Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love
It was the interview that I said that I would never do (as I can't fit their name on the palm of my hand) but I love love love them and their new album, Ends of June, so much that I had to interrogate them. LLLLLLLLL include Kelly Dyson (KD) Ellis Dyson (ED) Chris Robinson (CR) Nick Guy (NG) and Brian Lutchmiah (BL)
Caution - these questions were answered under the influence of alcohol. The interviewer does not accept any responsibilty for the interviewees' words, their meanings or the aftermath of them.
SoundsXP: That's some name you have there! Explain please.
KD: It's from an old song of mine - the choruses were all "low low low la la la". I think the song was called "Headlights and Hormones". The last chorus went into "love love love". We haven't recorded the song in low low, though it might be cool to do it. Then again it might sound a bit cheesy now. Anyway, for some reason or other I took those choruses out of the song and now it's the band name.
SoundsXP: What was Green Man festival like? What were your highs and lows. Did you catch any good bands? Should I go next year?
KD:The Green man was cool - we have been as audience for the two years previous. It's probably the only festival I would consider going to. That was the biggest stage we have played on yet - the first one we have fit on properly. I think it went pretty well. It's hard to say - I always struggle playing live - you only really get to hear yourself in the monitors so you just have to hope that it sounds good off stage. We got free beer and a basket of fruit, so you can't complain eh. I found it hard to get absorbed in music after our set, but Herman Dune were awesome. You should go next year, yep.
ED: It was great, Herman Dune stole the show and it was very muddy.
CR: I particularly enjoyed Vetiver. It is a cool festival. There's usually a surprise or two - someone you've never heard of who's interesting. This year for me that was Seasick Steve.
SoundsXP: Who make up LLLLLLLLL and what are their jobs in the band? Is there a brow mopper? Do you need one?
ED: Hello I'm Ellis. I play the drums, and on the recordings I play some other stuff like guitars, glockenspiel, clarinet and percussion.
BL: I am Brian. Hello. I joined the band shortly after the last recording, and have been playing live on glockenspiel, percussion and backing vocals for the past year.
CR: Hi, I'm Chris. Live I play mostly electric guitar and sing. Occassionally acoustic guitar. On the recording I play percussion, bass, glockenspiel. We all do a bit of everything really.
KD: I'm Kelly. My job is to sing and play guitar and banjo live. On the recording I do a bit of everything. But I can't play drums at all - I hit them all at the same time like an idiot. I don't really need a brow mopper, I don't really break a sweat playing guitar.
NG: Hullo, my name is Nick. I joined at the same time as Brian, live I play and sing the parts no one else wants to do.
CR: There's also Hugo, who isn't here to speak for himself (so we are free to insult him). He plays bass.
SoundsXP: Tell me about the new album. It's called 'Ends of June' but you released it at the ends of May - was that to confuse the easily fooled like myself?
KD: It's called Ends of June from some note I made to myself about something or other. Pretty much anything I have ever had to name has come from me looking around my desk for words. The make of my speakers, a book lying around, an old note to myself, that kind of thing. So this particular note said Ends of June - but I forgot what it was referring to. Anyway, the end of June came and went and I survived so the note wasn't so important. So I made it the album name. I like finding things that in context are banal, but when the context is forgotten they hint at something profound, but deep down it's empty. Our label, Other Elecricities, decided on the release date. We weren't trying to be funny or anything ;)
SoundsXP: What makes you feel low? What makes you go 'la!' and who are you in love with?
ED: The sky.....nothing I only say it when people ask the band name, but I can't sing except when I'm alone in the car, then I sound great. So maybe Herman Dune or The Microphones.....Tessa my dog.
BL: Time, or the lack of.....I don't really go 'la!', it is more 'la??'.....my wife and kids.
CR: The idea of having to work for a living. I'd rather be frivolous and play songs.....playing songs.....hmmm, not entirely sure I can answer that one.
SoundsXP: The new album cover conjures up images from Hitchcock's 'The Birds.' Any links or just an image coincidence?
KD: It's just a coincidence. I've seen The Birds but I don't think it left a big enough impression on me to influence that. I spent a long time thinking about the cover and struggling to come up with anything. It just came into my head in a flash in the end - the birds on the wire with Ends of June written on them. Birds turn up a lot as a theme in stuff I've written in the past, I don't know why. I guess they turn up in a lot of songs. They signify something that I can't put my finger on. When I had finished the painting for the cover, it reminded me of being a kid on a bicycle riding around the block looking up at telegraph wires at all the birds perching there. That's got a touch of nostalgia about it - you don't see birds on wires around here like that anymore.
CR: It looks a bit like barbed wire too. I like that kind of image - something that seen one way is beautiful, and seen another can be quite dark and threatening. I think that can be said of the music.
SoundsXP: 'Sometimes it's just a slow life' Why?
ED: Because not much happens.
KD: I stole that line from my brother and put it in Mayfly. So it's like he says, because not much happens.
SoundsXP: Where do you live and why would I want to live there?
BL: Buxton in Derbyshire. You wouldn't as it is always cold and wet, although it is a Spa town if that is of any interest. It isn't to me.
KD: Buxton. It's a stones throw from the Dark Peak. It's a heavy landscape, heather moorland, massive grey skies, really amazing. Very wet. And cold mostly. I appreciate it more the older I get.
SoundsXP: You've been compared to the likes of Elliot Smith all the way to Badly Drawn Boy. Who do you place yourself next to, if anybody?
KD: I didn't listen to Elliott Smith until I think Nick pointed me to him after we finished the first album so I went out and bought Basement which I think is now one of my favourite albums of all time. Neil Young has always been there ever since I started being serious about music though. And a couple of years ago I discovered Neutral Milk Hotel. That's my top three I guess. I would like to think that's the kind of stuff I would place us next to one day, though I am so in awe of that stuff that it just feels a bit big-headed to compare us with it y'know.
SoundsXP: What gigs have you got coming up and should I go to them?
KD: We are playing in Lancaster this weekend coming at LAWM doing a quiet set. Ends of June is being released in Europe in January I believe, so we will follow that with a UK tour and hopefully get over onto the continent for a few shows.
SoundsXP: My favourite song of yours is Iron in the Soul. What ones do you like and why? Is it difficult to look at your two albums and pinpoint favourites.
ED: My favorite on the album is probably 'Black Black Window'. My favorite to play live is a new one called 'Flower in the mind' because they let me hit drums hard in parts.
BL: 'Mayfly' and 'Iron in the Soul' are great to play live.
CR: I have to say I like Iron in the Soul 'cos I wrote it. ( I say I wrote it. Most of the words (in fact all of them) came from a novel I was reading at the time. I just mixed them up to make them say what I wanted to say). I'm excited by the new stuff, Flower is a lovely song and a pleasure to play. Mayfly is beginning to feel like lowlow's signature tune. It has a lot of the musical elements that make up the album all in one song.
KD: Our favourites are usually the new ones that we are playing at that moment in time. They feel a bit fresher. 'Mayfly' feels good live. I like 'Fear of a wide open life' on the album, but we make an absolute mess of it when we try playing it as a band. 'Black black window' is probably my favourite. It's one of a few that I recorded initially as a really simple, quiet acoustic solo song, then my brother took the track and transformed it into something completely different that allowed the track to develop into what it is now. 'Roadkill Moon' from the first album started that way too.
SoundsXP:Describe your band in nine words.
CR: Shambolic Ramshackle Lo-Fi Country Folk Pop Rock Nonsense, or A Bunch Of Guys Old Enough To Know Better.
SoundsXP: Autumn is upon us. Write me a four line poem about how this makes you feel - then recite it to me with an accompanying banjo - clock starts now...
"Your skin glows like the Conker,
blossoms autumnal as the Mushrooms in the purest hope of spring.
My heart follows your Banjo voice
and leaps like a Hedgehog at the whisper of your name.
The evening floats in on a great Robin wing.
I am comforted by your Scarf that I carry into the twilight of woodsbeams
and hold next to my arm.
I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears of Rain.
As my leg falls from my Woolly hat, it reminds me of your tree.
In the quiet, I listen for the last wind of the day.
My heated face leaps to my gloves.
I wait in the moonlight for your secret leaves so that we may walk as one,
face to face, in search of the magnificient brown and mystical path of love."
KD: Oh my god, we just put some autumnal words into a love poem generator online! This is crazy shit. I'm using it for all my songs from now on! I was going to just include four lines, but that last one is a killer...
SoundsXP: Are you big in Japan?
KD: Not that I know of. The album is out there and 'The messy one' made some college chart for a few weeks I think, but we aren't big in Japan.
SoundsXP: 'Coffee with Dylan in a seedy cafe' or 'Tea at the Ritz with George Formby' - choose one scenario and explain your choice to me.
ED: Tea with Dylan please. Is that allowed? They are listening to 'Hurricane' in the kitchen and it sounds very nice.
KD: I'm into Dylan a bit. I would probably be star struck and try impressing him and make a tit of myself. It's best if I just stay in I think.
CR: I wouldn't say no to some Ritz crackers to dunk in my tea.
SoundsXP: Finally, when will I see you again? Where will you be on New Year's Eve? What words of wisdom will you leave me with?
KD: We've been drinking, it's taken us about 3 hours to get to the bottom of the page (with a break for Match of the Day). Sorry if the answers are getting brief... I can't tell you when we will see you again, but you are very welcome to ask us questions when we do our next album ;) New Years will be with a few friends. Nothing crazy, I like a simple life. Take it easy.
You too, dear Kelly. I look forward to the release 'Your skin glows like the conker' but in the meantime I have the fabulous Ends Of June to feel my ears and heart with. I love love love you lot even more now...