LONESAW announced the release of their LIVE EP at the weekend, Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody was keen to find out more.
It’s been a long time coming, but finally there is recorded music from LONESAW available to buy.
Simply called LONESAW – LIVE, the EP that was released at the weekend is their set from the Kazimier Stockroom on 31 January 2020 – the night the UK left the EU.
It seems the perfect soundtrack for that most appallingly political violent act that would have seen this country plunged into an abyss. Had it not been for another, admittedly, not political, disaster that will see our world changed for many years to come.
We said in the review of the gig that night the band seemed to be exorcising demons. They hadn’t played since the previous October, but the break had done them good.
They appeared sharper and edgier than we had seen them before, which was often. The perfect dementor.
The band’s music is uncompromising and, at times, is a difficult listen. The two saxes from Chris and Jez have raised eyebrows in the past – why would a band need two of them? Ben’s bank of effect machines at the front, taking the central role and the occasional sparse, and then manic drumming from Lisa are all intended to unsettle. And, then there’s the thumping, amp busting, bass from Brad
But there’s something compelling about LONESAW. They aren’t like any other band we can think of, except for MAL, which is hardly surprising, since MAL is an offshoot of LONESAW, comprising much the same personnel, but with a more electronic lean.
But ever since we first saw LONESAW at the Getintothis Deep Cuts 2nd birthday gig in January 2019, we were sold. This dark, industrial, pulsating noise is infectious.
And it was a minor irritation there was nothing available with which to entertain the neighbours. Now there is. Happy days.
The EP shows off the band at their darkest. The set list that night wasn’t taking any prisoners.
It’s been beautifully mastered at Q U A RR Y studio by Jack Wait, who has done a magnificent job. We’ve had some debate here at Getintothis recently about live albums – some love them, others don’t.
This EP is probably pretty obviously a live take, but it avoids the cheese that lots of people hate about live releases. There’s no in between song chat – Ben doesn’t do that anyway. And, maybe, because we’ve never heard any LONESAW recorded material before, we don’t have anything against which to compare it.
Either way, it sounds crisp and measured, yet still retaining the rawness and power that is a LONESAW gig.
If you haven’t seen the band live, then you should rectify that omission as soon as reasonably possible. You will be shocked, entranced and puzzled, all at the same time. But trust us, it will be time well spent.
But enough of our musings, we caught up with the band on Zoom to find out more.
The first thing we notice, after Ben and Chris have signed on, is Lisa taunting us by using a picture of a pub as her Zoom background, as well as the PZYK Fest plastic glass she’s using for rehydration following last night’s Buckfast session.
We ask why the band have taken so long to release recorded music. There is studio material in the can, explains Ben, but the band aren’t happy with it. They’re working on a video, but, clearly at the moment, finishing and releasing that is tricky.
However, Ben says the band listened back to the mixing desk tape of what we are now calling “The Brexit Gig” and decided it was good enough to put out. “Almost as a primer to a studio release” says Chris.
In the light of uncertainty about gig spaces, we ask about Q U A RR Y – the venue they opened in the North Docks, just before everything went pear shaped. The band don’t expect it to be open as a gig space anytime soon, but there are hopes it can be used as a rehearsal space and a recording studio in the not too distant future.
For now, Network Rail, who own the building, are being reasonable and not demanding rent is paid. For once, we have an optimistic outlook about a Liverpool venue.
That said, Chris doesn’t see any gigs going on there much before the end of the year. That’s what’s going to hold the venture back “when everyone starts pissing in the same bathroom and sharing drinks”. But they are confident the venue is secure, at least at the moment.
We’re discussing the current situation, the fact that nobody really knows what’s going to happen when the Getintothis mic goes bandit with a mass of feedback – “Sounds like one of our tracks” says Brad.
The band had gigs lined up and there are plans being mooted for later in the year. But, cold feet mean there’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty. Even if gigs happen, we wonder whether the people will come – after all who wants to mix with a room full of sweaty gig goers any time soon?
Lisa says it’s annoying the band can’t even play together at the moment. Ben describes the prospect as stress relief. “It would be good to go fucking nuts” he says. Lisa agrees, but resigns herself to baking bread and breeding yoghurt for the next 6 months. It’s not quite the same as hitting drums, though.
We go back to the subject of the LIVE EP. It was taken straight from the mixing desk, with just left and right outputs. The band are really happy with it, as well they should be – Getintothis thinks it kicks ass. They feel there’s a lot of energy going on. Chris says it captures the live vibe pretty well.
We raise the thorny issue of the love / hate debate about live releases. Clearly, having put out a live recording, we kind of know the answer to the question. But it seems fair to get the band’s take on the subject.
Ben accepts it’s unusual for a band to release live material before any studio output. But they just “wanted to get something out”. And this was a great gig that the band feel was worth putting out there. We can’t argue with that.
Chris explains LONESAW have struggled with studio recordings, trying to get the live sound replicated in a studio has proved tricky. Previous attempts have “sounded too clean”. This EP has the energy and grit of the live shows. “There’s more going on with the live stuff than there is with the studio recordings”, says Brad.
Chris reminds Brad that he can’t break amps in a studio, whereas he’s fried at least three on stage. “I think we play better when we’re not completely rehearsed”, says Chris, “There’s a kind of sweet spot and that’s when exciting things happen”.
That seems a fitting place to end up. It was good to see faces, even on a laptop screen. We ask if there’s anything else the band want to tell us. “Just make us sound good”, says Ben.
That’s the easy bit. LONESAW are the perfect soundtrack for 2020.
The EP is out now on Bandcamp on a pay what you like basis. There are plans to have a physical release later in the year.