The Lovely Eggs are doing what they love, and doing it for themselves

A few weeks before the release of their album I Am Moron the surreal-psych punk rock duo The Lovely Eggs welcomed our writer Louis into the wonderful world of Eggland.

Where are you and what are you up to right now?

Holly: Well, we are in our kitchen at home, we’ve just had a shitload of t-shirts delivered, so our house is being taken over by records and t-shirts. We are just trying to sort it all out.

So you are working around the boxes?

H: Yeah it’s one of the pleasures of being in a DIY band is that your entire life at home is taken over by records.

In terms of being a DIY band, everything I read about you is about how you strive for independence – doing it yourself with no manager and no PR, why did you decide to do that when you started?

H: I don’t think we had an option when we started, we didn’t have a queue of record companies queueing up to put records out by us but, we knew we wanted to make records, so we just rolled our sleeves up and got on with it. I think that’s what you do when you really want to do something, you don’t wait around for someone to offer you stuff, you just roll your sleeves up and get on with it. We also like the freedom of being able to do what we want, and a lot of bands on labels really don’t get the freedom, they sacrifie freedom to be on a label and we didn’t really want that.

Do you think that’s helped your writing process over the years you’ve been doing this?

H: I don’t know whether it’s helped our writing process, it’s helped us be able to do a band at a level we want to do. This is our full-time living now, and I think a lot of bands don’t make a living when they could do out of music because the labels take a lot of the money for the promotion stuff – we use it to pay our gas bill. I don’t think it really affects music at all, I think whatever label we are on, or whether we are doing it DIY, it’s just a refreshing approach to have your own way all the time and not be forced into making decisions you don’t want to do, or putting out songs that you don’t want to put out. I think that’s what a lot of bands end up doing.

Have you done that for yourselves or is that a trend that people might follow? Do you care if people follow that trend that you’ve started to set?

David: I think it’s become more trendy now to do that sort of thing or to make yourself look like you’re doing that you know. But for us it’s got nothing to do with it, it’s just down to the reality of it and nothing about what’s happening at the moment.

H: I think a lot of people are doing DIY now as a business model, for economic reasons you know. It’s not about that, being DIY really isn’t a question of economics, it’s more a question of morality, you know like being free and what that means. A lot of the bands nowadays if they are DIY, a lot of them if they were offered massive labels or massive deals with a lot of money would probably take that but the fact is because of digital music and music on the internet, record labels aren’t able to offer massive advances and huge amounts of money anymore, so bands are forced to take a DIY route rather than they actually want to.

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We’ve always chosen our route, we’ve always chosen this, this is what we want to do. It’s not about money or an economic business model. It’s just about the freedom and running up to the hills away from the bullshit which the music industry is riddled with. It’s just about totally running away from bullshit. DIY means different things to different people and some people, because of the digital age, they’re forced into a DIY model because they’d make just as much money if they signed to a label, whereas it’s not about that, it’s more the principle of DIY that’s more important to us than just the financial side of it.

Is there a link between your DIY approach and the reason for announcing some smaller shows and a free show recently?

H: The only thing about the free show really, is because we wanted to do something for the people in Lancaster, where we’re from. We just wanted to treat the hometown fans, so that’s why we are doing that. We just like being cheeky, doing gigs in secret venues and messing about with people. We feel like we can get away with doing that in our hometown because we are from here, we can go “yeah we are gonna do a show and we are not gonna tell you where it is, we are only gonna give away tickets the day before” and all this sort of shit and people will tolerate it a little bit. Obviously, we can’t do free shows all the time because that’s what we need to make our money from. If we do some once in a while, especially at home we like to do weird stuff.

It’s just about the freedom and running up to the hills away from the bullshit which the music industry is riddled with

Do you think bands should do a free show in their hometown more? Engage with people who have supported them from the ground up?

H: I think they should just do stuff if they want to, I’ve seen loads of fucking bullshit on god knows… the internet about engaging with your fans and different business models to engage with your fans and it’s just like teaching a robot how to paint or whatever. If you’re not naturally drawn towards doing something, then don’t fucking do it. We don’t do anything unless we’ve come up with the idea and we think it’s a good idea. We don’t do something because you know, it’s just become really cynical now: “Oh you’ve got to engage with your fans and you’ve got to go online and you’ve got to act really natural and you’ve got to do a video from home showing how normal you are, just like everyone else.” It’s just laughable now that that has actually become a business model, it’s just really creepy. We’ve done that anyway since year dot because that was natural to us. There’s a lot of people out there forcing themselves to do it.

Has it lost the magic a bit?

H: They never had it; I don’t think it’s lost the magic.

D: I think it’s weird the fact that, like Holly said, it’s become some sort of weird business model, it loses all meaning in a way. I mean for us, we don’t think about things in a business sense really, it’s just about being natural and doing something that we enjoy doing. It’d about that you know – how we feel about things. It’s certainly not a business model.

H: I’d like to think people can smell out bullshit. I’d like to think that our fans can sniff it out and that they’ll know this is how we’ve always been, and we are not doing anything that we wouldn’t otherwise normally do.

You both clearly agree on that, when you first got together and formed the band, did it take you a while to form that idea? Was it a nice surprise to know that you both had the same idea about the music industry?

H: I think it’s hard because I knew straight away that I didn’t want to pick up a guitar again after my last band Angelica because we’d been tainted by the music industry, and David was in other bands in Lancaster around the time I was in my band and we were going out at the time. He saw how it kinda destroyed me, and he saw it through his band seeing what it could do to a band – being part of that machine. I think we both learnt really quickly. I think also we are really both non-bullshit people. We never wanted to be like massive successful pop stars, or we would have been in like wedding bands, we’ve always had a sort of core of integrity of music we’ve wanted to pursue, we’ve always had that in common. It wasn’t a spoken about thing, it just happened naturally. We were really happy to continue along that vain when it started.

D: I don’t think we ever wanted to follow a lot of people who form a band and try to get a record deal. We were always against that. Same with Holly’s last band Angelica, she didn’t really seek a record deal out it just kind of happened – people approached them. We were always kinda about that, just being independent anyway, before we formed the band it was just like doing what we were doing for the sake of doing it. Not like we wanted to be successful musicians or whatever, it was all about the music really. That was that and it still is now.

After the local shows, you’ve got a big tour coming up, is there a specific place or venue you are excited to go to or try out for the first time?

H: It’s hard. We always really love the show in Brighton and we’ve never played the venue before. The Brighton crowd is always brilliant. Then we are playing Gorilla and it’s sold out. We’ve played Gorilla twice before and it’s sold out twice before. We love that.

D: Manchester is great. Leeds is great, Birmingham is great. All over the country, there are loads of places we are really excited to go back to and it’s always nice to do a new venue.

H: It’s like choosing your favourite child, I mean we’ve only got one, but I’m sure it’s really hard to do. Each city has its own personality, you have different craic in Newcastle to what you have down in Brighton, but every single area has its own personality. We just love all of it really and that’s not a cop-out answer, it’s true really.

In the past two years, with an album release in 2018 and the with the new one coming up, you’ve done four or five tours. Has there been a chance to relax and have a bit of a holiday?

H: We do have a holiday. We try and get away every year for a week or something but generally no. I think there isn’t much difference between our band and our life, it’s all in one.

D: If we go away, we take the band with us. We can’t actually take a break from that.

H: And, whether that’s good or bad, that it was it is. It’s a way of life and we’ve always said this. We’ve dedicated our lives to this band but also the band has dedicated itself to us as people and as a family. It’s complicated and it’s beautiful and it’s brilliant. It never stops, but it can’t. It’s not like work it’s like life.

The new record is called I Am Moron, where’s the name come from?

H: It’s hard to say really. When we were thinking of names for the album, we wanted a name that really did sum everything up completely. A lot of the album is about just how fucking stupid people are and how stupid the culture is nowadays, and how stupid the world is, and how fucking sick people are, and what moronic decisions people make, and the fact that we’ve got two arseholes running two of the biggest countries in the world. There’s this need for capitalism and for consumerism, the money and the wealth and producing more things that we don’t need, literally ridiculous shit we don’t need. We have to work jobs that we hate to pay for things that we don’t want, or we don’t need, it’s insane.

I think the whole human race as a species has got an inner core of twat-ness and moronic-ness that will spoil any planet it inhabits, inherently.

We were trying to think of titles that sum up that, we came up with ‘I Am Moron’ one day and it’s kind of stuck really because it sort of defines the human race. We don’t think we are any better than that, it’s not like we are saying we are better than you or anything like that. I think the whole human race as a species has got an inner core of twat-ness and moronic-ness that will spoil any planet it inhabits, inherently. It’s that Lord Of The Flies thing, having the badness inside you from day one. The minute you’re born you’ve got this capacity to be a massive twat, and it’s that I suppose that we wanted to get across – ‘I Am Moron’ set a really great statement that said it all really.

The artwork shifted in 2018 to more psychedelic, it reminded me of a wicked children’s book I used to read about monsters in space.

D: That sounds great, you can’t remember what it’s called?

No, I was going to ask my mum, I’ll find out.

D: You’ll have to let us know.

H: You’ll definitely have to let us know.

Louis did ask his mum. This is the book.

I’ll bring it along to the show in Newcastle. So, what was the reason for this shift in artwork?

H: Well, we made friends with a guy called Casey Raymond and we absolutely adored his stuff. He started out as an illustrator and a video maker and an artist. We became really good friends with him and he made a single cover for a single we did on the Too Pure Label, Paul Riddles, a friend of ours was running the Too Pure Singles Club and asked us if we’d do a single, we did that and Casey did the artwork and then we just really loved it so we kept on with him. I think sonically on This Is Eggland the sound really changed, and we wanted a visual representation of something that had changed. Rather than, like on the first four albums they all have photographs, on the Eggland we wanted it to represent how different we were sounding so we decided to get Casey to do it.

Your videos have switched up as well, how do you approach transferring your artwork and designs onto a video? Does Casey do that?

D: Bit of a mix really.

H: Yeah, we’ve done a lot over the years, sometimes Casey has done videos, sometimes we do our own videos, sometimes we work with other people. But we don’t want to talk about videos at the moment because we’ve got to make one, and we’ve got two weeks to do it and we’ve not even started it yet! So, let’s not talk about videos.

On the record, there is definitely a space influence, is there anything in particular that lead you to go in that direction? Or did that just happen?

H: It started to happen during the album This Is Our Nowhere. We started feeling increasingly isolated living up in Lancaster. We’re away from London, away from all the major cities, there’s fuck all happening in this town, nothing is going on, it’s like the twin peaks of the north, we just felt really isolated. Then we started drawing the analogy and parallel of that and being like living in outer space, it almost feels like you’re living on a different planet to the rest of the world – things go a lot slower up here, nothing really happens up here, you don’t see bands coming to play up here or exhibitions, culture just totally bypasses here so it’s a much more basic existence but a very natural one because there’s a lot of nature up here. I suppose it’s the same as space, it’s vacuous, there’s nothing out there but there’s everything out there at the same time, it’s like that paradox.

So I think on that This Is Our Nowhere album we started to be very heavily influenced in that idea. Part of the artwork was the feathered boy through space, then on This Is Eggland we just went into it deeper, we were just like you know what, if this is your planet and this is what you call lie, we don’t want to be a fucking part of it. We’ll happily go on a spaceship and go out and live somewhere else because we don’t want what you’re offering, I Am Moron is just more of that. We are not interested in what modern society has got to offer us. We just want out. With This Is Eggland we sort of created our own alternative reality that we extended out to anyone who wants to join, they can come and live with us in Eggland sort of thing. I Am Moron is a similar thing to that.

D: We’ve also been talking about the Mars One project which was basically the thing when they tried to get people to sign up to do a non-return journey to Mars. So we were kind of drew parallels with to what we were doing really. We kind of felt like we were heading out into uncharted territories I suppose with no way of getting back, we had this weird concept going through our minds about this space mission and how that tied in with what we were doing and that totally runs through the album as well – these two things running through that which is the Moronic sort of earthly things and then then the sort of space theme going through it as well. It’s hard to explain how they tied together but it makes sense to us.

Is part of why you want to be somewhere else why you have always recorded in the same place, the same studio between a coop and your house?

D: I think that’s just because that’s easy for us to do, we kind of need to break it down and do something where we are around it, instead of going to a studio. These last two albums we mixed out in America actually, we recorded it at home, between home and a place called the Music Coop, it’s a local studio rehearsal rooms that we’ve supported over the years. I think it’s just because that was there, and we used that to record because it’s there. That’s been really good because we like to do as much as we can ourselves, and that enables us to do that really.

Is there drawbacks to just having two of you?

D: In what sense?

Do you find it hard to create different sounds and go in different directions? The Slaves and Royal Blood effect?

D: We don’t think of it like that really, we think about what we can create in this situation. We’re not fed up with it. We’ve been in bigger bands ourselves and there are drawbacks to being in a band with a lot of people because it gets hard to coordinate stuff. Things are good about one and good about the other but for us, we’re not fed up with this way we’re working, we still like creating stuff as a two-piece, we don’t feel there are any drawbacks.

H: Not at all, we love this setup.

Is your child starting to learn an instrument?

D: No, he’s not, he’s interested in stuff. He bashes around on the drums when he gets the chance, strums the guitar, but we’ve not pushed him in any direction to learn anything really.

H: We just don’t want to be those pushy parents who push their kids to be like you. We don’t necessarily want him to be like us, he should be like himself. He can do what he wants and that’s what we encourage him to do, just follow his own path.

Finally then, I always ask this, my mum has no musical knowledge beyond Blondie and Classical music. So if I sat you two in a room with my mum, how would you sell her The Lovely Eggs?

H: It’s like reading Richard Brautigan and listening to Black Sabbath.

D: That’s the closest description we can think about, she’d have heard of Black Sabbath I guess.

H: Bang on a Black Sabbath record, give her a copy of In Watermelon Sugar and say that’ll give you an idea.

Listen to The Lovely Eggs on Spotify and Apple Music. Get the latest edition of our print magazine featuring cover star Soccer Mommy, grammy-nominated Black Pumas, Alfie Templeman and more HERE.