The Very Lazy Sundays is a misnomer, New Boots imagines, as there is nothing slack concerning the logistics of having band members spread out between Northampton, Hertfordshire and Kent. Duncan McLaughlan aka Tramp D’Addy is a busy ShoeTown man, and he gets a moment to shine here with their new EP ‘Love…a Lot’. New Boots keeps the work rate up by asking them to tell us all about it.
Who is in the band?
Diyar Abdullah – guitar and lead vocals
George Harvey – guitars
Pete White – Cajon and backing vocals
Duncan McLaughlan – bass and backing vocals
How did you guys get together?
Diyar and George founded The Lazy Sundays in 2010. The band went through a couple of incarnations before Pete and Dunk joined in 2017. George and Diyar have been the crux of the band since inception, turning Diyar’s poems and ideas into songs. Meanwhile, Pete and Dunk had been gigging together since 2013, and met George through mutual friends. He asked them to do some backing vocals on a few songs they were recording, which evolved into George and Diyar asking them to join them.
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
We’re often compared to having a similar sound to Paul Simon, Eels, Jack Johnson, and The Streets. Our songs cover a lot of different styles and influences, but the common thread is storytelling with groove, hooks, melody and harmonies
Tell us everything about this new EP.
The first EP, ‘Live…a Little’, from January 2018, was recorded and mixed in a day, and we’d recorded it exactly as we’d play it at gigs. Essentially a well-produced demo. We knew these new songs needed a little more panache in the production if we wanted to get them played on the radio, so we booked two days to record and another two days to mix. We were really lucky to have Mark McCann at The Lodge Studios in Northampton producing us. He spent a lot of time – even before we got into the studio – listening to our influences and sussing out how they got their sound. It was a real education watching him listen to Simon & Garfunkel and discovering how their sound on ‘The Boxer ‘was achieved – what mics they used, how the instruments and voices were blended. He was really excited about recreating classic analogue recording processes in the Lodge’s studio, and the results are fantastic.
We played everything live as a group – the guitars, cajon, bass and Diyar’s vocals, which gives the overall organic feel. No click tracks, no autotune, all mics and no DI – your standard recording setup for 1969! Mark had mic’d us up so perfectly we barely needed any post production to the core performance. We recorded the core tracks in a day at the Lodge, and spent the following day adding extra instrumentation – the piano and mandolin on ‘Sometimes A Broken Heart’, the B52’s-ish electric guitar lick at the end of ‘Higher Love’, and the eerie backward-backing-vocals on ‘Café de Paris’. We wanted to keep the vibe of a live performance, so were really careful not to overstretch or go too Pet Sounds with the overdubs. Essentially the sound of the EP is us playing live – if we had a budget for a mandolinist, pianist and a couple of extra backing singers.
As for the songs on ‘Love…a Lot’, we’d written nearly a dozen songs since the first EP, many of which had become part of our live set. However we’d opted for four songs we knew were good but hadn’t yet road-tested. ‘Blow Wind Blow’ is a lullaby we put together in an AirBnB we stayed in when we toured around the East Coast last Spring. ‘Higher Love’ reflects our love of soul and gospel, like a Stax rhythm section without the horns, documenting the beginnings of a love affair, whilst simultaneously lambasting London’s property prices (”Rare find/Circle Line/Two stops/Paid bucks/Bought yourself a bloody shoebox!”). But the track we really wanted to take our time with during the recording was ‘Sometimes a Broken Heart’, about the healing process after a relationship ends. It’s probably our best group performance so far, and we’ll release it as a single once we’ve made a video for it.
What are your live shows like?
We absolutely love playing live. We’ve played to hundreds at festivals, we’ve played to tens at kebab houses, and there’s no difference to us; it’s the challenge of connecting with the audience. Though we probably gig a lot less than most bands, we try and make each show unique and special. We played a show last week with Space; our first big gig since we’d hit the studio. We played to hundreds of people, and it was just as raw and intimate as if we were playing in a tiny club. Diyar is a great frontman, and though he’s perched on a stool most of the time he actually stood up during the rap section of ‘Higher Love’, which was hilarious for us, and totally galvanised the crowd. We usually open our shows with an acapella song from the first EP: three-part harmony singing without a safety net is always daunting, but it’s a great attention-grabber.
Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
Not yet! Dunk runs the monthly Open Mic’s at The Black Prince, and also the Sunday Acoustic sessions that run throughout the summer in the Black Prince garden. He always gets a mixture of poets, singer/songwriters, story-tellers and instrumentalists to play with us, and we’re looking forward to playing there over the summer on August 17th. We’re also really stoked to be involved with Kontra Roots, who put on some great live music events around Northamptonshire featuring local, national and international artists.
What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Recording at The Lodge the second time around was a real game changer for us. It was when we realised we’d come a long way as a band since our last visit. The first playback of ‘Sometimes a Broken Heart’ was a proper “Eureka!” moment!
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
George: The Macabees – Marks to Prove It
Dunk: The Soft Boys – The John Peel Sessions
Diyar: Roxette – Don’t Bore Us, Get to the Chorus
Pete: The Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up the Girl
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
You mean aside from having Blue Plaques erected to each of us in Northampton, Tring, Reading and Ashford? Firstly we want to spread the word about our EP as widely as possible, make a video for ‘Sometimes a Broken Heart’ and release it as a single in the spring. We’ve got loads more songs in the pipeline, and can’t wait to get back to The Lodge again. We can’t wait to play to a ShoeTown crowd again, either!
Love…a Lot is out via BandCamp, or on CD from the band directly