The year was 1993. I was watching Channel 4′s ‘The Word’ (it’s not a crime, honest!), dreaming of leaving the one horse town I lived in for University the following year when my speakers started crackling a sound that was like a locomotive rushing headlong towards me… ‘Supersonic’ by Oasis was blaring out and I knew I needed to follow these guys through thick and thin! Since then bands have come and gone – I’d continually listen to new sounds hoping to revisit that same raw energy feel I had that day, but nothing really had the same impact… Until last week! A good friend linked me You Tube Footage of ‘Lois and the Love’ playing live with the words ‘this sound is going to explode’. A handful of songs and twenty minutes later the goosebumps had returned and like those 19 years ago I was listening to a band standing on the edge something huge.
What grabbed me straight away was a raw live energy, a dirty psychedelic almost sleaze like sound reminding me of a mixture of classic late ’60s bands from Love, to the Stones great ’68/’69 period (Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed). The lead singer had a swagger about her reminiscent of Janis Joplin, vocals like Patti Smith and PJ Harvey. That locomotive was hitting me with full force saying – I’ve got to get on this train!
Taking the bull by the horns I decided to contact the band in the hope they may want to answer some questions for an article. Expecting a reply along the lines of ‘sorry who are you?!’ I was pleasantly surprised to get the complete opposite – both the band and their manger are completely amenable – wanting to answer as many questions as possible, inviting me down to gigs to chat further.
So just who are Lois and the Love?
They started out as childhood friends Lois Winstone (vocals) and Dean Sharp (guitar, backing vocals and keys) under the name Galileo. After meeting Paul Noble (lead guitar) round the London gig circuit he came on board helping to shape the sound. Soon Oli Longmore (bass) and Eddie Banda (drums) who in true drummer tradition to quote Lois “fell out of the sky and landed on our laps” completed the line-up. They are managed by Alice Harter from Normal Management who guided the excellent Magic Numbers.
Between them they describe their sound as a blend of – Alternative Space Rock, Rawkus Pop, Grunge, Soul and Space Cake - blending all these different roots to create an original uplifting sound. Inspirations are taken from the Beatles, “my introduction to that language” (Dean), the Stones, Nirvana, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Kate Bush, Arthur Lee’s Love… Basically“Any music that takes you somewhere and manages to make you feel like you’re in someones world” (Paul).
There’s a freedom to how they create and collaborate on each song. Lois will often have the initial lyric idea and then the band will shape the music around her words creating an energetic whole where they all have equal input on the structure and development. Sometimes it can start from “a riff, a lyric, a beat or melody line and it grows from there” (Dean). For Lois as the lyricist “everything is true, its important to sing the truth if you’re a soul singer”. She’s writing the ‘vicious circle of life’ (lost love, new love, finding god, partying!). As Paul states “people need to feel its theirs as well as ours… we don’t want to tell people what to do” and like all great songs there are “more questions than answers…”.
The key to their mind blowing live performances is them wanting the audience to have as a good time as they are, “You rehearse your ass off and you get half an hour every two weeks or so to get it all out.. you don’t want to waste that chance.. ” (Paul), “make friends with your audience before you go on – Then smash it up.” (Lois), “Whether the crowd are with us or not, we still give it 110%…” (Dean). Favorite venue’s to perform at include the large space of Koko in Camden, contrasted to the smaller more intimate Queen of Hoxton “making eye contact with the front row is the best buzz” (Paul).
The future for the band is as frantic as the gigs – an EP comes out end of July on Normal Recordings (with the assistance of Strummerville), followed by a video for the track ‘War’ and an album release end of the year. Plus of course many festivals to play over the summer.
I ask them then most important question last – The world is about to end, what song do you put on? Dean goes for the ‘Ace of Spades’ by Motorhead. “There’d be no point in hanging around waiting for it to happen, so this two-and-a-half minute long slice of audio TNT would send you out with a bang!”. ‘Cheri Cheri’ by Suicide is Paul’s happy response. Lois plumps for the musical hybrid that is Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
I urge you all to head down to The MacBeth on Hoxton Street this Thursday night, and then next Wednesday 16th to see first hand what’s got me buzzing musically after all these years. In Lois’s own words ‘come tear down the walls with us!’