One of the most exciting new bands coming out of Manchester, brand new legs have just released their third single “Porcelain.” Now, they are looking forward to their debut EP which will release later this month. Somehow they managed to find time to answer some questions for us in-between preparing for the EP and the many shows they are playing during the lead-up.
You got your start playing at house shows on the back end of a pandemic and now you’re playing venues all over Manchester and are about to release your debut EP, what has that journey been like?
Jenny Perry (Vox, Bass, and Sax): It’s been interesting. Full of ups and downs. Like most people, throughout the pandemic we really missed live music, especially in a city like Manchester. When lockdown restrictions finally started easing it felt like there was this buzz around the city, and gig opportunities started popping up all over the place. We just tried to ride that momentum as best we could, meeting some really cool people along the way (The Strangerz, King Violet, and Zingis to name a few). It wasn’t easy though; we’ve played in many empty rooms!
Do you have any good stories of meeting each other or starting the band?
Rory Cracroft (Guitar): It’s a fairly straightforward story to be fair, we were just lucky to bump into each other. Me and Ethan met at a house party. We started talking about music and found that we liked similar things, so we decided to start writing together. We then met Lucas through some friends, and the three of us started playing in a strange practice room in the northern quarter. We felt like we had an interesting sound but desperately needed a bassist and a singer (it was bad). After a few weeks of playing – through some divine intervention (!) – I met Jen, who happened to both play bass and sing. It felt good from the first practice.
Your sound clearly draws from a lot of different areas, with artists like Jeff Buckley, King Krule, and even Paramore as cited influences. What are some other influences that have been important in finding your own sound?
Lucas Tams (Drums): We all actually have pretty different influences, something which I really like about us. People who are in bands together tend to have very similar taste in music, and know how they want to sound. We are the opposite: I’m really into neo-soul, D’Angelo style rhythm sections, Ethan likes more indie/jazzy guitar music, I think Rory mostly listens to 90s alternative music, and Jen turns out to be a trained opera singer who enjoys anything where they can belt. If you take these influences and weirdly sort of mesh them together, you get brand new legs.
Your new single, “Porcelain” released on March 1st, deals with themes of self-reflection and the struggles of not being able to understand yourself, what is it about that idea that speaks to you?
Ethan Scott (Guitar): Self-reflection and struggling to understand yourself is something I feel most people our age, or in general really, can resonate with. I think the circumstances surrounding the writing of the song lean themselves toward that theme – just me being in a bad spot and needing an outlet.
“Porcelain” is much more of a ballad than your first two singles, how does that connect to the ideas in the song itself?
ES: The music to porcelain, just the basic chords, were originally written as a part of a bossa nova tune I had been sitting on for a while. But when the lyrics started coming it just wouldn’t have sounded right over bossa nova, and strumming the chords sounded pretty so I think it ended up being better for the feel of the song.
The guitar solo in this track has so much emotion, and then the way that it transitions into the ending is really powerful. What inspired you to include the solo in this track, and what was the process like for writing it into it?
RC: We all felt like the song had to go somewhere; it needed a boost of energy. I remember just messing around with an idea when running it and seeing them all look at each other and say “YES!”. We generally try to avoid long guitar solos as they often come across as a bit obnoxious. Any solo always needs to add something special to the song and in this case it did.
Your last two singles also have quite a bit of self-reflection in the lyrics, at least how I interpreted them. Would you say looking inward is a common theme in your song writing? Are there other themes or ideas you find yourself drawn to?
ES: Yeah, it probably is a common theme. It might come across as a bit self-obsessed, but I actually tend to look outwards when writing as my life isn’t always that interesting. Sometimes I write about what goes on in my friends’ lives. Never tell them that.
RC: I’m probably a bit more personal, but we complement each other well.
Your debut EP, basement view, is also releasing soon on March 21st, what was the process like preparing for that?
LT: It was a real experience for us. We spent a full week squashed together in a control room for hours on end, surviving solely on ramen and coffee, always trying to find the right guitar tone or even picking the right egg shaker for a track. Looking back, it would probably be enough to drive most people to the wall, but we loved it. The finished project has definitely made all the hard work worth it.
Do you have anything you want people to know before they hear the new music?
JP: The music all came about in a practice room that was absolutely grim, and the four of us had just started realising how hard university work, and also just life, can be. It’s very usual that everyone in the band comes from the same musical background, but we aren’t that. We all have very different styles of playing and learning which makes for a very interesting, but challenging writing process. We really have to focus and listen to each other. So before anyone listens to the music, imagine us playing through the songs over and over again in a practice room that has one awful yellowy buzzy light, no heating, and probably enough mould to knock a few months of our lives. Then consider how we forgot all about that, and just enjoyed writing and playing the music.
Any big plans for after the EP? Shows, a tour, recording an album?
JP: I personally would love to play a big stage like Gorilla or the Albert Hall for example – that’s a proper marker for success in my opinion. Of course, we’d love to do an album and we probably have enough material to record one, but it would really be a case of finding the money or getting signed. This being said, the place we recorded (Vale Studios, Worcestershire) was amazing and I’d love to go back there. That’s one great thing about being an independent artist – you get to choose your process and decide who is involved in it. Recording the EP was genuinely such an incredible experience for me (and I imagine the band too). We have all had to become very resilient and can read each other well – something which probably helps us come across well live. I would love to go on a tour, but it’s a very challenging concept. Luckily, we have some friends who would be able to help us out. It’s not an impossibility!
Spotify users can follow brand new legs here to keep an eye out for their new EP.