Nicola Chapman (@itstillytime) interviews The Lovely Eggs . . .
People are twats. Not my words but those of The Lovely Eggs, husband and wife pop-punk team from Lancashire. Whether you agree with this sentiment or not it makes for an interesting introduction to the ‘Eggs discography; their new single Fuck It being another reason to approach with more than a pinch of salt.
Singing in a regional accent about obsessive compulsive disorders, digital accordions and dog dirt, Holly Ross makes an unconventional front lady… or at least she would if she hadn’t already earned her stripes with Angelica, former Evening Session and Peel favourites. David Blackwell is no stranger to the scene either having been a ‘sound carrier’ for Damo Suzuki with his band 3D Tanx. So far so interesting, and a study of their latest album Cob Dominos (2011) indicates a veritable smorgasbord of musical and lyrical influences from US alt rock, riot grrrl, anti-folk, twee British pop and Frank Sidebottom (to my mind anyway). With artistic sensibilities, surrealist tendencies and a definite lo-fi/DIY ethos there is something for everyone within the Lovely Eggs oeuvre.
I caught up with them before the start of their current tour and got all cultural:
A friend recently saw you play a pop up nightclub in London – is playing alternative venues important to you? And do you plan an element of cabaret within your act?
There is absolutely no intended cabaret in our band at all. We sometimes get the label of being a ‘fun’ band but for us it’s not like that at all. We just have a strong punk rock ethos which pretty much means we have no rules. One of our main agendas at gigs is to have a drink and have fun. We really like to just have a party on stage and include everyone which sometimes might come across as cabaret- but it really isn’t- it’s just a punk rock band having fun. There’s not enough of that going on these days- gigs for the sake of rejoicing in having a party, we think anyway.
We actually remember that pop up club quite well. It was a really posh nightclub with lots of champagne and plants hanging from the ceiling like an art deco jungle and during our set a drunk Japanese woman stood up and started screaming at me [Holly] that I was a man and tried to look up my dress for proof. She was with all her family and her teenage kids. I think they were on holiday. That was pretty funny. We like things like that- stuff to remember gigs by. I think by the end of the gig she had decided to get divorced from her husband. It was ridiculous. We suppose we don’t really have any boundaries which is why we can end up playing some weird places. We’ve played in a scrapyard in LA and on beaches and in charity shops. We like playing places you wouldn’t expect to see a band, but we do play normal venues too! They tend to have a PA and microphones and electricity which can be handy.
We actually really love improv stuff. Although it doesn’t really come across in The Lovely Eggs, we’re actually big fans of improv and Krautrock, as well as lots of 60s psyche, mod and garage stuff.
What are your fancy dress costumes of choice?
I [Holly] like to dress as Bob from Twin Peaks, but always ends up looking like J Mascis. David had to dress up once as a Diddy man once at Butlins, it wasn’t really his costume of choice, but he looked great.
I read that you’d appeared alongside Linder Sterling [artist/singer/feminist] at the Tate – sounds interesting.
David did the Tate thing with Linder with his other psyche-drone band 3D Tanx. It was amazing. It was a piece called The Working Class Goes To Paradise. She took 4 bands and surrounded herself with them in the middle of Tate Britain and then got them all to start playing. They were all playing different stuff at once and it was just like a wall of noise. Then she got a load of women and got them to do this ritual shaker dance around the room round the outside of the circle and she stood in the middle dressed like Clint Eastwood with a horse’s tail. The performance began an hour before anyone was allowed in and then the public could come into view for 2 hours and then they had to go and the performance went on for another hour, so that it had no beginning and no end. She actually lives just down the road from us, Linder Sterling. You’d be surprised who you’d find in the Lancaster and Morecambe district.
How would you answer the charge that you are a ‘comedy’ band? Also I heard John Shuttleworth [who appears in the video for Don’t Look At Me] drinks Lancashire tea – can you confirm this rumour?
We really don’t see ourselves as a comedy band. But we’ll go as far to admit that we make observations about life which are in themselves quite funny and sometimes make people smile. And at gigs we have a good time and enjoy the crack. We think our lyrics are more surreal than comical. And with a lot of surreal stuff, it does sometimes make you smile. Like the Lobster Telephone. People who see us as pure comedy are missing the point.
We’ve no idea whether John Shuttleworth drinks Lancashire Tea. Can only say he’s partial to a family pack of sausage rolls.
Would you agree with the Futurists that all critics are useless and dangerous? And does art have to be useful AND beautiful? to misquote William Morris.
We are very much ploughing our own furrow so for us, yes critics do fall into that category. Listening to them (positive or negative) doesn’t really matter because we’ll do what we do anyway. Critics are a bit like parents- they tell you what you should be doing or what you’re doing wrong, but you just ignore em and get on with it so yes we agree with the Futurists. Critics can often be hurtful towards bands and quite snide and nasty. I think the rise of the blog has helped facilitate that. Anyone can make their own page and have a go at people in sometimes a really personal and hurtful way, so in that way yes we think critics can be dangerous to the mind because as Jonathan Richman said “all men are just tender souls.”
And as for art, we mostly like the useless and ugly stuff.
Have you ever been on a pilgrimage?
Yes. We visited all the filming locations of The Wickerman in Dumfries and then we drove all the way along Route 66 in a big red car. We like road trips.
Would you do a kids orientated tv show? I’m thinking of the recent rush of US indie bands to appear on Yo Gabba Gabba. How would ‘People are Twats’ go down on Blue Peter?
It’s funny because kids love our music. We don’t know why cos it’s full of swear words, maybe that’s it! We have people who are into our music from 4 years old to 80. Don’t get us wrong, not everyone likes us, a lot of people think we sound like shit but what we’re saying is the people who do like us have a very broad age range. We’ve never seen Yo Gabba Gabba but if it’s a kids TV show I think you can imagine how People are Twats would go down! The kids would love it.
What jobs did you do before becoming music makers? And what advice would you give to unemployed young people dreaming of stardom, or even just a normal job?
David was a printer (which clashed with his addiction to nightclubs 7 nights a week- we’ve got a song about it) and then he worked at Lancaster Musician’s Co-op which is a rehearsal rooms and recording studio and he still works there now. I [Holly] have worked behind the counter in a sandwich and meat shop, selling ciggies in a cornershop, as a barmaid, a careworker at an old people’s home, I worked in a chocolate shop, as a tour guide at Lancaster Castle, a journalist, a copy writer in Paris, a TV researcher, a documentary producer and director and a bookseller.
Advice to unemployed young people dreaming of stardom: Pull up the duvet and keep dreaming. To those with a normal job: lose it.
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
To be honest we don’t really eat breakfast.
The Lovely Eggs are on tour now and play the Fox & Newt, Burley St, Leeds on Thursday 26th May, 8pm. Their next single Fuck It is released on 30th May by Cherryade Records