Friday, April 03, 2020

An Interview with Sam from Ladybird

Ladybird first flew onto my radar after I saw them supporting Slaves at Manchester Academy back in 2018. Putting on a high energy performance that perfectly matched exactly what the crowd have expected - the band haven't left my mind since that amazing night.

For Fans Of:  Slaves, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, IDLES

The post-punk Kent trio focus on themes of love and friendship in their newest track 'G
ot Lucky' which was released just over a week ago.
I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Sam from the band, discussing the new single, current worldwide events, what they've got for us in the works and tackling questions from fans.

Do you take inspiration from any other bands/ who do you look up to?

I guess the answer for that is, lots and lots of bands give inspiration to us and, the direct link that we all feel, myself Alex and Joe that’s prominent in our artistry is The Streets and we would listen to their albums on the way to gigs, rehearsals, and we’d all be in awe. Really we listen to a lot of music in the van on the way to gigs, Alex and Joe are usually just back to back AB, they’re just so passionate and they put songs on and I don’t usually chip in but sometimes I’m like I wanna listen to this album now, I’m feeling an inspiration but albums and music like that, bands that we take inspiration from through that medium are things like Oasis ‘what’s the story morning glory’, stone roses their debut album. 
We listened to stormzy’s debut album on repeat, Gang signs and prayer, mind blowing I can’t wait to listen to that album again, obviously since then he’s released more and headlines Glastonbury but that was a poignant moment in grime. Grime’s been going for so long and yet here it is, really going to that next level. But we also listen to pop music now, since we’ve all got into production throughout recording our own music. So, we sit and listen to Britney Spears and Christina and drake and all these people, and just observe from a production level, it’s very interesting to hear for our music, with our producer Lee, and with demo-ing and recording. On our own recordings Alex and I have been really entertained by this concept of production as an instrument.

What was it like being discovered by slaves and touring with them?

Being discovered by slaves was an amazing benefit for us because we’ve been friends for so long and we’ve been on tour with them, with Willie J Healy. It was incredible to experience their dynamic as a crew, and the Willie J boys who are gorgeous all of them, and it was so wholesome of an experience and obviously really mad as well, being able to play to audiences like that who knew about us. It was a very unique opportunity being given that release platform as well as the tour, it was a treasured memory I’ll take with me forever. 

Highlights really would be the shows in Glasgow Barrowlands where we did two nights. After the first show, or maybe even during, Isaac hurt his index finger really badly like black and blue and they though it was broken but he buggered it somehow, and he couldn’t play, Laurie has prepared us to go and do maybe a ‘sla-dy birds set’, and me and Joe were playing drums and performing with them and so we learnt the whole set and performed it the four of us (Alex was learning a song on bass but it ended up being dropped, not for any reason other than the fact that time was really ticking away), Alex was right by our side the whole time watching us, next to the drums where me and Joe shared the drum role, and we did it again the next night in Nottingham at Rock City, which was an amazing experience to play with our boys! And it’s been years since I’ve been on stage with Isaac, I used to drum in the band ‘bareface’ which proceeded slaves, so it was a real dream come true in that sense to have the opportunity to play with them.

What did you find most difficult starting out and making your way up in the music industry? 

It was probably just working on a professional level really, all of the songs we recorded previously (this is from me, not speaking on behalf of the boys here but I’m sure they’d agree) going from recording music was relatively easy, we just did what we liked and kept what we sounded good what was almost the first take of everything and they’ve considered our most raw recordings. we suddenly had to do art work and music videos and all kind of technical queries related to live performances and releasing music which was quite alien so that was the hard bit and in life we have obstacles which almost get in the way of us doing what we want to do and certainly we experienced a few of those. But winning over them whether you’re in music or wherever you are in life is the key, so we’ve been doing that really. 

Losing my voice was two years of major changes in all kinds of multi-dimensional ways but we ultimately determined to win, and we have. So, we have more stuff coming out as I’m sure you’re aware.

What’s your favourite gig that you’ve played as a band?

Probably something like barrowlands or Alexandra Palace with Slaves, that iconic gig.

If you could tour with any band/ artist who would it be?

I’d really like to tour with Wolf Alice and I know Joe's mentioned that name a few times, I think we'd all like to tour with Idles we love them dearly as people and artists ad pioneers you know following on from the new movement of guitar music, and I think punk  in its true identity beyond any kind of other political interpretations. It’d be a dream come true.

What’s the story behind your latest track ‘Got Lucky’?

This track actually features my gorgeous, lovely partner in crime, my wife tilly, she’s in the video and she’s also in the song, it was written at a time when id just really became one with her, which is the best way to describe it really without hitting any cliché buttons. But it was an amazing journey really, finding someone, your other half in a world where you’re not driven by the usual components for romance which is often fear or anxiety, its just about really adoring someone from the get go and very calmly pursuing and embarking on a lifetime journey. However, this part of the story is just about the first night where you meet them and its not about ‘getting lucky’ as such in the traditional sense of the word, pulling someone and making love that night. This is more the long term, like the friendship, it’s about friendship. Although it covers the embarking of a long-term story, it just within itself its about the night where you meet someone who you’re attracted to and it’s just about the friendship, the solid foundation of that rather than anything else. I hope that it comes across in the words and in the music. 

It was born out of joe and Alex really, Alex had this riff for ages, it was a two part riff, and the second part doesn’t really come in until the very end last verse of the song, you notice this switch in the harmony whilst maintaining the same theme, and the drums go to half time at that point towards the outro of the tune. We were messing around with it for ages, and joe and al were just fucking having it in the rehearsal room at the time, and I thought this is it this is our opportunity to really sort of – we all love grime, so like I said about Stormzy and all of those boys, boy better know, Skepta’s album, Konnichiwa, all of that stuff man. I love JME’s album, BLAM, so yeah so it sort of it was our time to do this grime thing really.

Watch the music video here.

Have you got any unreleased music you’re excited to put out?

Yes! We’ve got fucking loads. Alex just finished off a big folder of high-level demos, and there’s lots of them from which we are going to shortlist the album and start recording, well we’ve already started recording, a lot of the work is actually already done. We’re putting out this record at the moment and then we’re going to release that probably late this year or early next year sometime. There are some really amazing songs that’ve come out of it, a lot of which are in the style of how we wrote Got Lucky. There are songs on there that’ve been around for ages, you know that’ve come from our hearts. All of them are presented in this beautiful way that I can’t wait for you all to hear.

What have we got to look forward to in the world of Ladybird?

I’ve got a baby on the way, which is very exciting, so its gonna be Ladybird’s first bubba. We’ve had so many changes come along recently, and COVID-19 is an example of great change, it’s given us all an opportunity to think about the world and how we live, and how the capitalist world seems to work – very high production, discussions with 5G. We’ve got changes going on in our own lives too, people getting married, friends relatives, but life goes on doesn’t it, were writing all the time and were really looking forward to getting these next couple of releases underway, so we can deliver it to our fans who are just so so supportive, which is gorgeous. To receive love from people who enjoy your music.

From the fans segment:

What are your thoughts on shutting down independent venues with little to no support from the government? Aaron. 19. Newcastle.

Yeah, I think this is a really important thing to discuss. It's just not on really, especially during this time. COVID 19, is going to bring around so many shutdowns of of pubs, venues. Everything is going to suffer and we've got to really voice our concerns with like our community basically, that’s the only way we can really build it up, which is kind of why Lady Bird was born. And our thoughts are just use your voice to share your thoughts and opinions and work together with your communities. But I feel like the most important thing to do is to just concentrate on having friendships within those communities because it's through honest and true friendship, that you can share your thoughts and concerns about these things and actually do something about it together.

When we’re on our own, it’s almost like the corporations in the world quite like us to be on our own, I think. But this is no use when we want to keep our music venues open. We want to all be united in that. So let's donate money to them and maintain friendships and share our thoughts and concerns.

Who thought of the band name and why?
Ella. 18. Halifax.

The naming came from my grandma, Jenny. She was, she just is the most awesome person ever. She's no longer here. But when she died, I mean, there's two sides to this, really. But for me, you know when she died and this lady bird appeared on the table where we were as a family, sat in the garden of the hospice that she was in, which is very significant because she would always wear these earrings and this necklace that had ladybirds on. And it just felt like, along with a few other symbolic representations of her life, this was the most prominent one. And it kind of evolved into a new meaning, really, when we're starting this band. Ladybirds are visiting me in all kinds of strange places and then they sort of began to visit the boys. And we like that, that it adds female connotations as well, because we all very matriarchal. We come from very matriarchal families. So it just seemed apt, really. And also because gender is becoming like more complex, thing at last, you know. Because it is it is complex. Everything. Everything's complex, but in a good way, I think. So, yeah, that's where the name came from, Ella.

Who are your favourite up and coming bands/ artists at the moment?
Cerys. 20. Peterborough.

There are lots people to be excited about. I think it comes back to the first question really about independent venues, about supporting your local bands, isn't it? So theyre where the exciting talent is brewing. And to name a few and Nokia, who were on tour with us. I feel that Scowl, who are a local band to us, are worth shouting about. I got great energy and setting a good example to the rest of the local crew in our in our constituency. Smile is another band I'm working with and been sort of working up towards doing music with them. You know, more in sort of playing a supportive role in their creativity towards releasing music. I'd like to produce them and I'd like to produce scowl as well.

I mean, I listen to a lot of old music. I like bird shoes. They were fucking awesome, man. You know, I wouldn't want to shout them out. And lots of the bands that to support us on on tour is just so many bands that are like excited, and Smile is a good example of this, bands that are so excited to be alive because I feel that punk music is more relevant than ever as a result of our friends.
You know, Slaves, the Idles crew who've brought guitar music back into the into the world to make it an option for young people growing up. So thank you, Cerys, for that one. Yeah, there's a lot of incredible music going on, isn't there? It's hard to keep up.

What do you think musicians should be doing to help the music world within this pandemic?
Tilly. 17. Portsmouth.

Well, Tilly, that is a great question because we have an opportunity to create art tenfold during this pandemic. But as artists in general, we should be voicing our concerns for the changing world, evolving world. And one thing I know through the statistics is that that whilst we've been isolating, we've been giving the planet a well needed rest. And nature is producing life that has otherwise been decreasing a lot. And it's just in the time of spring, you know, and so the restrictions put in place by our use of chemicals, destructive chemicals, whether it's car exhaust fumes or, you know, production of pesticides. You know, it's all been quite a lot. It's been quite impacted by the virus, and so nature had a bit of time to grow.  It's important to really celebrate that as artists through our work and through our conversations with other people. But also we need to be aware that there are like other threats to our planet, you know, to life in general. That's what art is for, for raising awareness and then supporting causes, working to counteract the negativity that threatens life itself. And I think that there are some really good conversations going on about 5G at the moment and the implications caused by the change in radio frequencies that are going to be widely transmitting energy across the world. So I think these are all really important things to discuss, aren't they, and how that's going to affect us and other forms of life. So we just got to take action. You know, goes back to that first question, about really fostering trust and friendship with people that we work with and the people in our communities so that we can have these real conversations and make causes together as unified citizens, members of society.

If you could change anything about the music industry what would it be?
Aidan. 20. Norwich.

I don't know about change. I think maybe I need to do some more research before I make any sweeping statements. But I think that I would change the structure of the consumer of how we consume music. The Internet has changed the way people listen to music dramatically and people would buy a million records back in the days of Vinyls and they'd have to go to their shop and they would have to talk to people in order to find out what's cool and what's not, and what they might like through their friendships, and then they'd go buy it with faith in the product itself and enjoy the artwork on the sleeve and consume, immerse themselves really in the consumption of that product. But nowadays, it's very throw away and it's very saturated by information, and algorithms are having a role in sort of controlling what we listen to next, which can be a really good thing, actually. But also, I think that in a more like in a wider narrative, we'll have the ability to control the direction of music itself.

That's been happening since the seventies, since before computery. But I think what I’d like to change is the reasons why, or platforms that we listen to music. Because it's a powerful, powerful resource, isn't it? That's why it's so monopolized. But thank you, that's a bloody good question Aidan.

Any messages to your fans?

I never knew it’d be like this, going on tour and getting to know individuals, people who come and see you from far and wide, they’re so cool, the people that you meet are devoted. I’m eternally grateful for all of them, all of you, I’m speaking to you all. I’m looking forward to sharing our new music and looking forward to coming and performing it for you very soon.

The band's WWW.TOUR has been rescheduled for later this year.

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'til next time...

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