Good afternoon! Where do we find Molly Karloff today? (Physically and/or mentally!!)
Hmm, Molly is getting cabin fever and itching to get on a stage somewhere. Those online things just don’t cut it, do they? Physically, we’re all f***ing amazing (of course); Dan likes to look cool as f***, and Jowie is making sure his hair is the same shade of blue as his muff. We know he has a blue muff, because Jon Holmes at BBC Radio Kent officials confirmed it, so it’s now a verifiable fact that should go on the Wikipedia page (when we’re deemed ’special’ enough to have one)! Haha!
You’re described as an alt grunge rock band – does that label work for you guys?
Labels are sh*t aren’t they? That whole ‘who do you sound like’ bollocks kind of annoys me; it assumes that nobody can break out of their box and everything has to be in its place. I hate that kind of shit. I guess we got the ‘label’ because that’s closest thing that anyone could come up with?
When we were starting out, we sent some recordings around our close friends and family asking them to describe what sort of sound they thought we had. We asked them to list up to three other famous (or not so famous) bands that they thought we sounded like, and the hope was we’d get some kind of consensus from everyone. We were expecting some common names to keep cropping up, which would give us something to work with on the band bio for when promoters ask you the same ‘who do you sound like’ question. Problem was, that the band names that came back in our little ‘poll’ were all different and there wasn’t any ‘consensus’ in there. I say ‘problem’ in that describing to a promoter or booking agent what we’re about, when they can’t be arsed to come and see us play, is difficult, but on the other hand it made us suspect that maybe we had our own unique sound.
The ‘unique’ sound, a word I’ll use advisedly because nothing is ever truly ‘unique’, turned out to be something that quite a lot of other people heard, and cropped up in reviews in the press etc. so not being able to quite pigeon hole us, turns out to be a good thing, and it kicks against that whole ‘label’ thing. The music that pops into your head is what gets written…
Who are your biggest influences collectively as a band, and also individually? Anything that might surprise us?
Hmm, that’s a difficult one for me. I honestly don’t think I could name just one big influence! Pretty much everything I listen to influences me, and it’s constantly evolving. I can tell you what I listened to in the past, which all started with a friend playing Van Halen’s first album to me, that started me down the rabbit hole of pretty much every guitar-based band going. I’ve listened to everything from Chris Isaak, Duran Duran through to Sepultura, Slayer and everything in-between. I get bored of the same thing pretty quickly, so I’m always moving onto something different. From a writing perspective, I like a good hooky riff, something that sticks in your head (mainly because it was originally in my head at one point) and with a vocal melody and chorus that does the same.
Chances are, if you think there’s an influence in some song somewhere, you’re probably right! Haha!
Not sure if that would surprise anyone though? Haha!
It’s been a weird time to be in a band, were there any benefits to being forced into a lockdown situation? Perhaps you got some new material nailed down?
It’s always weird being in a band! Haha!
Not really any benefits to be honest. I think we work best as a unit in the rehearsal room, so lockdown didn’t help that. From a new material point of view, we’ve got a shit ton of new stuff to work on as it is, but yeah, that backlog was added to a bit more! Haha!
We tried doing that whole ‘lockdown video’ thing, but it’s actually a major hassle just editing the thing afterwards. Probably should’ve just done a live stream and played any old bollocks, but maybe people don’t wanna see that? I dunno, quite a lot has been delayed for us, which is the same for all bands, and you kind of feel like you’re sitting around just waiting for things to get going again. Looks like it’s gonna be a long wait before ’normal’ returns…
Dancing for Money was extremely well received, how did you approach building momentum towards this year’s Supernaturalation?
With a lot of hype! Haha!
We decided to do things ‘properly’ rather than just kind of throwing some music out there into the public domain and hoping something sticks. The reception of the first EP did kind of make us wonder what could’ve happened if we’d made a proper song and dance about it, kind of promoted it properly, you know? So with the follow-up we decided to do exactly that. Make as much noise as we could and actually build up towards the launch.
We launched our first single, ’She Said’ which we never did with the first EP, and there’s another single and video to come. I guess, with the whole lockdown thing, we haven’t actually finished building that momentum, which carries on after launch. Covid kind of took the wind out of the whole process…
How do you approach the creative process as a band when it comes to songwriting?
I bring my little offerings into rehearsal, and Jowie and Dan decide if they’re shit or not!
That’s actually not far off what actually happens! Most songs pop into my head at various inconvenient times throughout the day (usually in the shower in the morning) and I’m then running around the house trying to find my phone to record what’s in my head on the guitar or even just hum it into the phone if there’s no guitar to hand.
We also have this ‘would you buy it’ rule, where a song only stays if we’d buy it ourselves. The idea is to listen to a rough recording of it the next day, and pretend that you’d heard it on the radio or somewhere. If you heard it from another band, would you ‘buy’ it. If we don’t unanimously agree, it gets thrown away, or maybe just the good parts kept or rewritten or whatever.
We hope that it works. I mean, who wants to hear ‘filler’ songs on a an album or EP? F*** that!
You guys were on tour, supported by the likes of Black Tree Vultures just as Covid-19 was biting – did you manage to complete your run of dates – and do you have plans to tour in 2021?
Nope! I think we only did 2 or 3 dates and that was it. Shitty timing to be honest!
We do plan to actually do the tour we originally planned, including the second tour to cover parts of the UK that weren’t on the first list of dates. When that will happen is anyone’s guess at this point, especially with further lockdowns being put in place as Covid spikes happen. The whole Covid thing is literally fucking the whole music industry, especially the grass-roots and I think something needs to be done to properly protect the venues, but also ensure that it can come back with a bang and actually prosper. The likes of Spotify and others need to look at how much they make from artists and whether that’s a fair reflection of their worth. Lots of things need to change in my opinion, and not just because of this pandemic, things have needed to change for a long time, and the corporate profiteering curtailed so that the people that are actually doing the work get what’s fair. Rant over! Haha!
It’s hard right now to look at what the future of live shows will look like, how far ahead had you planned and are there creative solutions to make sure your audience still have the ability to see you?
We’d planned all the way into 2021 with the release of our debut album and lots of stuff beyond. I guess we’re going to have to grasp the nettle and jump on the live streaming bandwagon. It means people can see us play, but it’s a bit of a downer not to have the audience there in front of you. There’s no interaction. It’s just the band and some cameras in a room, which is fine for a video shoot, but it sucks the life out of a live show.
The audience are an integral part of any live show, so the sooner live shows get back to how they were the better. Maybe all bands should move to New Zealand? Haha!
Something will happen soon, but with typically cryptic evasiveness, I’m going to have to tell you that I’d have to kill you if I told you! Ha! Seriously, we’re just getting back to rehearsing again, so we’re looking at a proper ‘live’ show pretty soon…
Oxford has some very famous musical sons, how is the music scene there currently?
Currently it’s a very socially distanced scene! Haha!
Like a lot of scenes, it not quite as vibrant as it once was I guess. There aren’t as many live venues as there once were, which gives some indication. I think that’s true right across the country though.
We’re hoping to continue that ‘famous sons’ tradition though, if we possible can and pandemic permitting!
Are there any bands you’ve come across recently that we should be checking out?
Haven’t come across any bands since March I don’t think! Not sure why! Haha!
You should check out all the bands that were going to be on our tour of course! Black Tree Vultures, are top blokes! Ryders Creed also kicked arse when we played with them!
We also played with this really cool duo called Whiskey Stain down in London a while back. I think they’re from Nottingham? I should also plug a band that I know many won’t have heard of called Rufus Goodlove. They can only really be found playing the odd live show around Oxfordshire, but remember the name; they’ve got some awesome material!
Are you looking forward to playing HRH ABC this November?
Of course! Duh!
We’re also looking forward to the AOR one too! We’ve got our fingers and toes crossed that there’s no more lockdown shit to fuck it up, and that virus gives it a rest. Any virus whisperers need to have a word!
Thanks for speaking with me today, any final words?
The real enemy arrives in a Limo not a dingy! Unless it’s Molly Karloff arriving in a limo, unless you hate us, then the previous still applies! Haha!