How did the band originally form?
Larkins is made up of me, Josh Noble (Vocalist), Dom Want (guitarist), Henry Beach (bassist) and Joe Gaskell (Drummer). We’re all from this little town called Glossop, which is about half an hour outside of Manchester. I’ve known Dom since I was 11 years old. We were the only two kids in school that did music. When everyone else wanted to play football, we were just into music. Then a couple of years later when we went to college and we wanted to start our band, we went back to our old school and asked, is there anyone else here that does music? And there was Henry. Glossop is a white conservative town and there was Henry, this black dude with dreads who played bass. He said, yeah and we saidcome and join the band man, it’s going to be sick! We then moved into Manchester and grew up playing music here and there and it all kind of just spread.
How has life for the Larkins changed since we’ve been in lockdown?
When lockdown hit, we were touring America. We had just got to New York and then we were asked to come home by our label. They basically said, you really need to go home now otherwise you’re going to get stuck in New York and it was already getting crazy out there. So that changed a lot because we were due to be out in the US for another four weeks. Then, our April tour got postponed till December. So, from a live events point of view, it’s just gone really quiet and we have obviously had to move out of our studio. We moved everything into my bedroom, so our studios in my bedroom right now.
How have you guys managed to stay creative during this lockdown?
As a band and on a personal level, it’s very strange because we’re not together. We’re used to being together every single day. So, on that level, it has been hard. It’s also been pretty tricky mentally. I feel like we’re becoming very starved of what we enjoy. Music has been the one thing where we’ve always felt confident. So not being allowed to do it right now feels very, very strange. It’s crazy from a financial perspective for people in entertainment as well because a lot of our years in terms of finance are based around touring.Aside from that we’ve been dropping stuff on socials really rapidly and we dropped a website last night, which was cool. So, we’re just trying to stay creative in different ways.
So, let’s talk “Are we having fun yet?”, what was the inspiration behind this song?
When I was writing, it was the week of the Brexit vote. I was spending a lot of time in London and one night I got on the tube, the Victoria line from Euston to Finsbury park on my way to the studio. I sat opposite this couple that were just bitterly arguing with each other. It was so loud, it was taking over the carriage but then as the train pulled off, there was this huge noise as train screeched against the rails. The screech was so loud that they just couldn’t hear each other anymore. So, they just had to sit and wait. This is what inspired the opening line of the song “He waits for the sound of the train to stop.”From then it was like this beautiful pause and perspective, and it was kind of just me wandering around London and just thinking to myself, are we having any fun here? Is this what life’s about? Initially it started with inspiration from London, and then when I got to LA it transformed into this LA sound that felt really cool.
Can we expect an EP/Album from Larkins anytime soon?
Well, we’ve still not done our debut album yet and it feels like the pressure is on to get it right. So, it felt like AWHAFY was a nice signpost to show the kind of band we are, where we’re at and what we want to do. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I mean, there were so many songs kind of ready to go, but it feels like it needs to be a bit more conceptual and it just feels like this is the start of that. It’s crazy because when the lockdown happened at first, I thought we wouldn’t be able to release AWHAFY let alone an album. But now we’ve done it in lockdown and it’s probably gone the best it’s ever gone. So, it seems like people are crying out for new music, new stuff and new art. So maybe it’s a good time. I don’t know.
We Love how interactive you guys are with your fans! What has been the most memorable fan encounter you’ve had?
Oh my God, there’s so many! I remember once, we did this lyric video called “Make You Better”. It was all about this idea of summertime and what summertime meant to me. It was super personal and I never really wanted to talk about it but in the lyric video there was 0.5 seconds where it pops up and just says “Summertime” in brackets. It was something I added really late. Just as a creative thing, something for me, and a fan came up to me and asked, what does summertime mean?I remember just breaking down and thinking, oh my God, what the f**k? It was so weird how someone had noticed just that little creative touch that meant so much to me.Also, people bring us stuff all the time, which is weird, I remember there was a stage when people used to bring us cakes. There would be this whole debate afterwards, like should we eat this or is it really weird.
What advice would you give to any young musicians who aspire to gain your levels of success?
When we were growing up, Dom and I used to go to go to four or five shows a week. We’d try to squeeze in the back or pretend we were one of the bands so that we’d get in because it was always 18+ nights. All I would do is make notes.Bands sometimes go to watch other bands and just say, yeah, they sound pretty good. I’m like, no, you’re not getting it! You’ve got to watch everything, from the way the amp is set up, the way their merch stand looks, to the way that the sound guys are working with them. Even the way they interact on stage, you’ve got to take note of everything. It’s not good enough to just have great music now.So, I’d just encourage bands to go to as many shows as they can, enjoy them, but also really think about what it is that’s good about it, because you can learn so much from a live band.
If you could collaborate with any other musician, who would it be and why?
For me as a writer, it’s always been a goal to learn from Bon Iver. I’d also love for us to collaborate with Haim. I feel like we’d create such a bop. It would be such a vibe to get in the studio with the Haim girls.
What have Larkins got planned for life after lockdown?
Hopefully, we will get to still do our tour in December. Then I imagine we’re going to spend a lot of 2021 in the United States because I feel like that’s where we need to be right now. I want to be writing in LA. I want to finish off the record. But the thing for us as well as that, and for me personally, as a designer is trying to get Animals in Costume to a place where we feel really confident about the new clothing line and just and are able to make it even more sustainable.
Words: Salwa Rodgers