By Erin Christie
English foursome The Lounge Society — composed of members Cameron Davey (vocals/bass), Herbie May (guitar/bass), Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar/bass) and Archie Dewis (drums) — have made their stake in the running next to a handful of modern English bands with a post-punk charm. With a handful of Dan Cary-produced singles under their belts, they’ve carved out a clear-cut path toward greatness, which is to be cemented further with the arrival of their forthcoming debut EP, Silk for the Starving (to be released this coming Friday, June 18, via Speedy Wunderground).
As their debut is arriving at quite a chaotic time, fittingly, ideas regarding the unruly state of our world are painted all over Silk for the Starving in bright red ink. With singles such as "Cain’s Heresy," in which the band turn their attention toward consumer culture and reference Biblical tales, and "Generation Game," where they kick into their version of a post-punk-led frenzy and point questions at the US government, they make one thing clear: while young in their careers, they have a clear idea of what they’re capable of and of what they want to say, and they aren’t afraid to kick down doors to get their message across.
Weaved throughout their blunt social commentary, too, the band skillfully construct their musical identity throughout the EP, exhibiting their ability to transcend genre with synth-ridden dance grooves and moments of guitar-centered new-wave bliss. With each melodic sequence pushed forward by Cameron’s deep drawl and lyrical mastery, it’s impossible not to feel yourself being propelled forward as you listen, as if the sound escaping your speaker is an irresistible, pulsing beam of light and you’re a moth that can’t focus on anything else.
Prior to the release of Silk for the Starving, we chatted with the band over email to get an idea of where their heads were at while constructing their debut, their relationship with Speedy Wunderground, and much more.
Hey! To begin, how would you introduce The Lounge Society to anyone who doesn’t know you guys? What are some key tidbits that are essential to understanding what you guys intend to do?
I guess, at a glance, I'd say we're a youthful, energy-fueled band. When we write, we never give ourselves any limitations, and having our writing roots in bands like The Velvets, Maximum Joy, Television etc means we always find ourselves adding this signature, timelessly raw feel to any avante garde angle we approach a new song at. Our sound continues to morph and expand with every new track. I wouldn’t try and predict where we’ll go next.
So, regarding working on your debut EP and a subsequent album, do you guys feel any sense of intimidation, noting that this would essentially be the first cohesive body of work that you’d be putting out? Or have you almost been itching to get something out there?
It's definitely nerve-wracking. A debut album can make or break a young band like us. But we also back ourselves; we’re not the type of band to write 'filler' tracks, or tracks to act as breaks for other 'more important tracks.' We know our album will be a hailstorm of diversity in your face groovers, moshers and feelers. Both nihilistic and hopeful tracks and some where you can’t make out either.
So, have you guys been thinking about your debut LP at all? What has that been looking like?
Yes, we are currently working on our debut album, writing, demoing etc, and it's all coming together really well. We've written a lot of new stuff over the last few months which we think is really exciting but they all need to be played live for them to be completed. So, gigs can't come quick enough for us! But, at the moment, we're focusing on this EP; we can't wait for people to hear it as a whole and get those unheard tracks out there.
In terms of writing this EP, how did you guys go about collaborating given lockdown? Was this complicated, or at this point, had you gotten used to it?
The majority of this record was written before lockdown but, at the start of lockdown, not being able to play together was pretty difficult for all of us, and it was even more bizarre releasing all of our singles so far during lockdown but we've been trying to rehearse and write as much as we can recently.
Regarding your sound, like you mentioned before, did you guys approach writing the sonic portions of this EP with taking notes from anything/anyone specifically, or did most everything come together more organically?
When we were in the studio, it was all mostly quite natural. We had the idea of using audio from some footage of Hebden Bridge on "Valley Bottom Fever" but we decided to use some old tapes that Dan had in the studio instead, and they worked perfectly. Working in Dan's space is really something else. I'd say we let our creativity run free with adding things such as a tablet part on "Television," upwards of 6 guitar overdubs and deep 808 bass at the end of "Cain’s Heresy."
How elemental would you say Dan Carey’s influence has been on The Lounge Society’s trajectory?
His production has been really important on this record but almost equally as important is the confidence he gives us to write whatever and however we want, and he completely understands us which is important, too. To have such a chill and creatively healthy relationship with a producer who has their own iconic creative flare has been such a gift to us.
This EP, based on its title alone, is pointedly political (take the line "Tragedy/genocide makes for good TV," for example), and seems to possibly take inspiration from the past year’s events and how those in power have handled such. Would you say this is accurate, or is that too narrow of an assumption to make?
That first denotation is pleasing to hear, yes. We have got into the groove of writing chorus lines that are clearly provocative, however do not lean too far into that 'IDLES-y' simplicity, telling you exactly what they mean instead of letting you figure out your own meaning of the line. 'What will the US do?' will forever be our antithesis of this — it is repeatedly ever more relevant with every terror and dictation another broken country, like the USA, will foreseeably uncumber.
In the world we are living in at the moment, it'd be quite difficult not to write about it. I think even if we tried to avoid what is around us, it would find its way in somehow. In some ways, it feels as though the last year and a half or so has found its way into the sound of the EP, not so much the songwriting but the overall sound and feel of the record. There is a sense of optimism. We recorded this sound about September 2020, when things felt slightly more optimistic. "Cains," for example — it's a relatively dark track, lyrically and musically but in the feel there is definite hope and excitement.
To circle back, is there a reason that you chose "Burn the Heather" and "Generation Game" as your first two singles?
We wanted "Burn The Heather" to be the 2nd single because it felt so different to "Generation Game." We never want people to think they know exactly what we are because there are too many bands who find 'their sound' and just stick to it, especially in this 'post-punk blah blah blah scene.' "Heather" is also quite an old track which we've worked on for a while, in fact the only remaining track we played at our first gig, I think. So, to release it first (out of the EP tracks) felt like the best way to do it. It's always slightly scary when releasing new music…but I think, for us, it's generally more exciting. We can't wait for everybody to hear these songs together.
Generally, if you had to pick a favorite track out of the four, do you have a particular front-runner? Or is that like asking a parent to choose their favorite child?
That would possibly be different for all of us but we’re all really looking forward for people to hear "Television" and "Valley Bottom Fever" from the EP. They are both important tracks for us and we hope people like them. Also, [they're] wildly differing from each other. It's exciting to see which side of our EP audience will gravitate to, where on the spectrum of funk to punk people lay.
Finally, with this new release on the horizon and the end of lockdown coming closer, what are you guys looking forward to most with the rest of the year in mind?
Gigging AS MUCH AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE. Yeah, for sure, we miss gigs like nothing else. I'd say our look and our performance approach has improved in its manic-ness so much. Our shows will be as fuckin' full-on as possible. We want people screaming and jumping for the whole hour.
Make sure to keep up with The Lounge Society!