LOCKDOWN WITH LARKINS: FINISHING THE ALBUM, BEDROOM BEATS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP
JULY 8TH 2020
The Manchester born and raised alt-pop band taking the world by storm, Larkins, join us live from lockdown to talk their finished album, the importance of their friendship and what has been inspiring them during such unprecedented times.
The first teaser from their upcoming new body of work, “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?” emerges as a hugely bold, exciting statement of intent. With its anthemic, thudding bassline and hyper-personal lyricism from frontman Josh Noble, it’s accompanied by a jarring music video which opens with Noble getting hit by a car and embarking on a dreamlike journey, leaving viewers wondering what is real and what being "real" even means. One could say it is some what symbolic of the world were living in right now.
What’s the lockdown experience been like for you, have you found yourself more creative, less creative or do you feel entirely different?
Josh: I would honestly say more man, way more creative. For the first time ever we have actually had time to write and sit, I’ve actually had to say to people “please just give us some time alone to sit and write!” (laughs) I think without lockdown we wouldn’t of had the ‘abum’ finished.
Oh, so an album is ready then?
Josh: It definitely feels that way, yeah.
Your latest track, ‘Are We Having Any Fun Yet?’ you literally only have to listen to once and you’ll have that main hook stuck in your head (laughs) How did it come about and what was it like releasing a record during the early stages of quarantine?
Josh: We spent a lot of time in London at ‘The Church Studios’, Adele’s recorded there it’s a truly beautiful studio at Crouch End and we had a session, that was only meant to be for one day with an amazing guy called Dan Nigro, but we actually ended up spending 2 weeks together so. I mean it was right in the middle of the Brexit vote we recorded, their was a lot of angst and it really was a case of me walking through London like ‘are we actually having any fun yet?’
I mean, It’s almost symbolic with Lockdown as well?
Josh: Oh yes, definitely, it’s weird it feels so relevant right now.
Dom: But back to your question of releasing during lockdown, it was definitely very weird. Obviously we couldn’t have the normal interaction with the fans and we had to think of new creative ways to engage with our audience and make those connections through social media etc. The second music video we did for it, we filmed over Zoom with all the fans and stuff and it worked so much better than we could of ever expected.
Josh: I mean what’s wild, if you look at the 60’s and 70’s with the rise of protest of music, this time were living in with everything going on, is gunna effect music now for the next decade. It’s crazy.
Oh totally! Especially with everyone releasing projects and as you said, finising projects during all this, it will definitely have an effect. I saw in your interview with FaceCulture you were talking about the almost ‘stepping stone’ music scene in Manchester where live gigs are quite easy to come across, how important is live performance to you and has it been difficult releasing music and not being able to perform it live?
Josh: It’s been so sh*t to be honest, and completely strange. We value live performance so much and I think that’s kind of our first love. First and foremost, we havn't been able to go to shows, we used to go to 3-4 a week, and been doing that since we were kids, to get inspired and check out the scene and obviously we haven’t been able to which has been really strange. Performing is what we get excited about and put our passion and love into so it’s been weird.
Where’s a venue that would just be a dream to play at?
Dom: From the first day you become a band, there is just different stages you work towards as you work your way up, I don’t know if your familiar with Manchester but there are so many little venues like ‘Deaf Institute’, ‘Night and Day’, ‘Soup Kitchen’ – just like really established places that so many bands had beginnings at so it’s always a real thrill to play at these places, even with the smaller venues.
The indie/alt-pop music scene is pretty crowded right now, which is amazing for us, the consumers of all this incredible music, but do you ever feel like you have competitiveness with other artists?
Josh: Yes. I think that’s what helps us grow and develop and that’s why we lean on the pop-sensibility’s more, we lean on the idea that we do alternative things to other people – whether that’s running and clothing brand, what we talk about, what we write about etc. I mean when ‘TV Dream’ came out, we were an Indie band talking about pretty dark stuff like (TW: rape) rape culture and people were like ‘what the f*ck?!’ you know so I think that’s helped us stay apart from other people.
Even looking at ‘Are We Having Any Fun Yet?’, loads of people, whether radio, management, producers would all say to us, it’s really good and we really like it, but it’s not your traditional alt-pop record, its slow etc but I mean, I feel it’s the best song we have ever dropped so.
I definitely felt that listening, I thought how catchy it was and how the main chorus line gets so easily stuck in your head, yet it isn’t the usual sound you would associate with being so memorable or catchy! How has it been over the last 1-2 years having music as your full-time career?
Josh: It has properly made a difference I can’t even tell you, we’ve been doing this since teenagers so it’s amazing to be able to put all our time and energy into it.
What was the transition like from being an independent artist to being scouted and signed?
Dom: We have always pride ourselves on building an almost family-like team around us whether its Jake in sound or the guys on lights, we’ve all grown together and now that were signed, we have so much access to so many other young people who are just as ambitious as us and we can creatively bounce off each other. It is amazing.
Josh: I mean, we had been approached before, but then when Good Solider came in, it was like an instant connection – it’s an indie label, only 2 other acts signed to it and it is majority female led so it was a no brainer and best thing we ever did.
I love that. You talk about growing up together as well, was music always the first love and end goal or was it more so when you got together and joined forces music became such an important part of your lives?
Dom: Music is how we all became friend to be honest, we all have similar ambitions and we all saw a drive and passion in eachother and it was just instant. When you leave school, you drift from people that you aren’t on the same wave length with and you begin to make lifelong friends who are similar and I think that’s definitely what’s happened with us. It’s great.
Josh: Music has always been at the core of our friendship but even from a business perspective, we’ve all seen something in each other that we know will help us all reach our ultimate goal of where we want to be, and I think you need that mutual respect for each other.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations and what do you do when you’re feeling uncreative or de-motivated to get your energy flowing again?
Josh: Anyone who is more interesting beyond their music and doing something different. I love Caroline Polacheck, the 1975 obviously have always been the top tier band for us of who to look to for inspiration and how to improve ourselves you know.
Dom: The indie scene in 2010 was what made us want to be in a band, that nostalgic feel good vibe that brings back all those good memories of drinking cider in a field somewhere (laughs)
Josh: We weren’t on tour actually with Mur (Mathew Murphey) from The Wombats and that was such a surreal experience because all the way through school you know, all you would listen to is ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ by The Wombats so having the opportunity to work together and get close was incredible.
What are your first steps coming out of lockdown, what do you want to achieve? What have you got lined up? What can you get us excited for?!
Josh: The tour has been pushed to December, whether we get to do that yet, we don’t know but we pray we can do that. We need to get back to America, we were in New York when this all hit so were desperate to go back.
Oh f*ck you were in America?! That must have been so horrendous having to have that experience cut short?
Josh: It was a very expensive sh*tty experience (laughs)
To finish, what do you wish someone said to you when you were younger to help any fans reading who are aspiring to also venture into music?
Dom: A big one is taking your time. There is no rush or blueprint, you see other bands you compare yourself to them and you begin to feel sh*t but that’s a waste of time and you need to focus on what you are doing.
Josh: Flirt with your ego and flirt with your arrogance. Know you are doing what you are doing because you’re f*cking good at it.
- CHECK OUT THE BOYS LATEST TRACK 'ARE WE HAVING ANY FUN YET?' -