Grow up to be Losers? An Interview with We Are Losers

 

The new issue of Lookleft has hit the shelves across Ireland this week so it is about time I posted this interview with We Are Losers from the last issue. Lookleft is available in every Easons north / south & other selected retailers.

It has been a remarkable twelve months for Kildare/Dublin band We Are Losers. What began as a solo-side project of Super Extra Bonus Party guitarist Gavin Elsted writing and recording a few songs in his bedroom has flourished into something much bigger. Barry Healy caught up with front man Gavin Elsted to find out more.

As we began chatting in his kitchen over freshly made coffee, it is abundantly clear he is remarkably humble about the whole affair. There were no grandiose expectations starting out, it was just seen as “a chance to write simple straightforward over the top fuzzy noise pop and this was the music inspiring me at the time and so wanted to try my hand at it”.

Gavin never expected it to get this far explaining “the most I could have hoped for was that someone might have come back to me saying ‘hey, I really like your tunes’. It was a bit scary to be honest because it happened so fast. We put a few tunes online and emailed them around. All of a sudden we landed our first gig at Hard Working Class Heroes which was mental.”

It was around this time We Are Losers blossomed into a four-piece, adding fellow Bonus Partiers Gary Clarke and Stephen Conlan and Bronwyn Murphy-White of Grand Pocket Orchestra. It seems to have been a perfect fit. “After jamming a few times it all fit so quickly” says Gavin, adding “The more involved the three have got the less stressed I am about everything. I find it easy to sit back and let them do their thing. I know what Gary and Steve are going to do from playing in a band with them for years and Bronwyn is such an accomplished musician anyway that I am completely confident in what she brings”.

The band’s sudden rise has really taken Gavin by surprise “there is now way we thought we would get this far so quickly. Within three or four months we had labels interested and had management involved, which has huge benefits. Up and up is the best way to describe how it has been as well as a lot of fun too. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t be doing it”.

One of the many high points so far came in July with the release of their debut double a-side single ‘Sunset Song / Cheerleader’ on Leeds Indie label ‘Dance to the Radio’.

It is a partnership which goes back sometime as Gavin explains. “We’d been friends with ‘Dance to the Radio’ since they put out Super Extra Bonus Party’s ‘Who Are You And What Do You Want’ on a vinyl compilation. I just kept in contact with them and let them know I was doing new stuff. They asked me to send it on to them so I did and they were into it. We were then asked to play ‘Live at Leeds’, they came to see our show and met us afterwards and offered to do something with us. We decided on a single to see how things would go. It has been great so far. They’ve been good to us and they’re looking after us really well.”

Gavin seems equally happy with the response to the band’s debut single adding “it has been pretty good so far. We’ve been getting some good radio play and people seem to be into it. We weren’t expecting anything like that to be honest”.

While on the surface Losers would appear to differ somewhat from his previous work but he is insistent that “even though other members of SEBP will probably kill me for saying this, there was definite pop elements to the Bonus Party tunes. Stuff like ‘Comets’ or ‘Eamonn’ are pop songs. Just because there is electronics or distortion on them doesn’t stop them being pop songs. They are all pop songs with strong melodies and it’s the same with Losers”.

So what of the future for We Are Losers? Well it’s pretty straightforward according to Gavin who is aiming “to gig as much as humanly possible. Try to get down to other places in Ireland apart from Dublin and Galway and write more tunes of course. We’ll see where we’re at after a few months and hopefully we can keep going up and up”.

 We Are Losers – We Vampires

 We Are Losers – Sunset Song

Download: We Are Losers – Cheerleader

Little Roy – ‘Battle for Seattle’

Over the years reggae and ska have long been accustomed with unusual cover versions. Even still, it is a surprise to hear of a aging reggae star hitting the studio to reinterpret ten classic Nirvana tracks.

While many may scoff at the very thought of re-doing what are classic tracks, especially as a reggae album; put those reservations aside and it is harder still not to be surprised by how exceptionally well this works. No doubt down to the talent of both Little Roy and producer Prince Fatty.

Battle for Seattle is not just simply a ‘covers album’, rather a re-imagining classics giving the likes of ‘Polly’, ‘Lithium’ and ‘Heartshaped Box’ and decidedly Jamaican lick of paint. Fresh life is breathe into the songs and most importantly adding his own interpretation too, injecting infectious reggae rhythms and melodic charm, while showing the utmost respect to the originals.

It goes to show that music is simply music; genres can be transcended with skill and talent, after all much of popular music’s roots are firmly rooted in older, styles and genres. Most importantly, this is a fitting tribute to the originals. Of course how much you enjoy this depends on whether or not you like reggae, something I for one don’t have to worry about.

Little Roy – Lithium

Little Roy – Dive

Little Roy – Sliver

Laura Gibson – ‘La Grande’

Oregon songstress Laura Gibson will be releasing her new album La Grande on January 9th through City Slang.

This is her first release since 09’s Beasts of Seasons and while we have to wait a little longer for the album we have the title track, ‘La Grande’, to tide us over till then. It is a seductive song with a galloping pace adding a rather rambling ‘rawhide’ and western frontier feel to it. 

I, for one, can’t wait to hear more in the new yearStream / download ‘La Grande’ below.

Download: Laura Gibson – La Grande

Top 5 new artists of 2011 / Ones to Watch

Photo: John Squires

One of my favourite things about music blogging is the steady stream of new and exciting music that comes my way. You never know what awaits you in your inbox each day or what might be found on another favourite blog. This year has been littered with some really impressive new and emerging artists, bands and acts – too many to be fair so bare with me and I indulge myself in yet another list, this time my top five new / breakthrough artists from 2011.

Gorilla Warfare Tactics

New York trio Gorilla Warfare Tactics broke through this year capturing the imagination of many hip-hop fans with their debut EP, Premier. The EP and subsequent singles saw them embrace the essence of old-school hip-hop, pitting Kid Dilla’s flowing verses with CakeXCrumbs’ old-school soul samples and head-nodding, bouncy beats into smooth feel good hip hop. Original beats and classic street level rap, GWT are one of the most promising hip hop acts I’ve heard in some time.

 Gorilla Warfare Tactics – The Tale of Mr. Street via ClarkWill47

By The Sea

Wirral 6-piece By The Sea come from arguably one of the richest sources of musical talent in the world, Merseyside. Their prodigious talent made itself known through the release of a slew of sublime singles in 2011. Their shimmering heart warming indie-goodness is steeped in 60′s psychedelia, as they channel in very different ways, parts The Byrds, The Coral and Shack with a joyous amalgam of lush breezy harmonies and summertime haziness. With talk of a record in 2012 we could be in for a treat.

 Download: By The Sea – Old Coasts

SertOne

It has been a big year for Portadown-born hip-hop producer SertOne, who’s debut EP The View From Above received widespread and deserved praise this year. It introduced us to his undoubted talent and skillful weaving of an electronic patchwork which combines his obvious hip-hop influences with his own unique qualities and ear for fresh electronic and hip-hop beats and silky samples. His live show impressed me too as did the release free album WIDTSThis guy is destined for a very bright future.

 SertOne – Astro-Bazaar

King Krule

King Krule (formerly known as Zoo Kid) is the moniker of London teenager Archy Marshall, who made quite an impression under both pseudonyms this year. His musical style falls somewhere between that of Billy Bragg and Jamie T. It is melancholic yet warm, assured and always sounds wise beyond his tender age of 17. The King Krule EP was released in November and established this standard. Sounding like a combination of two of my favourite artists, I’m expecting big things for KK in the future.

 King Krule – Portrait In Black & Blue

Moths

It has been a remarkable year for 18 year old Newbridge native Moths, AKA Jack Colleran, who’s chilled electronica sent blogs across the world buzzing with excitement. There’s little else to be written which hasn’t been already said about the guy. His music is as simple as it is slick, it is super chilled, fresh and organic sounding electronic jams. Now signed, the next year is going to very interesting for this very talented young man.

Download: Moths – Jimmy Francis

Introducing: Tennis System

LA’s Tennis System cite an abiding love for Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain as their major musical influences. It is hardly surprising that their sound draws huge comparisons to these and other modern contemporaries too.

Not simply a homage to what has gone before, the foursome carefully add an injection of  their own personality and a mish-mash of flavours to create enthralling reverb-drenched noise-pop. It is relentless, noisy and distorted, but shimmers with warmth and a melodious allure – well worth a moment of your time.

Back in October they released their debut album, Teenagers. You can stream / buy it on Bandcamp.

Tennis System – Hey, We Tried

Tennis System – Arcane

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