Forty years have elapsed since the first post-punk bands stepped foot on the Band on the Wall stage. The sound those bands pioneered has been developed, dismantled and revived during subsequent decades and today, it’s spirit is carrie by outfits like LUNGS, who impressed at Free Vibes in late December and have been championed by BBC introducing in recent months. They’ve been working diligently in studio and return to Band on the Wall for a headline show on 12th May. We caught up with the band to discuss their musical drive and studio preferences, and the guys provided us with an incredible playlist of contemporary music from their peers throughout the North West. With the indie-noir of Ist Ist to a punk-funk ditty from PINS and beautiful cuts by LUNGS’ support acts next month: Abbie Ozard and Cavana – the playlist is both a perfect primer for the show and a document of exciting indie-rock originating from the North West at present.
You’ve assembled a cracking playlist of music from the North West. Can you tell us a little about your selections and your feelings about the music coming out of Liverpool and Manchester at present?
‘The playlist wasn’t a difficult one to make, the problem was trying to narrow it down. It’s a real shame that new Merseyside band The Mysterines aren’t on Spotify yet as their live shows are raved about and they have been taken under The Coral’s/Skeleton Key’s wing. Nowhere in the country touches the north west for new music. Abbie Ozard from Manchester has an amazing voice and the tunes of hers we’ve heard are really exciting – we hope to borrow her vocal for our next release.’
For those who’re unfamiliar with the group, can you tell us about how your formed and what drives or inspires your creativity?
‘We are long time friends who grabbed the opportunity to play together when it arose. We’re driven by the shared love for music made by the likes of The Sonics, Pixies, Tom Vek, Talking Heads, Oh Sees, Interpol and the desire to make a record that could sit at that end of the table in the coming years.’
It’s not often that artists release new material late in the calendar year, but being an independent outfit, you were free to release Birdsong Index on Christmas eve. What inspired that decision?
‘It was tactical. Most people at some point over the festive period are sat around a little bit pissed with nothing better to do and so hopefully that extra glass of sherry adds to the wow factor.’
Artists have a variety of different songwriting methods – some working in teams, others cutting themselves off and challenging their established writing methods. How does LUNGS material tend to come together – is there a chief writer and lyricist among the group, or is it a process which involves you all in the rehearsal room having your say?
‘Our singer Tom comes with a pretty concrete idea for almost every element. He is the brains behind the operation. The rest of us spend practices trying to persuade him to change parts and sneaking in our own stuff until it sounds nothing like the West London hipster pop Tom intended but sounding more like LUNGS. He’s pretty prolific so it’s hard to keep up with him but it’s a much better situation to be in than relying on someone with writer’s block!’
You’ve been in the studio recently, working on some material that we’ll hopefully hear in the Summer. How have the sessions been going and have you discovered any new gear or techniques that have spiced up the sessions?
‘Nothing by the way of new gear as yet. The consensus is that we want to nail the drum sound over the next few recording sessions before starting the first record. Tom once said in a Radio 1 interview that “drums and vocals are the linchpins of great pop music”. Tom sings and plays drums. The problem we have at the moment is narrowing down from 7 to 4 songs.’
Having witnessed you pull it out of the bag at Free Vibes in December, we’re eager to hear May’s headline set! What have you got in store for those who were there in December and those who weren’t?
‘We’ll be playing some new tracks that we’ve been recording recently over in the Wirral and dipping into the previous EPs. Really excited to play at Band on the Wall again, the technicians there and the equipment they’ve invested in are fantastic, it makes our job easy.’
Photo credit: Tommi Kumén