trakMARX Tip For The Top 2006: The Lodger
The Lodger are an iceberg of promise in a sea of compromise. A collective of pooled talent untainted by the rigours of acquisition. Keep a trained eye on them as 2005 withers & dies – we’re expecting great things of them in 2006:
trakMARX - What first inspired you to pick up a gtr?
When I was 8 years old, I borrowed two cases of 7" singles from my uncle, these were full of singles by the likes of The Jam, The Clash, Stranglers, Buzzcocks, Wire, Aztec Camera, Madness from the late 70s/early 80s and somewhere in my poor young brain, something clicked and from then on the pestering of "Dad, can I have a guitar please" began. He gave in fairly quickly and I've not looked back a great deal since.
trakMARX - The Lodger formed in Leeds in 2004. What previous convictions were taken into consideration?
Well....I'd been in various bands myself since the age of around 14, always being the singer/songwriter/bloke at the front to varying degrees of minor success in the Pontefract/Wakefield region of West Yorkshire. Then came a music degree out of a lack of not really knowing what to do with my life, which I considered to be more of a hindrance than a help, and then 3 years ago I upped sticks and moved to Leeds. 18 months of making an (in)famous Leeds fanzine called "Dot Dash" later, The Lodger was "born". Bass player Joe had served a “stretch” as one of the main men behind independent label Angular Records which is a sentence he is still serving and Bruce is famous for teaching most of the “New Yorkshire” scene how to play drums.
trakMARX - How would you describe 'that Lodger sound'?
"That Lodger sound" is a conscious attempt to strip things down as much as possible and make things as honest as I can. I'd gone through a period of pissing around with computers making music and I realised I was getting further and further away from what I was good at in terms of songwriting, which I guess is melodic guitar pop with chord changes aplenty. I forgot that I was good at writing songs on the guitar. So, The Lodger started out as me on my own playing songs on my battered Telecaster, Bragg stylee and when I found Joe (bass) and Bruce (drums) it was as a means of making the songs I'd written sound more entertaining live. Bringing them to life I guess. As time goes by I'm sure the instrumentation used will increase (we've got a brass section on a few songs live now), and who knows I might even buy a guitar pedal!
trakMARX - Who do you keep in your influence tin?
The influence tin is capacious and unbelievably well-stocked. A band on which every member of The Lodger would agree wholeheartedly on would be The Smiths, off the top of my head. I take lyrical inspiration from all over the shop, for instance "Watching" (the A-side to the new single) was inspired by a scene in "Play it again Sam", the Woody Allen film....other times it's real experiences such as our first single "Many Thanks For Your Honest Opinion", which was about a particular short and doomed romance I had the displeasure of being involved in....generally the best songs come out of the worst of situations.
trakMARX - Your debut 7" - "Many Thanks For Your Honest Opinion" - picked up many plaudits: Steve Lurpack, The Guardian & the ENM - were you pleased with the reaction to it?
Pleased and quite shocked yes. Couldn’t have asked for a nicer reaction for the first thing we’d done.
trakMARX - The new 45 - "Watching" - is another urgent gem - what's it all about?
Basically, it’s about spending/wasting time watching other people living their lives and not enough time living your own life. It’s about fantasising rather than doing. The single also continues our tradition of having preposterously good B-sides, or in this case AA-sides, which most people like better than the actual A-side. “Not So Fast” is probably my favourite song of ours.
trakMARX - Have you recorded your debut LP yet - & if so - when is it likely to see the light of day - & on which label?
We haven’t recorded our album yet no, although I’d say I’ve written the majority of it. To be honest I’ve spent my whole life writing it, so it’s a few years in the making……but the “dream” would be that it would be out in the 2nd half of next year and it will contain approximately 16 carats of pure pop gold. It’s going to be a classic, you mark my words readers!
trakMARX - With the North revolting into to style once again, Leeds must be a very exciting place to come from right now. Which fellow scensters do you see as contemporaries?
The magnifying glass does tend to be hovering closely over Leeds and Yorkshire in general at the moment, I agree. Favourite “local” bands for me include O Fracas, The Long Blondes, and Downdime. Good labels are Dance to the Radio, Wrath and GoJonnyGoGoGoGo and good venues would be The Faversham and Brudenell Social Club which are both spitting distance from my house. There’s a lot of good stuff going on, particularly if you’re an indie kid but also if you’re not.
trakMARX - The efforts of Dance To The Radio to polarize the current Leeds scene cannot be understated. Would anyone have taken any notice without them?
It was becoming increasingly apparent that there were quite a few good unsigned bands in Leeds and Whiskas and friends saw this and shoved them all together and made the compilation. It’s difficult to say whether anyone would have taken any notice without them, I’d like to think that in a perfect world the best bands would have got an audience anyway and the worst ones would have faded into obscurity regardless. Luckily some of the national press and radio thought the bands on the label were worth writing about and playing, that made a big difference. Having our debut single on the label was great. There’s a new DTTR compilation due out in February next year.
trakMARX - You go out on tour from 19th Nov to 9th of December taking in Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield, York, Bath & London on the way. Who will you be playing out with?
We’ve just done the first few gigs of our winter jaunt, the Leeds gig was a really good one for us, our biggest headline gig audience and it seemed to go down a treat. The London gig is an Angular Records night so it’s a theme close to our hearts, Good Shoes and The Long Blondes will be playing and Djing respectively also. Looking forward to Bath Moles too, we played at “Purr” there earlier on in the year and it was one of our best gigs. Really nice crowd of people down in Bath from my, albeit limited, experience.
trakMARX - What does 2006 hold in store for The Lodger?
Well, we’re recording again with producer Alan Smyth in Sheffield just before Christmas for a new single that we’ll aim to get out by about March. Just before this, the new DTTR compilation comes out and we’ve got a song on that so that will be doing the rounds too. Somewhere around this time we’ve also got a song on a compilation of British bands that is only going to be released in Germany (?). I’d like for us to do a proper tour to support the next single but that all depends on a myriad of things, but hopefully that will be possible. I want us to keep releasing stuff at a frantic pace and make as many people aware of our existence as possible.
trakMARX - And finally, have you got a special festive message for all our readers out there in trakMARX land?
Unlike me, don’t spend the Yuletide season in Pontefract.
Guy Debored – tMx 22 – 11/05