Interview: Let's Buy Happiness
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North East new heads Lets Buy Happiness have started to turn heads. Already signed to a London based record label, the five-some consisting of Sarah Hall (Lead vocalist), James Hall (Guitar & Vocals), Graeme Martin (Guitar), Mark Brown (Bassist) and James King (Drummer) released debut EP ‘No Hot Ashes’ (2009), followed by first single ‘Six Wolves’ (2010) leading up to their latest track ‘Fast Fast’.
Ever progressing, the band have played Glastonbury and Evolution festival, featured in NME, Drowned in Sound, Q magazine and The Guardian, gained exposure and airplay from Huw Stephens (Radio 1),
Tom Robinson (BB6 music), XFM and Amazing Radio along with supporting the likes of The Futureheads, The Temper Trap and Sky Larkin on tour.
The band are now set for an explosive rise in success, earning their way onto the ‘BBC introducing’ stage at Radio 1’s big weekend in Carlisle, along with being on the forefront of many music loving thirsty tongues.
Heading back to the beginning, the band began as an original four-piece consisting of the two James', Mark and Graeme, forming through mutual friends, until they realised something vital was missing. Ignoring the cliché of sibling rivalry, Sarah, sister of guitarist James, appeared to be the hidden gem they needed to sing towards their success.
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When the band embarked on a series of gigs throughout the UK, I grabbed them for an interview at The Cockpit, Leeds and skipping all the small talk, I continued by asking them where their original and unusual name of ‘Lets Buy Happiness’ came from?
Graeme Martin said, “Pretty much everyone decided on it altogether, you can distinguish the name and it’s open to a lot of different interpretations. You can take it how you want and think different things from it.”
When listening to the sound of Lets Buy Happines', it is hard to tie their sound down . Their music features pure voice, glacial tones and upbeats, which make them similar to ‘easy listening’.
“We don’t really fit into one category. We have a lot of influences from different genres.” says Graeme. “When we write our songs, someone will think of a small idea and we will all add our input into it.”
So who are these influences? I wonder and hear you ask. “Vocally for lyrics, lead singer Sarah takes a lot of inspiration from Animal Collective.” says Graeme.
“Musically, the band take a lot of inspiration from artists such as Death Cab for Cutie, The National, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Bright Eyes. But everyone in the band has a different type of music taste.”
Playing Glastobury was definite highlight for the up-and-coming band, “Glastonbury was the best experience I’ve ever had in my life, it was surreal, amazing.” says Graeme.
Even for a punter, watching the bands and artists at Glastonbury can be described as exciting and overwhelming, therefore performing on stage could amplify the two feelings to extreme levels, especially when none of the band had ever experienced a festival before.
James Hall explains: “That was our first time ever at a festival and playing a festival. It was an amazing experience for all of us. It just totally launched the band, because we had been playing gigs for quite a while, that was the biggest by far, but I dunno, when you play on stage it’s just a totally different thing to what you thought it would be. At the time we were like 17/18 years old and it was just crazy, the maddest thing ever.”
Every artist or band has an ideal individual they would love to see at the front row of one of their performances and the same goes for Lets Buy Happiness.
“I would love to see Connor Oberst (Singer of Bright Eyes) watching me perform. He’s an inspiration,” explains Graeme, whilst James goes for a leftfield dance artist from the Ninja Tune stable “Too hard, too hard erm, Bonobo.”
But, who better to give advice to aspiring bands from experience, travelling on the long hard road to success, dedicating time and determination to a career within the music industry.
Graeme offers his advice,“Don’t rush into anything. It’s a long race, not a sprint.” A quote of wisdom from Graeme there.
Finally, when asked to sum up the experience in three words, the band gave somewhat of a very different answer.
Bassist Mark Brown butts in: “Sexy party time?”