Laurel Collective

Bill Cummings 23/09/2008

Laurel Collective are a multinational six piece - comprising members hailing from Wales, England, Nigeria and Italy - this week they release their shimmering tale of long distance relationships, and for one night banishing the world's bad news International Love Affair it's one of the highlights from their recent debut mini-album Feel Good Hits of a Nuclear Winter.

The band have been gathering a legion of fans throughout the summer off the back of winning festival sets at Glastonbury, Great Escape and Dot to Dot. Laurel Collective will be hosting a special single launch at Barden's Boudoir on Thursday 25th September. So we thought we'd have a mini verbal love in with Bob one of their frontmen in the Laurels. A band who are offering the kind of refreshingly expressive darkly humourous, synth dappled, guitar pop that bobs its head above the crowd, thus gaining them welcome rotation here at GIITTV towers.

The band have been gathering a legion of fans throughout the summer off the back of winning festival sets at Glastonbury, Great Escape and Dot to Dot. Laurel Collective will be hosting a special single launch at Barden's Boudoir on Thursday 25th September

Hi, how are things at the moment?

Not bad...super broke, but I hear all the money left in music belongs to Guy Hands and Chris Martin, so am kind of resigned to that right now...

How did the band form, in London? Since you all come from different corners of the world?!

Yeah we actually came together in Camberwell, many moons ago, and some members are from very un-rock 'n'roll Guilford. I suppose the different nationalities mixed together is a bit London itself. We probably wouldn't mention it except that some bands have a Sheffield sound or a Manchester vibe etc. We just didn't want to be associated with place or sound, which should become more apparent over the next year or so.

How would you describe the LC sound in five words?

Percussive, poppy, noisy, big choruses...

Who would you pinpoint as your main musical influences?Who do you listen to most on the tourbus?

There's lots of democracy on the tourbus, except the other day nobody wanted to listen to The Whitest Boy Alive who I really like. The reason is we go on long journeys, so we get through a lot of albums. Pixies, Trail of the dead, Tribe called Quest, Beck, Queens of the stone age, Broken Social Scene, T.V on the radio is good for night time. We listen to a lot of stuff: sometimes debating the finer points of it, anything could be an influence. You have to drive fast with "rebellion lies" by Arcade Fire at full blast!

Can you put your finger on when your unique pop sound emerged?

To be honest, no! It's very hard to describe how music comes about sometimes.

Is it true that your publishing deal is with Domino and you're signed to Double Six? How did that happen and how does it work, or have I got it all wrong?

No, that's correct. These things normally boil down to one or two people with the right connections who believe in a band. Publishing/recording contracts are hard to explain, but it's nice to know we were in the same boat as the excellent White Williams and Eugene Mcguiness who are now fully on Domino.

You're getting more attention now, is it kind of gratifying that people recognise what you're creating?

Definitely. We are still at a point where some people don't get what we do but I think it's hard to pursue interesting pop music- people either hate you for being too pop or think its too arty. Look at the Ting Tings- people have said they are vacuous shite and some people think they really are pop with substance. It's a very fine line and one we intend to chase until the bitter end of everything!

How come Bjork turned up at your album launch do you know her?

No, we don't know Bjork, I can't imagine getting on the phone and being like, Hey Bjork, it's a lovely day lets go for a picnic on Hampstead heath.That would be pretty darn weird. She came down and I missed her! I always fail to spot celebs, if that's what she is now. A year ago I don't think we had anyone well known at our gigs, maybe someone
like Michael Fish? (the failed T.V weatherman)

Earlier this year you played the introducing stage at Glastonbury, was that exciting?

It was ruddy brilliant. Get Cape Wear Cape Fly was on after, and we didn't stay for that. We went and got pissed.

Did you see it as an opportunity to get your music heard by a wider audience?

If two more people hear the band that's all good. Not expecting Stadiums at this stage. It's a massive honour just to get this far. A single was a dream a year ago. To do the mini album was amazing.

I've liked your track (and next single) International love affair for a long time, since I heard it on the Dogbox compilation, can you tell me about how the song has changed, and the meanings behind it?

It's an old song! I suppose it's a reaction to the sheer bleakness in the world, it about feeling helpless to change everything and dreaming of better things. I read a lot of history and humans are obviously capable of incomprehensible, stomach churning violence.

I read some really depressing books, but the torture and bombings in the news from Iraq are bad enough. I actually get depressed when I think of Iraq and how bad it could yet become. The song is a heart on sleeve song that I wrote quite a few years ago. It has a naivity about it. There could yet be another version.

Can you tell us what we can expect from your debut mini-album Feel Good Hits of a Nuclear Winter?

It's been in the shops for quite some time now! It's in HMV. All I can say is it's been both positively and negatively compared to The Mystery Jets, but we don't see that at all, no offence to them as we are fans. Please buy it or we are fucked!

Finally since my site is called God Is In The TV can you tell us what your favourite TV programmes are?

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Family Guy, Simpsons, South Park. We don't really watch much TV but I reckon that speaks for the guys as well.

International Love Affair was released via Domino Records sub label Double Six Records this Monday (Sept 22nd), it's backed by a FREE download of the band's cover of their good friend Micachu's track, Golden Phone. To get the free Golden Phone download, fans need to go to the Laurel's myspace and click on the huge Golden Phone. It's taken from the band's mini album Feel Good Hits of a Nuclear Winter which is also avaliable at all good record shops and probably on Itunes.