Lucky Soul are Londons best or worst kept secret depending on who you are. The Greenwich six-piece put out their releases on their very own Ruffa Lane label, played the first event at the O2 arena and continue to perform countless stand-alone shows at the capitals most exclusive venues.
The band are in the new studio over the winter period recording a follow-up to debut effort The Great Unwanted. Guitarist and mainman Andrew Laidlaw promises a classic moody second album gritty, more intense and focused but still assures us therell be plenty of pop songs. If new opener Up In Flames is anything to go by then were in for a proper treat.
CD: 'My Brittle Heart' and 'Lips Are Unhappy' are perfect examples of bittersweet pop - songs that you listen to if youve been dumped and before you have a night on the town. What are the key things you look for in a song? How do the majority of LS's songs come about?
AL: Well that was always the idea. I think if you ask anyone what their
favourite song is; it's probably got a miserable undercurrent! Everybody
gets down so if your song connects with someone that way and make them
dance at the same time you're on to a winner. (hums Ultravox). I could
go on about emotional axis of melody chord structure but don't want
to be a muso bore so I'll just say it's got to have SOUL and that covers
most bases. It must also have a great melody, avoid cliché and
CD: Which is your personal Lucky Soul song?
AL: Hmm, which one of your children do you like the best? At the moment it's 'Woah Billy' but you won't have heard that yet so let's go for 'Baby Im Broke' because people go quiet when we play it.
CD: Who are Lucky Soul's key influences? How would you say the sound of the songs written for the second album differ from those on The Great Unwanted?
AL: The Holy Trinity of Stax / Smiths / Stones is a good start. I'd say the new songs are generally more gritty, intense and focused. Lyrically it's darker and as a band we've grown a few muscles, we're really on the money. There's still plenty of pop songs though, just a bit more edge... Classic moody second album!
CD: Who are your heroes, musically and otherwise?
AL: Today it's Burt Bacharach, Butch Cassidy, Edgar 'Jones' Jones, Mavis Staples, James Jamerson, Daniel Johnston, Nile Rodgers, Modigliani, Sylvia Plath, Murray Hewitt, James 'Good Times' Slater and Fernando Torres. Oh and Batman.
CD: I believe yourself and Nat formed the band after moving down to London from Liverpool? How long ago was this and what was the inspiration behind the idea of setting up Ruffa Lane?
AL: Well Ruffa Lane was set up by me and my friend and entrepreneur
Nick Woodhead back when LS was embryonic. We knew we had something good
but weren't quite sure what to do with it so we approached my old drummer
Nathaniel who was then working at an evil major label to help out with
CD: In a time where there are arguably no truly 'independent' bands left in the mainstream, would you say that releasing your own records is the way forward for bands?
AL: I think in these dark financial times, it's fast becoming a necessity.
CD: Do you feel an affinity with any other modern bands? For example Camera Obscura, Napoleon, The Loves?
AL: Napoleon are brilliant and very good friends and label from Sweden, you'll be hearing a lot from them next year and they believe too, brother but we operate in our own space as far as I'm concerned, I've spent too long as an outsider to change that.
CD: I remember you introducing The GreatUnwanted in Cardiff as "being both of those things" - do you feel that you perhaps don't receive the recognition you deserve in this country?
AL: Yeah, but talent and graft will out.
CD: What was the best show you can remember playing and going to as a punter?
AL: My favourite gig is probably The Flaming Lips at T in the Park
circa The Soft Bulletin: all the excitement of what would later become
the massive stage show but without the budget and with more urgency.
Really spell binding. I saw them at the Albert Hall a couple of years
back and it was
AL: We go into the studio in December so I'd better finish writing pretty sharpish. The big comeback single should be out in February and it will be unarguably fantastic.
CD: What are Lucky Soul's plans for 2009? Will you tour at all or just continue to play fewer, but more select gigs?
AL: Well, we'll have an album to promote so I'm expecting to be everywhere. I'd like us to get a bit further round the UK this time and back to The States again and we've not been to France yet, or South America. In fact there's many countries that I'd dearly love to visit, including Yorkshire.
CD: Finally, what's the name of the song you've been starting recent shows with? Bit of a Motown stomper with the chorus line "what you gonna do when it all goes up in flames?" Great tune!
AL: Thanks, it's really fun to play. Predictably it's called "Up
in Flames" but I might add some brackets. Theres not enough
(brackets in pop)
Andrews Top Five of 2008:
Grantura - In Dreams And Other Stories
MGMT - Oracaular Spectacular
Jim Ford - Sounds Of Our Time (Re-Issue)
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Scott Walker - Scott 3