Lonesaw have let their debut studio EP out onto an unsuspecting world. We’re convinced it’s perfect timing. We’re not sure the rest of the world will agree. And not content with that, there’s also a venue and a new record label.
Something a bit like that weird uncle at the wedding of a friend of a friend you don’t know ‘that well’, Lonesaw will get in your face. They will hassle you until you’re worn down and you just need another drink.
After time, you realise their aggression is benign. They just want to be heard, to make a statement. They know they’re not like pretty much anyone else, they go their own way and they do their own thing. The weird uncle’s a decent bloke, but he does take a bit of getting used to.
We’ve got to know them over the last few years and they’re probably one of our favourite Liverpool bands. We’ve compared them with Stockhausen and Einstürzende Neubauten in the past. Not that they’re sonically similar. It’s a question of attitude. Pushing at walls, doing something different, shocking, even.
Nothing about this band is conventional. Drawing on influences from where ever they feel like (well, with some restrictions – see below). A Lonesaw gig is an experience. A friend, who we once persuaded to come along one of their gigs, said to us afterwards: “I never even knew music like this existed“.
Last weekend saw the release of their debut studio EP, Lay in the Salt of the Soil. Previously there was the Live EP – recorded on 31 January 2020 – the night the UK crashed out of the EU. There is no better soundtrack to that shitstorm of a catastrophically bad idea.
December saw the single Barbed Wire Church as a one off. A superbly dark end to that most grim of years with an utterly bleak and unnerving video from Jon Stonehouse to go with it.
We got them on Zoom.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Ben: Well Jez has been making a pure fucking banger. It’s like … I can’t really describe it. It has clarinet in it. A nice 90s clarinet thing. Like Kylie, Primal Scream. It’s heavy as fuck.
Jez: I was putting the clarinet through pitch shifters and stuff, so it sounded like bagpipes. So, I’ve been busy.
P3dro: We can’t wait to hear that, it sounds great!
Brad: I will happily switch from bass to bagpipes. Or a banjo.
Ben: It’s a summer banger. We’ll have to release in, say August. A 1990s vibe. Stone Roses?
Jez: I hate that shit as well. I don’t know how we did it?
Ben: You can’t deny it! It’s got real squelchy synths in it.
Ben: We’re in Costa del Wavertree, mate. In our little studio room.
Brad: I’m at home, staring into the void. As is everyone, to be fair.
Ben: I wish it was something more interesting, but …
Lisa: Where am I? I’m in my flat. This little Princess hasn’t been to bed yet. It is very dingy, isn’t it. Alexa: Change the light to blue. That’s even more dingy. I just look dead. I’ve got no more serotonin to give to anyone. Sorry.
P3dro: So, do we all. But, anyway congratulations on the new EP. That must have come as something of a relief? It’s been a long time in its gestation.
Ben: Yeah, in a way. It’s not a relief, but we did spend a lot of time getting everything together. Rather than it being a couple of tracks, and then another couple of tracks. There have been time constraints, getting studio time. It being safe and stuff like that. That was a part of it. But mainly getting tracks that were strong together.
P3dro: What do you think was the trigger for putting the EP out now?
Ben: Well, we’d got all the tracks together and they sounded good. Some were recorded with Steve Cole at What Studio, which was a really amazing set up and we had them done in a couple of days. The other tracks were done with Jack Wait at QUA RR Y – he has a studio in there as well. We had to work around lockdowns.
Basically, it’s all sitting nice and it’s sounding really good. We think it fully represents the sound we’ve been working on since we started.
P3dro: I think you said last time we spoke you’d been having some problems getting that live sound in the studio. Do you think you’ve managed that now?
Ben: Yeah. Especially with the first track [Yet I Am], it’s meant to sound like there’s someone in the room, with the drum and screaming. It’s meant to be live and personal. In your fucking ears. It’s right in there and draws you in.
With the tracks we recorded with Steve, eg ‘The Leash’, that’s really solid and good. We played that all together and then did overdubs and added stuff later. But we were all in the room together, faced in a circle.
‘Man in a Burning World’ was a slightly different process, because that was written in lockdown, but all the other songs were done live in the studio.
P3dro: There are all sorts of influences coming out of your music, bits of techno, bits of industrial, bits of classical, bits of eastern rhythms and sounds as well. Is there anything that’s out of bounds for you to draw on?
Lisa: Dick rock. AC/DC. A bit of fucking cock rock.
Brad: Everyone has their own influences. Some of us are more into the post punk kind of thing. Personally, I like heavier bands. I hesitate to say ‘Metal’, but I do like a good racket. And, then the end product is a mix of all that.
Chris: I don’t think there’s ever a conscious decision on what we’re trying to create, although I think with ‘Man in a Burning World’, Ben wanted to create a techno banger. But when we are creating things, it seems quite rare for one of to say: “I want this to sound like this artist”, they naturally appear.
Brad: We make them sound like a Lonesaw song, even through a few different genres.
Jez: I think it’s funny when we’re in a room rehearsing and we end up doing, like, psych rock, just because it seems really easy. And then we’re going: “No, we’re not doing that”. So, there is that conscious thing.
Ben: Yeah, there is a fine line between ambient and experimental and then having to tune everything to our sound. Which is what we do and that then stops it from becoming fucking Tame Impala.
Lisa: All the people in the bands that worship The Beatles, then they will always sound like The Beatles. And don’t get me wrong, The Beatles are sick, but we don’t need to do an impersonation [of them].
Ben: Yeah, that’s what I tend to find myself saying when I listen to some contemporary music. It just doesn’t feel right. You’re not doing a good enough job. That may sound harsh, but, we’ve heard this stuff before. I don’t say we’re [completely] absolved from that, because we do have our influences and you can hear them and that’s good. But I do hear some things and think: “That’s so mundane”
P3dro: Do you have any kind of post-pandemic plan for the band?
Ben: We have been talking. And, that’s just talking, about doing some live projections and video that could be synced up to drum machines and stuff like that. So, that would be an idea to make [the gigs] more of an experience, rather than just bands tipping up to play. I my head, I’m thinking of making the live show more a ritual performance. There’d be songs, but we’d create an experience for everyone that would draw people in. And then, maybe work out a whole new set.
So, when we can, and it’s safe, we’ll start getting together and working some fresh material.
Jez: Yeah, we had a few shows booked in and then they just kept getting pushed back, so we’re reluctant to agree to anything or it just becomes a disappointment.
P3dro: What’s the latest with Q U A RR Y?
Ben: Much as it was. Jack’s been building a control room for his studio that’s in there. We keep fine tuning, because we had time to open, but we’d left a lot of things along the way, so there’s been time to sort all of that. But, it’s really hard to say when we’ll be able to open again.
P3dro: The EP is the first release on the SPINE label. What are the plans for that?
Chris: SPINE has actually been around for a couple of years. We wanted to put out a compilation tape of a few artists that had previously played SPINE events, but then with gigging and doing Q U A RR Y it got put on the back burner. But, now that gigs can’t happen, it seemed like the opportune time to do the record label properly.
And, also, to have the autonomy ourselves to put out our own music when we wanted to. Not to have to wait for someone to pick it up. And, we can also offer that opportunity to other people.
Jez: It was a nice way still to be involved with the music scene. Still doing things while we can’t gig.
Ben: It echoes what SPINE was about as a live event show. It gives everyone an opportunity. It started as us putting our own events on, because no one else would. And, anyway, it’s fucking impenetrable to get someone else to release your music. It’s difficult even to get someone to read an email.
There are a lot of people on our level who want physical releases and to get stuff out there. And we will be there to do that.
P3dro: Have you got anyone lined up for further releases?
P3dro: But, you’re not saying?
Ben: We’ll keep that a secret for now.
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album that you think we should be listening to right now.
Chris: Claire Welles’ new album. I’ve been listening to that so much.
Ben: I found a band from the 80s called Tools You Can Trust from Manchester. They have an album called ‘Working & Shopping‘. Post punk, industrial band. They didn’t do loads, but it’s amazing – really jagged. I highly recommend it.
Brad: The new album by The Body. That’s really good.
Lisa: Hamilton: The Musical. The soundtrack.
Jez: My friend Alice Low. There’s an album under the name Low’s Museum. It’s amazing. On a whole other musical level.