I am already a fan of Late TV...
I was, therefore, excited when they announced the single, Losin’ It – so I jumped at the chance to catch up with them. Luke Novak (from the band) talks about the new single and whether there will be more material; how the track differs from their previous track, Citizen; why they have adopted a Bowie-esque sound to their latest cut – and what touring dates they have coming.
I learn why London is so important to the guys; what music the band are inspired by (and Luke grew up around); what the best Late TV memories have been so far; whether there are any resolutions in Luke’s/the band’s camp – some new artists are offered up for us to seek out.
Hi, Late TV. How are you? How has your week been?
Pretty sweet. We’re back in the saddle after the festivities - and looking forward to our single launch gig on 24th February.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We consist of: Luke J. Novak on Vocals, Lyrics and Guitars; Martin Coxall on Keys; Ryan Szanyi on Bass; Richard ‘Beu’ Bowman on Drums - and a brass section featuring Evesham Nicholas on Sax and Matthew Halsall on Trumpet.
Losin’ It is your new single. What can you reveal about its story and conception?
Lyrically; it came together as an abstract meditation on that element of the human condition that’s always searching for something unattainable: possibly because it doesn’t exist. We are all playing a big game and are, by definition, destined to lose it. Musically; it’s built around the rhythm section’s groove.
We want it to take you into kind of neon dream-world: a lurid Post-Pop-culture dystopia that you can shimmy your way through….
It follows last year’s triumphant single, Citizen. Did the great reception that track was afforded pump you all to create Losin’ It?
We definitely felt more confident that there’s a place out there for our vibe. It always good to get some praise but, that said, we’d make these tunes anyway. You’ve just got to do what you do.
Can you tell me about the video’s concept and how that all came together?
I (Luke) work as a photographer - when I’m not writing a Rock masterpiece. My friend in that world, Vladimir Studenic, and I wanted to collaborate on a project outside of our work. Vlad makes these beautiful stop-motion videos. We felt like the grinding rhythm and lyrical narrative of Losin’ It would lend itself well to a photographic animation. It grew from there; I think we successfully illustrate the song and conjure up the atmosphere while leaving it open for the viewer’s interpretation.
There are David Bowie-esque ‘Plastic-Soul’ touches on your new track. Is he someone you are compelled by – and what is it about that period that resonates?
Oh, yeah. We love funky-era Dave.
As a group; we enjoy all kind of things: from Indie to Hip-Hop; but we are definitely unified by a fetish for that 1970s/1980s period. Personally; I love how you could create your own mythology and dress up like a spaceman. Mainstream Pop culture (it seems) at that time was open in that way. In my lifetime; it appears to have branched onto separate tracks. Maybe it was easier for marketing - and they refined the process into more labelled compartments.
I like to f*ck with that by slamming things together that shouldn’t work.
Will there be more material coming? What do you guys have planned?
Hopefully, your fine readers will get behind Losin’ It and we’ll be spurred onto more recording! I’d love to do an E.P. or maybe even an album (if we could find the funding).
How important is London, and its myriad styles and culture, to your music and lyrical perspective? Do you take a lot from the people?
Well. We were all drawn to London from the outside. That’s because that it’s the kind of place where you can find like-minded people for whatever you want to do. That’s a special thing: you can’t put a price on it…even if your landlord definitely does. There’s so much humanity rubbing shoulders that you can’t help but be inspired. I think about looking through photographs; the minute I come across one with a person…it’s instantly more captivating for me.
That’s why urban spaces are interesting: they have that in spades.
You have French and American D.N.A. in the band. How much U.S. Jazz and Parisian smooth do you throw into the music?!
Ryan is a true American jazzman. He had his own trio back in Chicago playing standards - but he also loves Rock and Pop stuff. It definitely affects the groove - having someone who straddles schools like that. Martin definitely brings a French touch: Sébastien Tellier; Daft Punk, Phoenix etc.
I can hear that tone in his playing.
Was it hard getting the band together? It seems like you all come from various walks of life! How did that initiation start?
It developed over time…
Beu (Drums) and I have played in bands together since school: it’s intuitive between us really. Since then, people have come and gone around us. However; we felt like something really clicked with this group. A lot of our ideas, that felt awkward before, suddenly started making sense when we formed Late TV.
Looking back at last year; what are your impressions and best memories from that time?
We loved unleashing Citizen into the world but, really, it was playing live: it felt like we really hit our stride as a live band.
Which artists did you all grow up to? Did you all bond with music fairly young?
I (Luke) first remember music from my mum’s car. I’m talking pop like Queen, Tina Turner; Stevie Nicks, Eurythmics; Paul Simon - things like that. Then, when different branches of my family upgraded their ‘hi-fi systems'; they donated their redundant old vinyl records to me; probably to play with...but I used to listen to them. I heard Roxy Music, David Bowie - right back to my eldest uncle’s Shadows stuff and my grandad’s Louis Armstrong.
I was a weird kid - but it saved me from just liking Shaggy.
Mathew says he first remembers his dad's Ry Cooder collection - and Ryan went extra-deep and was into Cannonball Adderley and Thelonious Monk. Beu has an elder brother who got him to drum in a childhood Rock 'n' Roll covers duo when he was really young - and that got him into it.
IN THIS PHOTO: Khruangbin
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
Khruangbin just released a great album. They are playing in the U.K. in February. Locally; check out Sarah Tandy Trio for Jazz; Natalie Bouloudis for bluesy noir-ish Folk and Outer Lines (featuring the Jazz-composing skills of our man, Martin). Swipht are a band that we have played with (that I rate).
IN THIS PHOTO: Natalie Bouloudis
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
We are playing a charity gig for BACE (Building and Assisting Communities with Education) at The Antelope in Tooting on 9th February. We are Launching Losin’ It on the 24th Feb at The Finsbury (in Manor House). It’s going to be a party!
The sound there is always great.
Any New Year’s resolutions made this year? What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
To make that E.P. happen, and to play outside of London, would be cool. You know…spread our wings a bit.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Luke: Low Cut Connie - Controversy (Prince cover)
I found this band's version the other day - and it kicks ass
Evesham: The Bombay Royale – Bunty Bunty (Give Me Back My)
Ryan: Cannonball Adderley - Walk Tall
Martin: P Diddy - Bad Boy for Life
Beu: Al Wilson - The Snake
Matt: CCS - Sunrise
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