Interview: The Lovely Eggs
We’re used to tough times, living on no money, trying to get by, dealing with every piece of flying turd when it hits the fan and yeah something like this doesn’t really phase us... but you’ve just got to suck it up, get on with it and see the positive in stuff, which is something that we try to do in our day to day life anyway.
Like a lot of other bands, Lancaster’s day-glo, punk rock sweethearts The Lovely Eggs should be out on tour right now, rattling along the nation’s highways playing their astoundingly fine new record I AM MORON for adoring crowds of half cut malcontents. Obviously, we’ll all have to wait a little while longer for that, but with luck the joy of returning to live music and a couple of months familiarity with the songs will make those gigs incredible. The tour was already half sold out and in the days since doing this interview rave reviews for the record have been stacking up in even the most unlikely of publications so it could be something to look forward to. I had a chat with the band’s Holly Ross about the album, being a moron, and not serving posh coleslaw to Janis Joplin.
(((o))): Hi Holly, how’s lockdown in Eggland?
Holly: It’s good ta. To be honest we’re used to isolation up here so not a right lot has changed for us. Just keeping our heads down and getting on with it. And it’s so nice not to have to see people isn’t it!
(((o))): It is. I didn’t want to dwell on the madness of the current moment too much, because it’s constant and everywhere and I want to talk about the new record, but would you say your years of DIY experience and independence make you better equipped to roll with this or has it put you in a tougher spot?
Holly: Absolutely. We’re used to tough times, living on no money, trying to get by, dealing with every piece of flying turd when it hits the fan and yeah something like this doesn’t really phase us. I mean it’s a total fucking bummer that all record shops will be closed when the new album comes out and that we’ve had to postpone our April tour but you’ve just got to suck it up, get on with it and see the positive in stuff, which is something that we try to do in our day to day life anyway.
(((o))): Last time I spoke to you, you were deep in the fight to save the Lancaster musician’s co-op, which turned out pretty well for your side I believe. You recorded a lot of the album there again, how are things going with that now?
Holly: Well it SEEMED to turn out well at the time. The truth is that over a year on and they still have no long term lease and no repairs have been carried out on the building. That’s the rotten ugly fact. But yeah it’s got its head just above water… for now.
(((o))): Your first single off the new album ‘This Decision’ is a full tilt rager and at first seems to be obviously about the big Brexit decision and surrounding madness of recent years, but there’s more to it than that isn’t there?
Holly: Yeah, it’s more about choice and freewill in general. In a modern democratic society we all think we have the free will to choose what we do in life but with the huge influence of mass media and advertising sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the choices you make are really yours. Then there are some choices that really ARE yours but you’re not allowed to make them or are questioned when you want to make that choice like the new anti abortion laws in America.
(((o))): The album title I AM MORON feels like it might be on the same path, who is the moron? Is it this kind of ‘voice of the people’ mindset or are you aiming it at yourself as well?
Holly: It’s mankind. We’re the hideous virus! We are moron. You are moron. I am moron. And yeah of course it includes us. Everyone ever born throughout the mists of time has the moron gene.
(((o))): On the first song ‘Long Stem Carnations’, what’s behind the line “I am the captain of this ship and I just wanna die all the time“?
Holly: Well, life is a mission innit. Everyone is the pilot of their own ship.
(((o))): ‘Long Stem Carnations’ is a pretty long song by Eggs standards, the main hook sounds like a synth and it has that great two minutes of spacey electronics at the end. That’s longer than some of the other songs on the album. It’s a bold way to start the album and it feels linked in with you working with David Fridmann again. Last time ‘Wiggy Giggy’ sort of grew out of you trying to get him to make that sound for you, and to me it seems like there are more of, what might be seen as ‘his’ sounds, woven into the songs, a lot of subtle layers that you catch on headphones and so on. How has that relationship developed?
Holly: Well, we did most of the sounds even before mixing. We were experimenting with more electronic sounds, so I think it’s a direction we wanted to take. But yeah when you’re wanting to go down that road and Dave is walking down that path with you, he’s a good roadside companion to have. And yeah, he also added his own magic to it too. It was a perfect combination really. When we were mixing the song Dave said to us “you’ll never leave the outro that long”. I mean, we all loved the outro that long but Dave thought that it would get chopped. But when it came to it, we just said fuck it, this is our record, it’s our label, our rules, that fucking outro is STAYING and there it is in its whole glorious entirety and we all love it!
(((o))): Excellent. More practically, how are you going about building this extra stuff into the live set?
Holly: Well, yeah, it’s really important to us for the songs to sound good live so we’ve been working on putting together some sounds and effects to try and translate the album in a live setting.
(((o))): I’ve realised doing this that I’m guilty of the lazy assumption that the singer writes all the lyrics, which obviously isn’t always true. Lovely Eggs is a closer unit than most bands, do you write together or separately or what?
Holly: I do write the majority of the lyrics. David helps out when I get stuck but these days we generally write all the music together and David comes up with a lot of the extra sounds and electronic bits.
(((o))): This time out it seems you’ve taken some different approaches to writing. Would you say that’s true? Or is just the way you’ve always done it, but slightly different results?
Holly: Not really. Same process. Just different result.
(((o))): One of the things I’m talking about is using lists as a lyrical device – ‘You Can Go Now’, ‘I Wanna’, ’24 Eyes’, ‘Insect Repellent’ are all based around lists, (they also seem vaguely linked as different points of view . . .) what’s the drive for that?
Holly: Always been obsessed by lists. It’s like an intense constant train of thought. And I like the directness of that.
(((o))): A real favourite of mine is ‘I Wanna’ and I’m curious about the motivation for it.
Holly: Well, it’s just a rant against greed and constant consumption really. The ridiculousness of things and how greedy people are and how they constantly crave for more. It was triggered by coming across a late night QVC programme where two blokes were trying to sell a platinum watch with a tiny piece of the Berlin Wall inside it for a ridiculous amount of money. It was appalling and hilarious at the same time so that’s what started it.
(((o))): And if you were cooking Janis Joplin her tea, what would she be getting?
Holly: What would I cook Janis for tea? Pie and chips! And a can of Strongbow.
(((o))): Not Luxury coleslaw then. ‘Insect Repellent’ is another one, it seems almost like a mirror of ‘I Wanna’, just spitting disgust at bourgeois nonsense… I can imagine you flicking through a Sunday supplement and rolling your eyes.
Holly: Yes it is! Well noticed! And yeah the “comfortable shoes” thing is straight outta the back of one of those Sunday Supplements. Luxury coleslaw should not even be a thing. The idea of creating a shitty substandard coleslaw for those with no money and then a glorious creamy one for the stinking rich is abhorrent. There should just be…coleslaw. The same for EVERYONE. So, it’s a metaphor really, using everyday items. And an attack on a comfortable middle class affluent lifestyle. The reptiles are the right wing package holiday crew. They need spraying like insects! It’s what they are! Search and destroy!
(((o))): Can we talk about your previously, charmingly, dirty mouth? Your last album ended on ‘Would You Fuck’, and there’s plenty of other examples in your discography ‘Fuck It’ and so on. This album is ‘cleaner’ in that way but has perhaps a more ‘adult’ irritation with the wider world. Is there a desire to have your anger taken more seriously in that or is it a coincidence?
Holly: Pure coincidence. If we wanted to say fuck we would.
(((o))): Fair enough. ‘You’ve Got The Balls’ is just a kind of chant, what’s going on there?
Holly: Everyone has control over their own destiny and real life magic is out there. Having the ball is like having power over shit. Changing from who’s got the ball to you’ve got the ball during it is the transfer of power. Who’s in control? You’re in control!
(((o))): Don’t take this the wrong way, but what are your thoughts on Status Quo? On ‘Bear Pit’ and a few other tracks there’s a boiled down simplicity and driving repetition in the riffs that weirdly reminds me of them.
Holly: We think more Can and Neu! for repetition rather than Quo. But definitely see the heavy side to this and a few others. It just happened so that’s how it was.
(((o))): “The Pigeons eat chicken from the streets that you’re sick in” might be my favourite lyric on the album, It brilliantly packs a lot in. But what is ‘The Digital Hair’?
Holly: The digital hair is the unseen. Like the virtual world which exists in a realm with no form. Same as the hair itching your back that cannot be seen.
(((o))): ‘Still Second Rate’ is the second single which didn’t seem the obvious choice to me, are there a bunch of duck noises in it or what the hell is going on there?
Holly: The duck noises are our representation of the Working Tax Credit hotline. We’ve spent more time on hold to that hotline than any other band on the planet.
(((o))): Do you think you’ve reached the point where a best of/singles album would be an absolute killer collection? Have you considered it? Or are there principled objections to the idea involved in the way you run things?
Holly: Not really considered it. Too busy ploughing on with new stuff. Not sure that at the moment we want to look back… just yet.
(((o))): ‘The Mothership’ is bloody gorgeous, and it feels different to anything you’ve done before, both in the arrangement and the lyric. The parental love in it resonates strongly. I’m not even sure there’s a question here but – I love it. I guess it seems more vulnerable than anything you’ve done before?
Holly: Thanks, I think we have. And we do write a lot of songs like that that just never make it through. This one was a lucky sperm!
(((o))): It seems linked to ‘New Dawn’, which I also think is wonderful. I’m slightly nervous about finding out it has some very ordinary beginning because it just flows beautifully which perfectly matches the zen feel of the lyrics. It feels like it might be built of loops. And then it ends up with wiping dog shit off your shoes in the kitchen. Can you tell me about this song without breaking its spell?
Holly: Well you really seem to have picked up on something because we really do feel like this song came about by magic. It’s just a very repetitious track. And yeah we did loop some of it and mess around with its form. David said just try and sing along to it and all of a sudden all these lyrics were flowing out and they didn’t really seem like they were coming from me but through me. It seemed like an ancient gateway that was being opened. And a great and rare experience.
(((o))): So you’ve had to push the tour back to July, meanwhile stuff I was planning to go to is still being cancelled for July, so how shit is it? Are you worried you’ll have rebook the tour again?
Holly: Well shit went very wrong for a while and the July tour is always in the back of our minds but we’re not really worried. We’re used to shit hitting the fan and dealing with it so if it happens it will just be the same again and we’ll deal with it. The gigs won’t be cancelled though. We’ll just push them back to later in the year. Who knows. We need a crystal ball. Everyone needs a crystal ball! We’ve also rescheduled our Irish dates to September and are coming back to Heaven in London on Oct 23 and The Ritz in Manchester on Oct 30 for the biggest gigs we’ve ever done.
The Lovely Eggs’ rescheduled tour kicks off in Newcastle on 16 July, new dates are . . .
Thurs July 16: The Cluny, Newcastle
Fri July 17: Gorilla, Manchester SOLD OUT
Sat July 18: The Brudenell, Leeds SOLD OUT
Sun July 19: Castle and Falcon, Birmingham SOLD OUT
Mon July 20: The Portland Arms, Cambridge SOLD OUT
Tues July 21: Komedia, Brighton SOLD OUT
Weds July 22: The Loft, Southampton
Thurs July 23: The Fleece, Bristol SOLD OUT
Fri July 24: The Garage, London SOLD OUT
Sat July 25: The Bullingdon, Oxford
Weds, July 29: Mash House, Edinburgh
Thurs, July 30: CCA, Glasgow
Sat, Aug 8: Network, Sheffield
Fri Oct 23: Heaven, London
Fri Oct 30: The Ritz, Manchester