I am a Lucky Soul fan. Indeed I am.
From the first time I heard 'Lips Are Unhappy', I instantly got hooked - all the more with a full listen to their debut album The Great Unwanted. Ali Howard's sweet soothing vocals, partnered with 60's style upbeat soul, was the just the right combination that felt like drinking fizzy lifting drinks to remedy a drowning heart. So imagine how elated I was to know that the group was releasing another full length, and that I had the chance to get a Q and A with them.
For today's Fresh from the Post, Lucky Soul's Ali Howard talks to us about the band's new album A Coming of Age, shares one of the singles off their new album, as well as a new Lucky Soul video -
I always ask this to all the bands I feature. It's more of curiosity on my part. How did you guys come up with the name Lucky Soul?
Andrew already had the name before I joined the band, but I believe it’s something to do with his fascination with the Lucky Strike cigarette artwork - that, and he was listening to a load of Motown.
I read in your bio that you guys have a lot of fans in Japan. What have been your best experiences with fans when touring?
It’s funny, because you know you’ve sold X amount of records in a certain place, but you don’t quite believe it until you go there and everyone wants to meet you and have their picture taken with you. The Japanese crowds are amazing. So enthusiastic, yet really polite and humble at the same time. It was a bit like being on Mars, which was exactly how I'd hoped it would be.
Thinking about it, the Japanese do have that penchant for liking your type of music - especially ones with cute female vocals. I admit, you sometimes remind me of Pizzicato Five when I listen to your music. Can we expect this type of happy upbeat 60s pop to appear in the new album or are you exploring the more soulful, serious side of pop?
I think we’ve all grown up a lot on this record - hence the title - it would be unnatural for us to stay the same. We’re a little more worldly wise and I think we’ve expanded our horizons with some really interesting results. There are still some pretty uplifting pop songs in there, albeit with darker than ever lyrics. It’s Lucky Soul, but bigger, darker, brighter, wider. I think it’s fair to say we’re maximalists, so yes, just more of everything.
I understand that you guys release your music under your own label. Was it something that you planned from the start (to set up your own label) or was it born out of necessity since there weren't any record labels out there that you think would be fit to release the type of music that you had?
When we started we were completely on our own and that was exciting and terrifying in equal measures. Certainly a couple of us had been stung previously when it came to dealing with record companies and so the prospect of us having our own label seemed very appealing indeed. These were pre-”Back To Black” days and we didn’t fit in at all - something, which we now celebrate. Most of the time we were right royally ignored, but we stuck with it and I’m really proud of that.
Can you tell us more about the single that you're going share to our Fresh from the Post readers?
A Coming Of Age is the title track from the new album - it was the first guitar riff for the album that Andrew came up with and it was also the very last track to be finished - I remember frantically scribbling the lyrics down between vocal takes. If Lucky Soul were ever to write a James Bond theme, this would be it. It’s really grandiose and dramatic and the very Scott Walker-esque in feel. Definitely one of my favourites to do live - it demands some grand gestures and posturing.
I have this running thing on the site where we ask artists what their definition of indie music is - since the definition constantly changes and evolves. What is your definition of indie music?
Gosh, it’s changed so much hasn’t it? I’d like to think it could go back to meaning independent, but to be truly independent is very difficult these days. I think the ‘indie’ tag changed forever when Oasis did Knebworth and outsold every pop act going. But now pop has come to mean lame, mainstream R’n’B, so who knows!
Listening to a couple of songs off the album, A Coming of Age does mark another era. Although the sound may be a bit different from their previous album, I admit, it contains that undeniably irresistable Lucky Soul charm. I know it might be a longshot for me to wish for Lucky Soul to pen and perform the next Bond theme, but I couldn't see any other band that would fit the bill the most. I'm still crossing my fingers though, since indie music is the 'in' thing right now, maybe some those movie execs can turn their heads way towards this direction? I'm sure if they did, they won't fail to see that Lucky Soul is a total goldmine.
For now, I leave you with the video for their newest single 'Woah Billy'. The video is not Bond-esque, but it's an experiment in versatility - with creepy marionettes and disco balls:
For more interesting info about the band's new album and a track-by-track discussion of it, check out their site at: www.luckysoul.co.uk