Interview: Lucky Soul

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If you don’t know about Lucky Soul you need to catch-up.  The Mowtown influenced band have been busy finishing off the highly anticipated follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut, The Great Unwanted.  Last week they took time out of the studio to perform the 1st of two shows with The Pipettes at the Lexington (a night called Technicolour).  We caught up with Andrew (song-writer) and Ali (lead singer) prior to the show to talk about the new album, transgender song writing and D-I-S-C-O!

So what can expect from the new album?

Andrew: Something definitely more powerful and forceful.

Ali: It’s also less obviously retro this time.  We’ve grown as a band together and we’ve got lots of different influences.  It’s still a lot of 60s Mowtown stuff but we got something more punchy in there.  Got a bit of disco, and all sorts really.

How did you go about approaching the second album, coming at if from a different angle, was it hard to get started?

Andrew: Not really because we had a feel for it and the songs just come along.  We didn’t set out to write a different kind of song really we just wanted them to be a lot better.

Ali: Yeah, it’s not a conscious decision, it evolved naturally.

Is it more about how the band has grown?

Andrew: Yeah.  The last album we did it a strange backwards way, I mean we were in the studio before we’d even gigged and I think that showed a bit.  This time there was definitely an effort to make the songs work as a live band first before all the millions of other stuff gets rammed in.

Do you think there is a lot more pressure on you this time after such a good debut album?

Ali: There is a bit. I think last time our press was amazing,  so it’s going to be interesting what the press say this time, because I don’t think it’s actually possible to top what we did, it was just mind-blowingly good.  Having said that, we didn’t get the radio play or the live gigs we could have so hopefully this time round it’ll be the whole shebang.

Do you think that is a struggle coming from an independent record label you set up yourselves [Ruffa Lane] to get the radio play and exposure?

Andrew: It’s difficult [because] there are only a few slots available on playlists and stuff, you’re always fighting against the major labels…

Ali: It’s a bit of a double edged sword though because yeah it’s really difficult and obviously money is a big issue, but on the other hand people seem to know and love us for the fact we’ve got our own label.  People seem to really appreciate that, that we are proper DIY and we have done it from the start.

Andrew: Yeah, and that’s a really nice feeling sometimes to know that it’s all your own hard work

Andrew you do the songwriting for the band.  When writing for Ali does it feel a bit strange writing as a girl?

[laughs] No, No, No it’s really liberating cos I can say stuff I’d be embarrassed to say and sing myself.

So Ali how do you feel about singing his songs, do you take them make them your own or have you both mused into one thing now?

Yeah we have, we do a lot of mindreading now. I mean when I first started working with Andrew a lot of his melodies were completely alien to me, stuff that I wouldn’t naturally sing.  Now I think we’ve all as a band grown up together. It is second nature now but that doesn’t me I don’t embellish and do my own things a little bit.  You have to put your own stamp on it I think… a bit at least.

When I’ve spoke to other songwriters, a lot of them see music and therapy do you get that when you’re writing as a member of the opposite sex?

Andrew: Depends when I’m wearing the dress or not…  That’s interesting, I don’t know.  [Songwrtiting] is something I have to do, and I feel really miserable when I’m not doing it.  The act of [songwriting] is therapy enough really.  I don’t feel that I have to resolve a load of issues or anything you know. Obviously stuff I feel strongly about and stuff that has happened to me comes out in the lyrics but its not that I had to get stuff out there.  Just doing it [is therapeutic] because if I don’t its terrible.

Ali, do you get anything out singing the songs, is it a nice release?

Ali: Just singing itself is the best.  It’s absolutely the best when you can get to a level when you go onstage and you’re not nervous anymore.  That energy is the best feeling in the world.

Do you guys still get nervous?

Ali: I do if it’s something weird.  I get more nervous on the radio than I do if it’s live, I suppose we’re less used to that, radio sessions and things.  Live I don’t really get nervous any more… unless we’re under-rehearsed…

Andrew: Which never happens…  I was thinking about our first gig the other day, I remember for about two hours before I had to just walk and walk and walk around the block, I just thought I was gonna throw up at any moment.  Now it’s kind of fine really.

Are there any venues that you guys would like to play and what have been your favourite venues to play in?

Andrew: I really wanna play in the Scala.  Soon I hope.

Ali: The 100 Club was amazing.

Andrew: That was a good night that.  It’d be nice to do some bigger places

Like the O2…?

Andrew: We’ve done the O2.  We did the warm up night before it opened; it was about 12,000 people… I was nervous before that.

Ali: It was mad, bizarre, bizarre…

Andrew, I hear you’re a disco star in Thailand? [Ali bursts out laughing]

Andrew [over Ali’s laughter]: Well were on the radio in Thailand…

Ali: It was our first big gig abroad and we went to Thailand [still giggling], we hadn’t even released a record yet and they asked us to go to Thailand to gig.  At that time 500 people was a hell of a lot of people because we’d only been playing to like 20 in the pub…

Andrew: It was still one of the most surreal nights of my life.  It was like 30 degree heat, and we’re playing on a roof top.  Thai audiences are cool, but they all sit there totally attentive in the songs just listening really carefully.  Afterwards they applaud like crazy then it just goes instantly silent, just stops dead.

We’d just finished our cover of Killing Moon and it just went silent again.  So I held my arm up in the air and shouted “Disco!”  Everyone was [still] silent apart from the rest of the band who were creasing up.  So yeah, I made a real fool of myself that night I think…

Ali: No you didn’t they loved it.  It wasn’t as bad as when you said, “London…”

Andrew: “London and Bangkok together! [punches the air]”  Yeah, let’s say I shut up for a fair bit after that.

Let’s imagine tomorrow, you get a phone call from Universal, Sony, whichever major label you like and they want to sign you, what would be your response?

Andrew: [Laughing] How much?

It’s a very difficult one.  I mean its great doing it on your own but I want our music to get out there.  I want to go all over the world.  So if the right thing came along I would seriously think about it.  It’s great to do it yourself but I’d rather loads of people got to hear us.

Ali: Ya know, it’s not so much the fairy tale people think it is being signed to a major.  Yeah there’s the money and yeah there’s the budgets but it comes with a hell of a lot of extra, different pressures.  For example, were on Sony in Japan and even dealing with them is very different to dealing with our own thing.

Andrew: Yeah they don’t give you much leeway

Ali: It’s not that magical fairy tale, “yay, we’ve been signed,” it comes with a hell of a lot of different issues I think

So what’s next for you guys?

Andrew: Were just mixing it [the album] at the moment with a guy called Vicktor Van Voot, which is the best name in show business.  Then there’s a single out in autumn and the album out at the start of next year.

The next Technicolour is on Wednesday 25th @ The Lexington

Links

Lucky Soul Myspace Pagehttp://www.myspace.com/luckysoulluckysoul

Technicolour Info – http://bit.ly/15ush0

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