“You never know we might switch things around and end up doing straight up country music”: An Interview With Laurel Collective


When listening to a band for the first time, there’s something that anyone whose ever listened to music can’t help but do – compare them to other bands. This is a tricky thing to do when listening to Laurel Collective. There is such variability in the band’s discography that there is difficulty in drawing comparisons between their own work. The genre-hopping sextet  took some time out to discuss their genre-hopping, desired collaborations and the romantic origin of the band’s name.

Where did the band name come from?

Bob: We used to play music outside – under a Laurel tree (how romantic) in the site which has now become In the Woods festival (a festival we curate every year).


How did you get signed?

Bob : We’re signed? We are currently unsigned – but something is looking good in the horizon for our next album release. Our manager also runs a small independent record label called Tape Club records. We are releasing with them.


Your music is very diverse in terms of genre, ranging from soul, electronic, indie rock and others, and it’s one of the major appeals to fans. Do you write music with a certain mindset for different genres, and would you say there’s varying degrees when writing in different styles?

Bob: We don’t really write different genres on purpose, but if you listen to a lot of very diverse music a lot then I think it’s hard not to have a lot of different sounds. When you live in a place like London you realise that you don’t have to be stuck to a particular music culture – you know, like how Samba is heard everywhere in Brazil or salsa coming out of your ears in Cuba. In London – anything goes. When I think about it, I am surprised that more bands don’t have a more diverse sound, especially considering how easy it is to listen to lots of different music.  Maybe some bands feel pressure to follow a certain genre to get noticed by certain labels?

Also, sometimes you are playing music and for whatever reason, the beat will be dancehall…it could just as easily be a hip hop or dubstep style beat. It’s often not a conscious decision.


Is there any genre that you’d like to delve into with your music that you haven’t already done so?

Bob: Well as mentioned in the previous question it is often unpredictable what might come out BUT we think we are possibly developing some kind of Laurel sound – so it’s possible this will be developed further. Developing your own sound is actually a very hard thing to do. Some people have it naturally very early on depending on their character or if they are a solo artist. Some people take years and years to find it. When there is such a mix like there is in our band it’s been a longer process. We hope to get there – but you never know we might switch things around and end up doing straight up country music.


What are your favourite tracks of your own?

Bob: Probably ‘Sunshine Buddy’ or maybe ‘Fizzing Blood’.

Olly: ‘Heartbeat Underground’ and ‘They Hate Me’


And what artists/songs are you currently listening to?

Bob: Colour Music, Sea Weeds, The Beatles, Real Estate, Thao and the get Down Stay Down, Deerhoof.

Olly: Tommy Tempa, Raisa K, Bantuquere, The Beatles, ‘Helicopter’ by Deerhoof, Broadcast 2000 .. and list goes on.


Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future?

Bob: Not sure actually…I quite enjoy working with my fellow band mates right now! Probably going to write a song with Tape Club label mates Peter and Kerry. I’d like to do some tracks with London producer Tommy Tempa, who is actually in my living room right now, so maybe I will just ask him. Infact Olly is currently collaborating with Tommy Tempa on a side project called Clapton Girls Technology College (working title). Charlie works as a freelance producer/engineer/mixer so he’s constantly working with other bands – most recently Man like Me and Alt-J .. he even did some work with Madness!


Have you got a release date or title set for the album?

Bob: The album is called Heartbeat Underground, it comes out in the spring on Tape Club records.


What should we expect from it? Will it be much of a departure from your work that we’ve heard thus far?

Bob: There will be some familiar sunny sounding songs like ‘Fax of Death’, as well as some more skewed, darker sounding stuff, and more electronic production. The album is all done and mastered just waiting for the team to get it together which is always a lot slower than the creative process, in fact, we’re working on album two right now.


By Lyle Anderson




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