Heading out to see Gary Numan touring his amazing new album ‘splinter’, the last thing I had expected was that the great man would be almost upstaged by his support act and yet that was almost precisely what happened. With a steadily growing following, the Losers took to a stage flanked by giant video screens and delivered a powerful, uncompromising blast that took in the vast, neo-progressive guitars of Oceansize and Amplifier and welded them to the lovelorn melodies of Cooper Temple Clause classics such as ‘murder song’ simultaneously bringing the whole thing to life with the industrial strength rhythms of nine inch nails and the atmospheric ambience of F*** buttons. A band not easily categorised (the band’s second album genre-hops with remarkable skill and precision) they simply stunned the audience, delivering a final knock-out blow in the form of the hypnotically addictive ‘Azan’. Clearly this is a band of immense potential and with the band touring the UK it seemed the perfect opportunity to find out more about the formation, growth and inner workings of the Losers. To that end we contacted Eddy Temple-Morris, bassist and vocalist (one of three within the band) who kindly answered our questions whilst working his way around the country.
With the tour allowing the band to reach a whole new audience, a successful, crowd-funded record already available and plans for a third record underway, it seems that the future is bright for the Losers, and they are most certainly a band that, if you have not had the good fortune to encounter thus far, you should be considering checking out immediately (you’ll find a video at the base of this interview).
1. First of all, could you tell us how you formed?
When I went on tour with the Cooper Temple Clause, Tom played me a remix he’d done if one of their last singles. It blew me away and within weeks we were remixing together. When the Coopers split up it made perfect sense to properly germinate and develop the idea. But it wasn’t until Paul joined us, from YourCodeNameIsMilo and young legionnaire, that Losers finally clicked and became something special.
2. What inspired the name of the band?
It was a reaction against the old George Bush, American ethos of “we’re number one, you gotta be a winner man”. The idea that your happiness must be dependent on an outcome is horrifying to me. We believe you should be happy just to be in game. It’s not about the winning, it’s about the taking part. That’s Losers ethos.
3. When a band first starts, it arguably has the advantage of there being no weight of expectation but similarly it can be difficult to make your voice heard when you’re unknown. For Losers it is the other way round – would you say there has been a weight of expectation from fans of your previous projects and has Losers benefitted in anyway, in terms of finding an audience, from your past work?
Tom thinks Losers haven’t benefitted at all from his past, but I’d argue that Losers had some wonderful crossover fans from the coopers’ days. Our sound is so different from YourCodeNameIsMilo and young legionnaire that we didn’t expect much love there, but coopers were so progressive, so ahead of their time and so unique that there’s a definite similarity and sympathy with mutual fans, I think.
4. Musically the sound is very diverse, how do you write songs in the band, is it a process of working together or do you work separately and present ideas to the band as finished articles?
The writing process was very diverse for this album, it was two years in the making and the songs were written in every way conceivable. Some were Tom with a bit of me, others were Tom and Paul with or without me. One was just me with a bit of tom. One was mostly Paul. One was almost all Tom. Others were all three of us. There was no formula; it just came together very naturally and in a relaxed way.
5. What do you consider to be the band’s musical influences?
Tom says “Elbow, oceansize, and queens of the stoneage”
Paul says “Bjorn, radio head, and NIN, plus anything on Anticon Records
I say “UNKLE are the hugest influence for me, followed by NIN”
6. It’s quite unusual for a band to have three distinct vocalists, how do you go about apportioning the vocal parts on the songs?
Simple. It’s whoever wrote the melody.
7. The second album is both darker and heavier than the first and you have referenced the influence of relationships on the lyrics – did the lyrics dictate the feel of the music on this record, or was the music evolving in this direction and you wrote the lyrics to fit the mood of the music?
The music always came first. Then we’d write lyrics especially, or slot in lyrics we’d written separately that worked within that context.
8. What other factors influence the band?
Tom says “crisps, cider, Manor house in North London, warehouse parties, damp, hairdressers, fancy dress, Christmas sandwiches and making mistakes”
Paul says “the sound of foxes having sex, they keep me awake and I end up writing a lot”
I (eddy) say “the sound of the world ending, blade runner, insomnia, abuse, alienation, obsession, depression, redemption”
9. Live, the band is very much heavier than on record – how much was the development of the live sound planned and how much was a natural response to bringing in a live drummer and keyboardist?
It developed and progressed in a very natural way. Nothing was forced. We wrote and recorded the album then looked at how we could faithfully replicate it live. We were very lucky that dean, from young legionnaire and Milly blue were available to drum and play keys for us. Both the drumming and the keyboards are so important to our overall sound.
10. With a number of bands, including Losers, turning to crowd funding sites such as pledge music, how do you feel the process of making an album has changed since you started making music?
Tom says “The making of an album has never changed. It doesn’t matter who puts it out, you make the record for yourself and be damned”
11. What are the benefits of the pledge campaign and were there any pledges you particularly enjoyed coming up with (cooking lessons etc…)
The benefits are that the band are able to make creative decisions independently of any label or publisher. We choose the video director, the single, the remixers, whom to tour with and how to do it.
We did enjoy the pledge campaign and it really connected us with our fans in a meaningful way. The disposable cameras are one thing we’ve particularly enjoyed doing.
12. It’s easy to consider the internet in black and white terms of being wholly negative or positive, but how have you found the internet to be in spreading the word of Losers?
It’s invaluable now. And we have a new management team who are really into the whole social network and e-pr thing.
13. What plans are there for the future?
Album three is happening. In our heads [it is] already. I’ve written some heart-breaking lyrics already and tom is almost bursting with tunes. Paul is heaving with both.
14. Any final words for fans finding Losers for the first time?
Tom says “stick to your guns, believe the dream”
Paul says “thanks for having us in your life”
I say “chin up, the light at the end of the tunnel might not be a train…”
Find out more via the band’s official webpage here: http://www.losersband.co.uk