INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
The Lounge Act, a five-piece from Stoke-on-Trent, may be a fledgling outfit, but their determined attitude and diversely influenced, alternative/indie rock sound suggests that they have talents a lot of outfits with more experience would kill for.
Comprising of vocalist/guitarist Callum Walters, guitarists Cam Degg and Ryan Day, bassist Liam Barker, and drummer Jack Adams, the quintet devote themselves entirely to music, and want their songs to appeal to as many individuals as possible.
Before their live set last weekend at The Underground in Hanley, I asked them some questions, and this is what they had to say in response:
How did the band get together initially?
CALLUM WALTERS (vocals/guitar): Me and Jack started the band, and we began thinking of people to join us. Ryan came in first, then Cam and Liam joined.
CAM DEGG (guitar): Me and Liam came in initially just as temporary members, and we sort of wormed our way in, this was in March last year.
JACK ADAMS (drums): We wanted a different genre from what we usually did, so we figured something a bit softer, more pop, more R ‘n’ B, and more suited to what we wanted to do.
How did the name The Lounge Act come about?
RYAN DAY (guitar): I’m a big fan of Nirvana, and the name was taken from one of their song titles, that’s basically it.
CAM: It is a cool name.
JACK: Sounds better than ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’! (all laugh)
In your own words, how would you describe your sound?
CALLUM: Fuck it.
CAM: Modern, big, pop…
CALLUM: I’m going with stick with ‘Fuck it’.
CAM: To be honest, it’s difficult to say, because we include a bit of everything. With each of our tracks, you’ll tend to get a different sound.
What are the band’s musical influences?
CAM: There’s quite a few from different places.
LIAM BARKER (bass): Jazz, metal…
CALLUM: Me! (All laugh) Everything and anything, it’s music we compile into one thing, using different techniques and genres. It’s all a bit of everything, really.
JACK: We all individually have different musical influences, but I think when it comes to writing songs and jamming, we play what we thinks suits the feel of the song.
CALLUM: We try not to put too much of one influence into a song, but to pin it down, one of the biggest bands, for me and Cam anyway, has to be The 1975.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
CAM: We all spend time at home writing little bits and pieces of songs, like it could be a verse, it could be a chorus, but rather than try and elaborate them on our own, we’ll bring it into the rehearsal room, and we’ll say to the rest of the band: “This is what I’ve got, and what can you guys do with it?” From there, it’s quite a fast process.
CALLUM: Yeah, it is. That’s usually how we will put a song together. Someone will come up with an idea, we’ll jam to it, then we’ll record it, take it home, and actually sit down and think about what we’re writing, how to develop it, and try to keep it as free as we can.
CAM: That’s where we’re able to bounce off one another, and the result, ultimately, will be a song.
JACK: Fortunately, we’re able to come up with things on the spot rather than really thinking it through, we’re pretty spontaneous about it, I reckon.
CALLUM: Yeah, I think we do well to make it look like it wasn’t just a jam, written on the spot sort of thing.
The band are all from Stoke-on-Trent. What is your opinion of the music scene there currently?
LIAM: I think it’s quite diverse. There seems to be a lot of metal bands at the moment, and there’s roughly around the same amount of local indie bands. The only thing I think that Stoke is lacking musically at the moment is a proper punk band, which I think would go down really well around here.
CAM: It’s mainly split down the middle, between metal and indie, but there are some incredible bands either side of that. I didn’t really realise how diverse the scene was until we went to the music awards a few weeks back.
LIAM: The music awards weren’t just for bands from Stoke, were they? They were also for Staffordshire and Cheshire, the surrounding areas.
CAM: It was still cool, though, and it was a really awesome night, as well.
You’ve already released a few singles. How has the reaction been to them?
JACK: It’s been really positive.
CAM: The reaction has been a lot bigger than any of us expected.
CALLUM: If anything, it’s made us more desperate to release new things.
CAM: Even with the YouTube stuff, we were only expecting around 200 views at the most, actually, we’ve had around 2,400 views, it’s been really good so far.
CALLUM: Incredibly well-received, and very heartwarming.
Will the singles potentially lead to an EP or album at all in the near future?
CALLUM: We’re leaning towards doing an EP at the moment, but it’s still under discussion whether it will be that or an album. We’re trying to think about it in accordance to what we’re doing in the next year, what our plan is, where we’re gigging, how we’re doing it, and all that.
JACK: It’s quality over quantity. One of the setbacks we thought of doing a whole album would be that there could be some filler in it, and we want absolutely everything to be nailed down and perfected.
CAM: We want to mean every song that’s on there, we want everything to be because we actually want it on there.
When would you be thinking of getting the EP out?
CAM: I’m just going to say in the near future, the coming months. Definitely this year, but I can’t really give an exact date.
How, for the band, is the experience of playing live?
CAM: It’s my favourite part of being in a band, for definite. When you’re on stage, everything around you disappears. The half-hour or so you’re up there is pure bliss, especially if you’re passionate about music, because you’re doing what you want to do, nothing else matters. It’s insane, it’s brilliant.
LIAM: Especially when it’s a good show, like last year with Scruff of the Neck.
JACK: We got a chant, didn’t we?
LIAM: That was amazing.
JACK: Yeah, Dave Beech from Scruff of the Neck told us afterwards that a crowd chanting for the first support band is virtually unheard of.
CAM: For us to hear that from someone was just amazing.
Apart from a possible EP, what else have you got lined up in the near future?
CAM: April is going to be an incredible month for us, we’ve got three shows, all in Hanley, on.
JACK: Three shows, that’s almost one every week.
CAM: On the 7th, we’re supporting China Tanks at The Sugarmill, on the 15th, we’re playing The Underground as part of the Your City festival.
LIAM: It’s a free gig, so come on down!
CAM: We’ll be playing alongside The Gurus and The Carriers, two very good bands from around here, on the 22nd, we’ll be at The Exchange, and we’ve got a few other shows after that. At the moment, it’s looking like it’s going to be a busy rest of the year for us.
Are you planning on playing any gigs outside of Stoke at all?
LIAM: We’re currently looking at getting transport sorted, so once that’s done, we’ll be looking into possibly playing some gigs out of Stoke.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
JACK: For this to become our main source of income.
CAM: Yeah, I think I speak for us all when I say we would like nothing more than for this to become our full-time job, playing music that people enjoy, and making a living from it.
LIAM: I think my biggest aim for the band would be for us to be something an individual can confide in, obviously like The 1975.
CALLUM: Yeah, that’s the dream, the end goal.
FOR FURTHER INFO ON THE LOUNGE ACT, CHECK OUT THESE SITES: