Interview by Andrew Whittaker
The reaction to This Is Eggland seems to have been overwhelmingly positive, including the David & Holly vs Goliath attack on the album charts! Does 2018 feel like the Year of the Egg?
Yeah it does. We’ve been doing the band for 12 years, playing here there and everywhere, meeting new people and getting new fans. It’s just been part of our life. But yeah the reaction to the new album did shock us a bit! I mean we were number 9 in the Independent UK Album charts.
And that’s just two idiots doing everything ourselves. No management, no booking agent, no label behind us. Our distributor told us that if we had towed the fucking line (which we never do) and not sold the album in advance on our website and at gigs then it would have been top 45 in the proper UK charts. Fucking madness! It’s a sign though. People smell bullshit. It’s refreshing to do a band our own way and have none of that hype smoke and mirrors bullshit and STILL sell out gigs and sell records. They tell you the industry way is the only way but we’re telling you it’s fucking not! The UK British Underground scene sez frigging otherwise. So yeah we’re proud of how well the record has done. We couldn’t have done it without our fans backing us up though and buying the record. They’ve always been there for us and we’ll always be there for them. It’s that DIY punk rock ethos. We’re all equals having a party and putting two fingers up out the window at life. Yer either in or yer out.
You created a fanzine to accompany the album, including contributions from your recent touring partner Phil Jupitus. A question we’ve asked many times in Rhubarb Bomb is why zines?
For us it gave us a chance to expand on the new record and include lyrics to the album (which many of our fans often want.) It also gives our exact perspective on stuff and fans can hear it from the horses (mouth), it gives us chance to show people our favourite things, or what we’ve been reading or stuff our friends have drawn. We’ve always loved zines. You know they are interesting and full of random stuff and there are no rules in making them. We’ve seen some photography only zines and another great zine by a guy called Phil in Derby who just does these amazing psychedelic drawings in day-glo marker while he does the door at gigs and he makes zines out of em. Our friend Casey Raymond (who also makes a lot of our videos and does the artwork to our records) does loads of really warped illustrative zines that come out from the putrid sinkhole of his mind. Check em out on Etsy. We also really love Poor Lass Zine and Lady Fuzz. Zines highlight subculture and empower and encourage their readers. It’s really important to feel when you are sat in yer bedroom in Grimsby listening to a Lovely Eggs record that you are not alone. There are other freaks out there like you too! And zines help to spread the word on the underground.
You’ve already done a run of dates earlier this year, does the reaction to the album along with a tour that seemed to be a lot of fun give you a sense of momentum going into what will soon be festival season?
Yeah we suppose so. On the last tour 9 out of 10 tour dates sold out and it was such a good laugh. We’re being booked for more and more festivals this summer which is great. Looking forward to hanging out with our little lad at them and getting a tan and waking up in a hot tent at 7am with a hangover. Festivals can be a bit more tricky cos you’re not playing to hardcore fans, and a lot of people you play to won’t have heard you before, but you know we don’t mind that. We quite like a challenge!
I wonder how it compares going into festival season where you’ll be playing to quite varied audiences such as headlining Indietracks versus appearing at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool? I get the sense from reading your No Fake Encores stance that someone catching you several times this summer would get a different experience each time
It’s part of life innit. People are different in different places and situations but let’s put it this way we are ready for anything! I think the beauty of live shows is that anything could happen! And it probably will! Bring it fucking on!!
We’re welcoming The Lovely Eggs back to Long Division for the third time. You appeared at the first edition of the festival in 2011 and in 2015. What memories do you have of those visits?
In 2011 we remember driving over in our little blue VW Polo with all the stuff piled up in the back and I remember clambering over the furniture in Henry Boons in my stocking feet and then meeting Darwin Deez and hanging out with our mate Ewan and going to some fucking Cowboy Wildwest Ranchhouse (AW – That was Mustang Sally’s). Doing shots and can’t remember the rest.
In 2015 we’d had our little lad by then who was about 18 months old so we remember playing at Unity Works and mostly hanging out in the dressing room with Sweet Baboo who had also just had a baby. So our kids had a wrestling match and we watched and drunk beer. Both years were great gigs for us. Wakefield has always done us proud.
This year will see you playing the largest venue of your three appearances, Warehouse 23, which holds over 800 people. You’ve gone from the back room of Henry Boons pub in 2011 to the Minor Hall at Unity Hall in 2015. Is the increasing size in venues a fair reflection of The Lovely Eggs profile overall? I notice that your upcoming appearance with The Membranes at Manchester Ritz is billed as your ‘Biggest Manchester show yet!”
It never matters to us where we play or where we appear on the bill. We never think that sort of stuff matters to the enjoyment and good vibes of a gig. But yeah I think we are getting more fans and so venue capacities are going up. The biggest headline gig we’ll be playing this year will be at The Scala in London in October. Water off a ducks to us though. We could be playing to 40 people or 4000 people, if the vibe is right it’s gunna be a good do.
Your autumn tour kicked off in Wakefield at The Snooty Fox Club, I couldn’t make the gig, but was really impressed at how hard you worked to ensure the show went ahead after the closure of the original venue. That really made me sit up and take notice of what you’re doing and your work ethic has shone through. Was it a case of taking that hic-cup all in your stride or were you busting a gut to ensure the show went ahead? And did you feel an extra sense of achievement as a result?
We absolutely busted a gut to keep that show on. We lost loads of money because See Tickets paid a lot of the ticket money to Unity Works in advance to help with their cash flow problems and that money was never paid to us. Although we honoured everyone’s original tickets, we will never get the money back from the administrators. As we said before, we will never let our fans down. We would have been gutted if we would have had to cancel the do in Wakefield so we didn’t let it happen, even though it did nearly give us a nervous breakdown two days before the tour. I don’t think we felt a particular sense of achievement, we were just pleased not to have let our fans down in Wakey.
You’re putting out a ‘Fried Egg’ pressing of This Is Eggland for Record Store Day and helped launch this year’s list at Vinyl Tap. How are you going to spend the day itself and any items you’ve got your own eye on?
We’re going to be playing an instore live gig at Rough Trade in Nottingham and then in the evening we’re gunna be playing Nottingham pop fest. Not actually had a proper look at the list left to be honest. Have you seen the size of it!! Will have to have a look!
This Is Eggland is out now on Egg Records, the band play Warehouse 23 as part of Long Division Festival.