‘Psychedelic and vicious’: Holly Ross on The Lovely Eggs’ new LP, its artwork and accompanying fanzine

Given the stringent demands that face wholly independent artists such as The Lovely Eggs in today’s music world, it’s a miracle that they find the time to produce music at all! That said, as the psychedelic and punk rock-influenced husband and wife outfit juggle the various aspects of self-management with their already busy musical lives, they feel they’re making some of their best work to date! Partnering with Dave Fridmann for the first time, they’ve brought face-melting fuzz, vocal distortion and a new synthy presence to the fore on latest single I Shouldn’t Have Said That, which will tick all the boxes of Oh Sees and Moon Duo fans ahead of the release of their new LP, This is Eggland.

The band’s D.I.Y. ethos, tireless work ethic and cut the claptrap approach has won them a committed following over the last decade. Never mind The Buzzcocks; this is Northwest punk for the modern age, and Phill Jupitus aka. Porky the Poet, is but one punk-spirited figure along for the ride! Ahead of their Band on the Wall show with the bearded bard and support band Mr Ben and the Bens, we spoke to Holly Ross about their new record, the Lancaster Music co-op and their hopes for 2018.

A willingness to ‘do it yourself’ has almost become a necessity for modern artists; as a group with integrity and a strong D.I.Y. ethos, what are your thoughts on D.I.Y. music making today and how would you advise aspiring artists looking to make a start with D.I.Y. recording?

‘We think that doing things D.I.Y. is pretty much the only way to go if you want to earn a living from doing your own band these days. There are no massive advance record deals knocking around any more, not for small independent bands any way. So unless you are willing to try and hold down a full time regular job as well (which is pretty much impossible if you want to tour and put everything into doing your band) or you you’ve got a rich family you can freeload off then D.I.Y is the only way. Between us we’ve had our fair share of shit jobs in the past so to be able to do music and tour and that is the only thing we have to do is earn money then that is pretty fucking cool. It’s really hard work and it takes quite a few years to learn the ropes and figure out how everything works like manufacture and distribution and gig booking and all of that. But once you’ve got the hang of it it’s a total joy. It also gives you total creative freedom and that is something that money can’t buy.

It’s great that more and more bands are operating on a D.I.Y level but in a way it’s a shame that being D.I.Y. has become more of a necessity these days than a political statement. A lot of people go D.I.Y. cos they have to and they’re put in that situation, rather than it being a proactive f*** you against the record industry. Can’t really offer any advice. Best not to. Just get stuck in and get on with it!’

You’ve worked, albeit remotely, with a bonafide producer for the first time on new album This Is Eggland. In what ways does the new LP differ from and resemble the back catalogue and how did working with Dave Fridmann affect your mindset and approach to recording?

‘We actually went over to America to Dave’s studio in Upstate NYC to mix the record, although we recorded it ourselves (with Dave remotely producing) at Lancaster Music Co-op. Dave and us both thought it was important that we were all there to do the mix together so yeah we spent two weeks out in America mixing the record together.

The new record sounds totally different to anything we have done before. I mean it’s still us, but it’s much heavier than anything we have done in the past and possibly more psychedelic. We were edging towards that direction with our last album “This Is Our Nowhere” but this album we just went full on with it! Obviously it was amazing working with Dave. He is such a laid back, cool dude. Very unpretentious. Very creative. Before we made the record we were sh**ting ourselves because we just couldn’t believe he wanted to work with us and we are known for doing everything ourselves in a very rough, D.I.Y way so to work with someone who had made The Flaming Lips “Soft Bulletin” album, did put the pressure on a bit. Can’t lie about that. But you know, we gave it all we had and we think this is the best album we have ever made.’

The Lancaster Musician’s Co-op was integral to the process; can you tell us a little about that and its benefits for those unfamiliar with it?

‘Lancaster Music Co-op is a non-profit making rehearsal rooms and recording studio in Lancaster. We have recorded all our albums there and David helps run it. It gives musicians somewhere cheap to record and rehearse. It’s great and is invaluable to all the bands round here. It’s in a disused factory in the centre of Lancaster. Of course everyone wants to knock it down and build a Nandos. It’s under constant threat by developers. It keeps on keeping on. It just need someone like Paul McCartney to buy the building for ‘em. Paul, if yer reading…’

The idea of musical co-operatives and collectives goes back along way; the influential Manchester Musician’s Collective were based at Band on the Wall during the late ‘70s and embraced a collaborative ethos that has always been important in music. With that in mind, are there any collaborative projects you’d love to pitch to peers or artists at present?

‘We’re actually doing something at the moment. It’s a fanzine to come out alongside our new album. We’ve asked our friends (bands, poets, musicians, artists) to help contribute so we’re putting it together at the moment. We’ve got people like Casey Raymond, David Shrigley, Phill Jupitus and Sally Jenkinson contributing. There’s loads of people. It’s gunna be for sale at our gigs. We love collaborating with other people. It makes stuff exciting dunnit!’

The artwork for your forthcoming single Wiggy Giggy and the LP itself is fantastic! Who created those pieces, were you in dialogue with them about what you envisaged for the covers and do they reflect the sound or subject matter of the music?

‘THAT is the work of Casey Raymond. He’s a debauched genius and one of our best mates. He’s also made a lot of our music videos. Check ‘em out on YouTube. For the album art, yeah we had a conversation before he drew the cover we talked about themes and the sort of way we wanted it to look, which yeah we do think reflects the sound of it – psychedelic and vicious! And he pulled it out of the frigging bag as per usual!’

You’ve strong feelings about the ‘fake encore’ that’s a given for many live performers today. What most upsets you about it and have any other artists or famous faces joined the effort to curb it?

‘Oh loads of things really but mainly it’s just the fakeness of it. We think encores should be impromptu after a really really exceptional performance. The fact that people expect them now after every gig is kind of a reflection of societies constant demand for MORE. People always want more. People will soon be wanting encores on top of encores!! So yeah it’s the fakeness of it all. It’s like a pathetic showbiz stunt when bands go off stage for like 30 seconds and come back on straight away and play the hits. Make you wanna vom! Not really sure if anyone else has rallied against ’em, except for Gruff Rhys who is a frigging legend and a very good man!’

What most excites you in music and the wider world and what are your plans for 2018?

‘It’s the possibility of the unknown. We are ready and willing to impale ourselves on the future. Plans for 2018 are to release “This Is Eggland” out into the world in February, play loads of gigs, tour, party, play festivals. meet new people, have fun, spend time with our little lad, hopefully just the things that make life great.’

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Saturday | 17.02.18

The Lovely Eggs + Porky The Poet + Mr Ben and the Bens

Band on the Wall, Manchester