Tom MacColl (drums, backing vocals), Angus Mayer (bass, rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Tom Herzberg (lead guitar), Callum Akass (rhythm guitar, bass) and Jacob Wheldon (vocals) make up a truly talented band. How many bands of their age do you know playing with the likes of Mumm-Ra? Their music is good regardless of their age which is really just an added bonus.
Think really tight riffs which just make you want to dance, with some sweet vocal melodies which just make you want to sing along. The lyrics are thoughtful and mature; not something you would have expected a group of so young an age to be coming up with. I think my initial reaction upon hearing them was something along the lines of “Jesus Christ”. The idea of an interview appealed to them greatly but due to circumstances relating to who got online at the right time, I ended up only interviewing the quirky and eccentric (cramazing, you might even call him) lead singer, Jacob.
This is the first interview done over MSN and so things got off topic very easily; we discussed deep, meaningful things like the meaning of “Icky Thump” and Harry Potter theories. He helped me to understand the complexity that is London slang, and decided to interview me. Anyway, without further ado, here it is.
So, I hear you cry, why is the band called Lo-Fi Culture Scene? “Er, because we had nothing else to change it to, and we realized it was terrible a bit too late”, he laughs. “It came around because when we were recording, Callum said “let’s be called Lo Fi Culture”, because Tom Herzberg's t-shirt had that written on it. Then Angus said “scene”, and so we put them together to make it.”
He goes on to describe the formation of the band: “Tom, Angus and their brothers were in a band together, but then Jamie (Tom’s brother), went on with Bombay Bicycle Club, and Patrick (Angus' Brother) went on to do Camberwick Green and then Kets, so they looked for a guitarist and found Callum who lived on their road.” He pauses, as if to take a deep breath, before continuing. “THEN, when they needed another guitarist for the song ' Helicopter ' by Bloc Party Callum said that his friend Tom was really good at guitar, and so they got him in. Then when they realized they needed a singer, Tom said he knew that I was quite good. So, I came to a rehearsal and then it went on from there.” That makes a nice change from the usual, “it was destiny” story.
Their main musical influences include Bombay Bicycle Club, Radiohead, Mumm-Ra, Arctic Monkeys, and The Libertines. And, apparently, The Enemy. Who’s the main writing team then? "Tom Herzberg and Angus generally write the music, then Angus and I write most of the lyrics, but the others do help out occasionally."
The inspiration for your lyrics comes from..? He has to think about this one. “My lyrics... inspiration comes from er, Carl Barat, Pete Doherty, Alex Turner and er.... Jack Steadman” And the music? “Music, comes from various bits and pieces, usually the last band we've seen live.” Speaking of live, what gig are they most looking forward to playing this year? “It’s definitely gotta be the one with Mumm-Ra, because they are one of our biggest influences and it’s possibly our biggest gig yet.” He then adds, as an afterthought, “Even though we’ve only done two.[they’ve now played 3]” Don’t be put off by that though; they’ve played with Fear of Flying and Foals, who are both, obviously, pretty big.
Their very first gig came shortly after putting a song up on their MySpace, which must have been pretty scary. “It was pretty nerve wracking because it came so soon after we’d put the song up, and we thought that after that we could relax! But, yeah it was really good and fun.”
So, do they find that some people don't take them seriously ‘cause of their age? “Well yeah, at first they do, but from the two gigs we have done, they've all been pretty impressed afterwards. I think overall our age helps us more than it doesn’t if that makes sense.
So...People pay attention to you more because of the young age? “Well”, he says, thoughtfully, “I think it's easier to impress people when you're younger, so when word goes around that there is a good band that are really young, it makes people more interested.” And it's especially good because they're actually good musically, unlike crappy young groups who are really just novelties (yes, I’m thinking S Club Juniors and, of course, the young Hanson).
So in two years time, where do Lo-Fi Culture Scene want to be? “I’d be in Starbucks, with one of them incredible chocolate brownies, with the band, and a small rabbit.” Then he decides to give them something to do while they’re sitting in Starbucks- “talking about politics” “Politics?” I ask (when he said that I thought he meant “speaking of politics, blah blah blah…” as opposed to, in Starbucks they’ll be talking about politics. I don’t know if that makes sense… We’ll pretend it does).
“Aye,” he responds, “QUICK, THEY'RE COMING FROM THE HILLS kind of politics.” “You've actually lost me” I say. “No, no, no,” he tells me, “you have lost THEM.” I don’t know what that means either, and I used the moment to swiftly move on. Band they'd HATE to be likened to? “My Chemical Romance, and Little Chris. That’s it.”
And what does he think about guys like Little Chris? “Well... when I first saw rock school, I thought he was talented.... but now he’s just gone a bit BEH.” Ch-ch-ch-check it out- Even other young artists don’t like Little Chris. Ha.
Their music festival would include Bombay Bicycle Club, Mumm-Ra, Radiohead, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, The Maccabees, Good Shoes, and once again, The Enemy.
Next he assigns each band member a fruit under the old failsafe, "If you were a fruit, what would you be and why?” “Okay. Well. Angus would be a lemon, simply because he already looks like one. Tom would be an orange for obvious hair reasons. Tom would be a pineapple, because I always think of pineapples as being dopey. Callum would be an apple, ‘cause he’s just plain gangsta. And I would be.... what would I be?” After a lot of hard thought, he comes to the conclusion: “I’d be a pear.” This amuses me, and I ask: “Big ass?” “Big ass what now?” he asks, confused. I explain: “Well if you think about pears as a human body… They'd have a big ass.” “No, no, no; no, you wouldn’t. You’d think of them as being very good at physics."
Why is this exactly? “Well, they just look like that, don’t they?" “Ahhh yes” I say, “I see what you mean- it's there in the pearness really.” “It usually takes a while to click” he informs me.
When people hear/see Lo-Fi Culture Scene, how does the band want them to be feeling? “Warm, fat and excited” he says, without hesitation. After me being slow for quite some time, it resolves that being fat makes you feel excited. Jacob’s advice on life is as follows: “LEM – ONS”. It’s self explanatory apparently.
I ask him to explain for the slower readers among us… He spells it out a couple more times to no avail. Eventually he describes it thoroughly: “ l - live e - enjoy m - most o - old n - nice s - stupefy Those are the things to remember in life. Live it, enjoy it, make the most of it, live until you are old, be nice. And when facing a baddie, get out your wand and shout STUPEFY!” His advice to bands starting out is the same, although “Live” now means give your audience a proper show that they’ll remember.
One Trick Band say: 'listening to lo-fi is like licking a very juicy cold lolipop on a fuckin' hot dayy :)"
And they are very, very good.
So watch this space, cos I have no doubt they'll be big: www.myspace.com/theloficulturescene
Thanks loads to the band for the interview and all it's related stresses, and good luck for the Bush Hall gig! Next up, a band so famous Hugh Grant knows their name: it's The More Assured.
[Only Jacob likes the Enemy. None of the rest of the band. Just thought I'd clarify]