There must be something in the water, or the ale, in West Yorkshire’s Calder Valley these days, judging by the surfeit of young musical talent emanating from the craggy moors and valleys around Hebden Bridge. Other factors that play a part are a clued up, supportive network and a handful of local venues willing to take a chance on their local talent.
The Lounge Society are one such band, consisting of Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Herbie May (guitar), Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) and Archie Dewis (drums). They met at school and the hardworking outfit have already plunged themselves into playing live, realising this is the perfect way to hone their skills. They’ve also been broadcast across the Radio 6 Music airwaves, most recently on Lauren Laverne’s increasingly popular daytime show plus there’s a London gig lined up.
I managed to get an interview in with all four of the band, while they’ve still got some spare time on lockdown.
How did you all meet each other?
We all met at high school and formed the band there. We all did Music GCSE and now are doing Music Technology at A level. I’m not sure any of us know what’s going on in regards to exams. It’s all very up in the air, like everything else in the world!
Who is the songwriter and who writes the lyrics?
It’s a really collaborative process. Usually one of us will play a guitar riff at rehearsal and we just jam it until something comes of it and then over time we’ll change bits to get it perfect. The lyrics usually come last but we often spend months working on them. A lot of the lyrics to our songs that we’ve played live for ages have changed three or four times.
And where do you go to rehearse?
We rehearse up in Archie’s attic. We owe Archie’s parents (and neighbours) a hell of a lot for letting us make a racket.
Hebden Bridge and in general the Calder Valley has build up quite a rep for music. Do you feel this has had an influence on you? Do you feel like you are part of a music community? Why do you think that there is so much talent around where you live?
Local bands have definitely influenced us. Going to the early Orielles’ gigs at our local venue in Hebden Bridge, The Trades, inspired us all massively – that’s what made us want to be in a band really. The idea of getting out of the valley and into the cities like Manchester has definitely been a cause of young people to form bands to play at venues in Manchester.
Who are the people who have most helped you along the way – who has given you support and guidance?
We owe a ton of people a lot, too many people to list here but we’d definitely say Mal Campbell and Sarah Ross at The Trades Club in our home town of Hebden Bridge. And Gig and Waka at the Golden Lion [Todmorden] for letting us play our early gigs at their pub.
I know you’ve been playing live as much as you can and you once were support for Warmduscher. Are you enjoying playing live? What’s been your best gig so far? And what do you feel you need to work on?
We write music to play live, we love recording as well but for us it’s all about playing the songs live. The most special gigs we’ve played are probably those we’ve done at The Trades with all of our local mates in the crowd. But we’d also have to say that playing in Manchester is always good fun.
Tell me more about the Manchester gigs, where do The Lounge Society play?
Our favourite venue in Manchester is YES. It’s a great place with loads of amazing bands playing. Getting out to venues out of the Calder Valley has been really good for us – it’s nice to have people coming to see you who don’t know you personally! But we will always love playing locally, there’s nothing better than seeing all your mates in the audience.
Any funny or cringeworthy stories about playing live?
We always joke about Cam (lead singer) kicking the mic stand over at the end of the set. He doesn’t do it on purpose but he seems to always end up kicking it over. I think it’s fair to say we’ve pissed off a few sound engineers.
Generation Game is a really strong track. Is this the direction for the band – a post punk vibe?
We purposely chose Generation Game as our first single because we wanted to put a strong message across both with the music and the lyrics. I think it’s fair to say our sound varies a lot – we’re influenced by a lot of disco and funk so that definitely has a bearing on our sound. There’s a good chance our second single is going to be a lot more dancy or discoe-y. You’ll just have to watch this space…
Who – or what – have been your major influences?
Musically we’re influenced by a lot of older post-punk which you can hear in Generation Game. But we’re also inspired by newer bands like Fat White Family, Fontaines DC… Lazarus Kane we love. We’re into a lot of disco and electronic music, like we mentioned. There are some newer bands we’re into who we recommend you keep an eye on. Those who we love are Blanketman, Three Day Week and The Short Causeway.
Right now is it difficult while everyone is isolating… but how are you coping? Are you writing, or rehearsing via Zoom or whatever?
We’re all doing alright, we’ve been having sporadic video chats to discuss ideas and plans for the future. All of us have all been getting ideas together so that when we can get back to rehearsing again we can hopefully get some new stuff written quite quickly.
When lockdown is over, what’s The Lounge Society’s next step?
Getting back to gigging, writing and rehearsing is definitely our priority but also recording single two and hopefully getting that out as soon as possible.
If you could choose, which festivals would you like to perform at?
We’re all huge fans of Green Man Festival which has sadly just been cancelled but we’re hoping to play there, along with other festivals, next year.
Any gigs already sorted for a post-lockdown celebration?
We’ve just announced our first headline show in London at the Brixton Windmill, which is a great venue. We’re looking to get some more gigs arranged in towns and cities we haven’t played in before as soon as we’re able to play again.
With thanks to Cam, Herbie, Hani and Archie
Check out the debut single Generation Game by The Lounge Society on Speedy Wunderground, available on all major streaming platforms.
Facebook: The Lounge Society