Following the release of their latest electrifying track, ‘Are We Having any Fun Yet?’, we had a chat with the exciting group behind the thudding bass-lines and surreal visuals.
How has lockdown been for you all? Has it been hard collaborating on new material?
It’s not been too bad! It kinda feels unnatural just sitting inside, especially when we’ve been on the road for so long but it’s also kinda nice to sit and reflect on demo’s and the musical direction we’re aiming for. It has been hard but we’ve managed to make it work okay, we’ve used this time very proactively and have so many tracks in the works.
A lot of weight is often given to bands’ home towns; how much do you think Manchester culture has affected your music?
I think Manchester has been such an important place to our growth as it’s where we really cut our teeth as musicians, especially in a live setting. It’s got such a rich music scene and is full of venues with such a special heritage which allowed us to play most weekends in the early days. I don’t think we’ve ever identified ourselves as a ‘Manchester band’ though. There are so many bands who are just trying to emulate that ‘Manchester’ sound and I think it’s quite damaging to indie music really as it stops the genre from growing and evolving. The culture in Manchester though is so diverse and vibrant that it’s impossible for it not to affect the music, especially in a lyrical sense.
We’re at the stage where all roads lead to the debut album so we’re in a very specific headspace right now.
How did you find the reception of the EP?
It’s been absolute madness. Between the EP and AWHAFY? I think we’ve been releasing our strongest material yet and the songs we’re writing are even better. We’re kinda at the stage where all roads lead to the debut album so we’re in a very specific headspace right now.
I really love the pauses and vocal layers in ‘Are We Having Any Fun Yet’; would you say your production style has changed recently?
Our production style has definitely changed. I think we’re always getting closer to what we want to sound like so therefore are constantly changing things up when it comes to production. We’d been listening to loads of Bon Iver at the time and Josh especially wanted to use more vocal effects on that track.
Could you talk us through the story behind the new track?
The track was started in a writing session in London with Dan Nigro. As Josh was on the tube there was a couple arguing in front of him and they had to stop arguing for a few seconds while the train screeched to a stop which is where that opening line comes from. It was kinda half finished in that session and we opened our set with that half finished version for a few months (the version on our live album). We finished recording it in LA last summer and I think LA really affected the sound of the track and has influenced our sounds since.
It’s very cynical lyrically; are you equally cynical as people?
I don’t think so, I think that we live in a time when it’s very easy to be cynical. I think there’s a hell of a lot of negativity and straight up wrong situations going on at the minute, humanity seems to have taken a bit of a step back. But I wouldn’t describe ourselves as cynics rather than realists. We’re still very positive people, we’re best mates and we feel incredibly privileged to do this job but feel that we should use our platform to express ourselves as honestly as possible.
You’ve mentioned you’re into fashion design; how much does your image as a band matter to you?
We’re all so individual and I think that’s what makes us so strong as a unit. We all have styles that we like and strive for, no-one’s forced to wear something that they don’t feel great in and all of us love to emphasise and champion each other’s individuality. Our clothing brand ‘Animals in costume’ seeks to emphasise that individuality further as a band because we see so many others selling low quality merchandise that doesn’t necessarily represent the band at all and seems to be just an afterthought and we wanted to do something completely different. All our merchandise is ethically sourced and eco-friendly.
Things need changing right now and if we can be a small part of making that change then amazing.
You hit an actual person with a car! Is the magnitude of the new video something you’re particularly proud of?
That video is such a proud moment for us. It was a mammoth shoot, especially for Josh (who absolutely nailed it considering his last acting gig was Danny Zuko in a year 10 production of Grease). The video was a complete step up and completely different to anything we’d done before but we wanted something to match up the calibre of the track and felt like it deserved something cinematic.
‘No music on a dead planet’ is referenced in the video; do you feel a duty to get behind such political causes?
I think that we feel a duty to use our platform to express ourselves as honestly as possible and if that means getting behind political causes then I guess so! Things need changing right now and if we can be a small part of making that change then amazing. We’re not ones to shy away from speaking our mind because someone might disagree and although we probably wouldn’t put ourselves in the bracket of ‘political band’, we are a group of four people who are affected by these things just as much as everyone else.
Do you have a favourite gig or tour memory?
We played in Canada in march (just before our entire US tour got cancelled-_-) and after the show went to this weird little karaoke bar and things got weird, ending in Joe and Henry belting out Gold by Spandau Ballet.
Larkins are undoubtedly carving out a bold, endlessly creative space for themselves among stagnating indie-pop, and we can’t wait to see what post-lockdown life brings for their euphoric tunes. You can stream ‘Are We Having Any Fun Yet?’ right now, and catch them at one of the UK tour dates below.
UK TOUR DATES
1.12.20 – Manchester, Academy 2
3.12.20 – Liverpool, O2 Academy 2
5.12.20 – Glasgow, Stereo
7.12.20 – Bristol, Thekla
8.12.20 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
9.12.20 – Birmingham, Castle & Falcon
10.12.20 – Leeds, Brudenell Community Room
11.12.20 – London, Heaven