Loa Loa – Interview – 2016

All it took was one listen of their debut single ‘Landslide’ to know I had to find out more about this Brighton band that had come out of absoulte nowhere. Fortunately, they were playing an unofficial opening show for The Great Escape Festival at the Green Door Store, their first headline gig, and they certainly announced themselves to the Brighton music scene – all the festival dignitaries who made it down early couldn’t quite believe the intense feral nature the band had on stage, it was brilliant! Loa Loa released their debut EP IX . V. V. VI on that same week which compliments what their live show is all about. We put some questions to the three piece to find out more about them.

Where did you grow up?
Various arse end of nowhere towns in Cambridge, Bedford and Birmingham.

Do you think where you lived or live now has influenced your music?
Jack: Lived? Absolutely not. It’s an impenetrable fortress of bad taste.

Josh: I guess Brighton has influenced us to be more professional – most bands are shit hot here so it’s in our best interests to try.

What kind of music were you brought up on?
Tom: Rod Stewart and Gerry and the Pacemakers. I know, it wasn’t my fault though.

Jack: There was lots of potential for a punk rock upbringing, but I mainly got Abba.

Josh: Pure riffs thankfully – thanks mum and dad. Lots of Manic Street Preachers!

Can you remember the first album you owned?
Jack: I don't remember the first, but I did listen to a lot of NSYNC's early work.

Tom: I can’t remember the first album but the first single was ‘Rewind’ by Artful Dodger & Craig David – tuuuunne!

Josh: First with my own cash was Elephant by The White Stripes.

What was the first instrument you played?
Tom: First instrument was a black Ibanez bass guitar, it was pretty heinous.

Josh: I technically played violin for like six weeks as a kid – I don’t know if I stopped or was told to stop.

Jack: I played trombone for three years before deciding it wasn't rock’n’roll enough.

What drives you to write music?
Josh: I guess the age old theory of catharsis, distressing and venting – that’s when it goes well. Otherwise it’s endlessly frustrating until something good happens.

How was Loa Loa formed?
Josh: I’d known Jack for a bunch of years and thought he was a shit hot drummer but had never been in a band with him. One day I thought about asking and he said yeah. Tom was kind of a groupie for a while and then we let him play bass.

Is there a story behind the name?
Josh: Nope – provided by an evening of random article searches on Wikipedia. It’s an eye worm, thought it’d be a laugh for people to get grossed out whilst looking for us online.

How would you describe your music?
Josh: A loud, snotty, abrasive party.

What are the band’s main influences?
Josh: We all like quite varied music which sort of all comes together into what we do. I’m probably the least musically open minded person in the band. Just give me anything with guitars that’s a bit wonky and loud – you can’t beat a good pop song as well.

What inspires your lyrics?
Josh: Life has been quite insufferable at times in recent years. A lot of it is reflecting on that and trying to figure out what the hell is going on and what the point of it all is.

How do you approach the writing process?
Josh: I tend to write the songs at home on GarageBand and then take it to the guys when I’m confident something is half decent. Then the guys get to shred all over the track and lay their mark on it. But for the most part I write alone in my room.

Do you prefer writing music or performing live?
Josh: I think we all live for performing live. The writing process is 90% sitting around getting frustrated and telling yourself you’re shit. Playing songs live that you’ve finished and are proud of is kind of a celebratory release.

Tell us a bit about the IX . V . V . VI?
Josh: We had been playing for a little while and hadn’t recorded anything. We wanted to do an EP to kind of give identity to ourselves – to be like ‘so this is what we sound like’. We wanted to incorporate all our influences and be a decent rock band, and to us, I think we’ve achieved that. We met a producer called Sean Genockey who worked tirelessly on the record out of the goodness of his heart – so yeah, definite props to him for that. He gave us that self-belief that we were kind of lacking. I guess the overall theme is me dealing with a deep emotionally traumatic experience.

Are there plans for another release coming soon?
Josh: Should have a single out before the end of the summer and then hopefully start another EP before the year is out.

What has been a musical eye-opener and how has it affected you?
Josh: Me and Tom saw Radiohead a few weeks ago and Jonny Greenwood made an absolute corker of a mistake in a real quiet point in the set. They had to stop and start the song again. Whilst he was probably devastated it was great to know that it was possible for such a musical genius to royally fuck up live. That was a good eye-opener – won’t beat myself up so much the next time I do an absolute clanger live.

What would be your perfect line-up of any three acts for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
Josh: Sex Pistols – 1977 era
Nirvana – 1994 era
Ramones – 1974 era
All on one party boat with our mates.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to Loa Loa?
Josh: How about fictional? I’d go with Frank Sidebottom from the film Frank. In fact, I’d leave this band and play in that band if I could.

What music are you listening to at the moment, any recommendations?
Josh: Big fan of the Weaves record that just came out. It’s self-titled, check it out.

Do you get to go to many gigs?
Josh: Saw Fat White Family at The Brixton Windmill a few weeks back. That was pretty wild – love their shows and felt lucky to see them in such a small venue again. Radiohead at the Roundhouse was also bucket list kind of stuff.

What are your future plans till the end of the year and after?
Josh: Hopefully find the time to write some decent stuff and then work on an EP or potentially an album. If anyone wants to take us on tour get in touch!

Facebook: facebook: facebook.com/LoaLoauk