Touring while six months pregnant? Making a distorter mic out of a moisturising pot? Cath Aubergine has a look into the wonderful and surreal world of The Lovely Eggs.
“I had never even heard of this band until 10 minutes ago, but I love them already.”
“Is this band a joke, how can anybody with more than one brain cell take this seriously?”
“This might be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and heard.”
“Why is this under the category of “music”?…it’s shit!”
Admittedly not the most scientific research ever conducted, but for a 21st century take on the vox pop, Youtube comments (and yes, all of the above are genuine) are a good place to start. Punk and indie have given us, over the years, some of the greatest music ever made – along with an endless conveyor belt of identikit third division bands you’ve almost forgotten before their set finishes. The Lovely Eggs are definitely not one of these bands. Mixing up riotous punk rock with friendly DIY indie, shout-along choruses with rich streams of consciousness, philosophy and surrealism with cider and swearing it’s probably fair to say that once you’ve seen them you’ll never forget them.
I’m not going to pretend I drove up to Lancaster to talk to them. I would have loved to but the weather was terrible and anyway, as we’re going to find out in a bit, they’re probably quite busy at the moment. There’s something kind of fitting about sending off some questions and getting some answers back, anyway – if you like you can pretend I wrote them on my best coloured notepaper and posted them off with a hopeful stamped addressed envelope and they sent back some answers with a badge and a picture. Actually I wish I’d thought of this at the time. Because while their music itself is as about as individual as it comes, there’s something about their spirit that harks back to the days when Indie didn’t just mean any old music with a guitar on it. For best results, print out and photocopy a couple of times til it goes a bit blurry down one side…
OK, can we start with a little introduction? Say you’re meeting someone who loves music but has somehow managed to never cross your path, who are you and what do you do?
We are The Lovely Eggs. There are two of us – David and Holly – a drum kit, a guitar and a Big Muff. Think that just about sums us up.
You’ve both been in other bands with more people in, are there any major advantages or disadvantages to being just the two of you?
There are lot of advantages to it being just the two of us. Like we can do what the fuck we want and there are very few arguments. We can just decide what gigs to do and when to go on tour and what our records should sound like. It gives us freedom really. Sometimes with bands with loads of members everyone has an opinion and this can lead to arguments and bloody headaches. It’s a case of too many cooks spoil the broth and luckily fer us there’s only two chefs in our kitchen and we’re only cooking cheese on toast anyway so who gives a fuck!
I’ve always had this vision of you unpacking the shopping or something mundane that people do like that and suddenly realising you’ve got a great idea for a song and having to stop immediately and go and develop it, is this anywhere close to reality?
Yes that is very close to reality. We write songs at home all the time and yeah we do a lot of mundane shit! We kind of find beauty in the mundane though.
What about the limitations of a two-piece (if any), do you ever think something like “I wish we had a bassist on this track”?
Not really. If we did want bass on a recorded track we’d just put it on there. Obviously we wouldn’t be able to re-create the song exactly live, but our live gigs are kind of raucous anyway. People know to expect a punk rock stripped back sound when we play live. We don’t like to have rules in our band. That’s why some of our songs are five minutes long and some are five seconds. We never like to be held back by anything which is why we would never say no to putting a bass on a track.
I like the fact that you actually cover a massive range of musical styles, even someone who didn’t like it could never accuse all your songs of sounding the same. Do you usually have an idea where something is going or do you just see what happens?
Well songs just form themselves you know but yeah we don’t want to trap ourselves by sticking to a certain style or genre. It’s just what comes out. It’s always best to just see what happens. Bukowski always said if you think about what you are doing, you’re dead in the water. And he’s right. We just like to go with the flow.
You’ve collaborated with some famous names, there was Gruff Rhys producing and most recently Tijinder Singh remixing “Food”, did you ask them or did they find you?
With Gruff we got in touch with him. We had heard he was into our stuff and we had this song (“Allergies”) that was really 60’s inspired. It was actually about the life of Bob Markley from The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band which is one of our favourite bands. We had wanted to work with someone else for ages as it was getting lonely just us two in the studio so we asked Gruff if he’d be into producing it. Turns out he was also a big fan of TWCPAEB so it was perfect. He came up to Lancaster and we recorded it at Lancaster Musicians Co-op (where we record all our stuff) and we just had a great couple of days. With the Cornershop remix, Tjinder got in touch with us about doing the remix. We’d been in touch for a bit over email since hearing his track Milkin It on Marc Riley. He offered to do the remix and of course was ace for him to do it. Although he did it remotely in London. We didn’t go into the studio together or anything.
Who would you most like to work with if you could?
There are loads of people we’d love to do stuff with. It would just depend on whatever we came up with. But it goes without saying we’d love to work with absolutely anybody out of Sonic Youth.
Supporting Shonen Knife must have been brilliant, what were they like?
We’ve actually played with them a few times now. They are lovely girls. And they put on a great live show.
I tend to find, even among my friends that like the same sorts of bands I do, that you really divide opinion with some dismissing you as a “comedy band”, which is clearly bollocks, but do you get a lot of that?
Yeah we get some of that. There are people who ‘get’ our band and others that just can’t get it. And we can’t really do much about that, you either get it or you don’t. It’s like a guy came up to David recently and said “I read Trout Fishing in America on your recommendation and it was shit, it was just about a man who went to a river and then went fishing and then came home and then went back to the river…” and it’s just a case of “look, you either get it or you don’t.” If you think Trout Fishing in America is about fishing, maybe you should consider trying Dan Brown…
Holly you must have been still at school when you were playing with Angelica, what are your abiding memories of that time?
Can’t remember a lot of it cos it was so long ago and a lot of it has been lost under a Strongbow cloud and yeah I was still at school. Have a lot of happy memories but it also gave me a very negative impression of the music ‘industry’. We also had no fucking clue about what was going on with our own band. A lot of people were running things for us and we just accepted it and got pissed. It’s affected me deeply actually and has had a big impact on the type of band I’m in now, what I want from music and how I treat people.
Did you encounter a lot of sexism or was that never really an issue?
Can’t remember really. Probably had a few shouts of get yer tits out. But I think that being girls worked in our favour really. I think ‘the industry’ still see it as a novelty having 4 teenage girls in a band playing punk rock. Pathetic really. But sadly true.
I think the first Lovely Eggs song I really loved was “Why Don’t You Like Me”, and I still think there aren’t enough girls making music, which I’ve never understood cos when I was 8 and started going to after-school guitar club (you know, being taught to strum “Mull Of Kintyre” and shit by some hippy teacher) it was nearly all girls. Any thoughts on that?
No there aren’t enough girls playing in bands. And I have no idea why. It’s a cliche but it’s probably due to a lack of mainstream role models. I grew up through the Riot Grrrl and Grunge scene when there were loads of all girl bands about to inspire me to pick up the guitar. Nowadays it seems a much more sanitised scene. Everything’s so fucking middle of the road you want to pull your own teeth out! And a lot of girls in mainstream music seem to be doing pop, so just miming away and doing ridiculous dances. So I suppose for a lot of girls they’re not getting the inspiration they need to form a real band. A lot of kids nowadays are also taught music at school, which I’m very skeptical of. For me you can’t be taught music, you want to have to do it. Punk rock isn’t a style of music – it’s an approach to life.
David, I believe you are quite handy with inventing and making stuff. I remember an electric kazoo at one gig. Have you invented anything good recently?
My latest thing is a distorted microphone made out of an old telephone and a moisturising pot.
So you’re based in Lancaster, which isn’t really a place most people associate with a music scene of any sort, but what’s it really like?
We love living in Lancaster. It is our home and where are family is. Like we said before, we find beauty in the mundane so Lancaster is the perfect place to live for us. It allows us to develop an original sound because we’re not being influenced by a hundred million bands, like you might be if you lived in a bigger city. If you want to visit, there is a castle, lots of witches and pound shops. PS Don’t forget Morecambe, Lancaster’s next door neighbour and where David’s mum lives.
I’ve seen David playing with 3D Tanx, how does that fit around Lovely Eggs’ seemingly quite busy schedule?
I’m not playing with 3D Tanx much at the moment cos The Lovely Eggs have been so busy. They actually have 2 other guitarists now so they have been doing a lot without me for the last year. Really love playing with them though when I get time.
Anyone else good up there we should know about?
People are doing stuff all the time in Lancaster. There’s some really great stuff going on – both bands and promoters, artists, poets, video makers etc. Unfortunately we miss a lot of it though cos we’re away on tour so much. You would be surprised about what goes on in Lancaster. A lot of bands come up from Manchester and Leeds and there are some good people putting on interesting nights up here. So you know!
Also, we couldn’t help noticing when you played The Roadhouse – touring while pregnant, are you mad?
Yes I am mad. And I loved every one of them gigs on that tour! You can’t keep a good punk rock girl down (even if she was nearly 6 months pregnant!) The only thing I missed was the Strongbow.
So what about the future then, that’s going to make touring a bit difficult surely…
Nope! First thing we did when we found out we were having a baby is put some extra seats in our van! We’re booking summer festivals at the moment and hopefully touring again in the autumn. You’ve got to get your head round the fact that we’re not like most other bands. We don’t give a fuck. We’re having fun, we’re having a baby and we’re not being told what we can and can’t do! Welcome to our world and see you on tour!
Thanks… we can’t wait!