EP, surrounded by people who we love and who have supported us from the get go.

And finally any other plans for 2024 you can share?
Noah L: We’ve just been told we are recording another single, which is great. There are hopefully going to be some festivals. We’re playing The Great Escape again and had some exciting news about that today. Another support tour would be great for us. We toured with The Meffs in November and we had so many people come to headline tour which we have just finished who had seen us on that tour and said they loved us enough to come back again. So yeah loads of gigs, new music, just getting our stuff out there.

For more information on Noah and the Loners please check out their facebook and instagram.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.