Larrikin Love are like feral creatures let loose for the day. Clash meets the band in Brighton, amidst their tour supporting The Kooks. After chasing some fat seagulls in the park, they climb up drainpipes on the Brighton Pavilion and make up dance routines on the spot.
In the short walk to the pub, a ticket tout is yelling at some Chinese tourists for “spare tickets for the Kooks!” This is at three in the afternoon. We sit down outside the pub, and a kind looking lady with silver hair approaches one of the band, with hesitation. “Are you The Kooks?” she asks mildly. And after a short pause Larrikin Love unanimously reply, “Yes!” grinning and giggling sheepishly. She gasps, and runs back into her house. She returns a minute later with a notepad and pen; “Can I have your autographs please?”
The band have no qualms whatsoever in fooling this innocent woman and immediately huddle to remember the names of the members. Not being able to remember the last one, Edward signs the pad ‘New Kook’, explaining a member had left, and he was his new replacement. The lady was content enough, and began to babble on about the possibility of her son coming to the show tonight and apologetically explaining she couldn’t buy a ticket on her £40 a week salary.
“I wish he could be there,” she croons.
“Well,” says Edward, “I’m not saying it’s his fault, but he should have done more to get tickets.”
“He’s only 15!”
“Ahh,” Edward shrugs his shoulders. “So naïve.”
The silver-haired lady waddles off with her fake signatures and the band roll into the pub, Edward laughing whole-heartedly that he managed to get a Kooks lyric into the conversation.
Front man Edward is wildly unfocused in an interview situation. He transforms from a fun-loving, rowdy, and mischievous scruff-ball into a bored-looking schoolboy that has to fulfil a chore. His mousy roots pushing through his bright red hair, he fiddles with the ashtray, nervously rips up paper, and changes the subject countless times. He is hard work. But so effusive and - given the right questions - very talkative.
“My favourite drink is champagne,” he says first off. “Do you like pink champagne?” asks guitarist Micko.
Originally we were a 4-piece fighting team before music. We’d go out and kick the scum out of Twickenham.
“I don’t like pink champagne, only normal champagne,” says Edward. A debate [the first of many] has erupted. “I love it, but it gives me heartburn,” says drummer Coz. “If I drink a lot of it, it makes me like, drunk,” says Edward sarcastically. The band really act like a bunch of old school friends. Daring each other to do stupid things and teasing each other. As the conversation turns to cocktails, Edward reveals his favourite, ‘Nymph’s Piss’: “It’s champagne, vodka, meduri and lychee juice in a Martini glass. It’s great.” “Let’s get it now!” someone exclaims, and giving a disapproving look, Edward calmly explains that a tiny pub in the middle of Brighton will not have lychee juice at the bar.
When the band met, they all lived in or around Twickenham. But only Micko is actually from the town, which has been a subject of some drastic transformations of late; “They put a Starbucks there! I know it’s horrible,” Micko says. “It’s horrible! And there’s a Café Nero. It’s ruining my town, man.” A few of the members met through various martial arts sports, in a centre in Twickenham. “Originally we were like a 4-piece fighting team before music,” says Edward. Micko and Coz did karate, and achieved brown-white and brown belt respectively. Edward did Judo. “We’d go out and kick the scum out of Twickenham.” So they have something to fall back on if all else fails.
On record Larrikin Love are a helter-skelter melting pot of influences and sounds. Something you might expect to find in an enchanted forest - music made by gifted pixies and elves. And then there is Edward’s voice, which just about holds the insane shit together. Larrikin Love resonate energy and fun. Rag-doll get-up, laugh a lot, smoke occasionally, look exactly as you’d expect. Furiously protective of their music.
“We personally believe we haven’t got a British sound,” says Edward. “We are aiming for so much more, on a much bigger scale. People will learn that over the next couple of albums, but as it stands now, people really do think that we have this quintessentially English sound. And it’s not something that we are trying to not have, but…” “We just don‚t,” Miko steps in. “It’s something we don’t really want,” agrees Edward. “Can you name me a band that doesn’t have a British sound?” Micko bursts, “Asian Dub Foundation.”
“It was an accident that I was born British anyway,” says Edward bitterly. So who would you rather be? “Either American or Greek. Greece is my favourite country. I love Greek food, I like the people, I like the sea, I like the warmth, I like the cats, I like the stray dogs and I like Athens. I want to move there when I have enough money,” he says with such determination. The same determination he must have invested into the jaw-dropping debut album.
Before we finish chatting, it has been announced that two hours before the gig is supposed to begin, it has been cancelled due to an illness within The Kooks. The tout is still shouting to buy tickets, ironically, whilst Larrikin Love prepare to make the trip back to London.