Live Talking - The Laurel Collective

The experimental pop types on live matters...
The Laurel Collective
Experimental avant-folk-pop sextet (ish – most pigeonholes are off limits) The Laurel Collective craft the kind of captivating music that, the first time you hear it, you spend several minutes after it’s finished trying to work out exactly how it was stitched together so perfectly. With myriad elements at play, the mixture shouldn’t work – but work it certainly does, and Clash is a big fan of what we’ve heard to date.

Having already had the London-based band play our Lock Tavern gig a few months ago, we’re now welcoming the group back onto a Clash bill for a ‘full-band’ set at the next Saturday Social @ RoTa, on May 23. The gig’s a free-entry event, open to over-18s, and features the also-particularly-wonderful Friendship, Ungdomskulen and worriedaboutsatan on the bill. Look for further information on these pages soon, and find the event on Facebook HERE. Is that the Fearne Cotton who’s coming, d’ya think?

Vocalist Bob Tollast answered our Live Talking questions ahead of said gig; look for more Laurel Collective goodness on ClashMusic.com in the coming weeks – we’ve something pretty special up our sleeves! But, for now…

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The Laurel Collective – ‘Vuitton Blues’


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Are you a band that records to tour, or that tours to record? Or do you not see the two as separate parts of what you do?
I think I do see them as separate parts. It’s very hard to capture the feel of live music on record - some music fails totally to do that, but still sounds great. It’s a weird one. Look at a band like Deerhoof – they’re just incredible in both senses.

Do you feel you translate well as a live act, perhaps better than on record, or have live shows been a bigger learning process than writing/recording?
I think in our live shows it’s possible that I might jump on your head, which is impossible to capture on record, with the current technology... It’s all a learning process, though, which will go on forever. It’s a weird process because despite all the learning, your aim is always simplicity. We recorded, mixed and mastered our latest effort ourselves, partly because we wanted to, partly because we are broke.

To date, what show stands out in your memory as the best you’ve played?
Possibly the Camden Crawl – 300 totally pissed-up Camden Crawlers is always a good crowd, plus we felt good as a band.

What’s the best show (by another band) that you’ve been to? Perhaps not ever, but certainly of late.
Recently we’ve spent so much time actually making music, it’s hard to see new bands. But I was awestruck by Micachu at the ICA and Deerhoof at ULU.

And what about the worst show? By yourselves… is there a venue or town you’ll happily never return to?
I think it would be sad to say never, as a good gig could be in somebody’s front room. Errr... bad gigs back in the day were normally because of me being drunk. Without naming names, there have been gigs in the middle of nowhere, where the suicidal alcoholic promoter thinks his venue is the 02 and treats you like shit, where nobody comes, the PA is shit, it smells like shit, you play to three people and get 20 quid. You’re not in a proper band until you've done that on a perfectly good Saturday night several times, miles and miles from home.

Say you’ve the budget to put on your ultimate four-band bill, featuring yourselves – who plays and in what order? No bringing anyone back from the dead, here, but defunct bands can count.
Well, we are putting on a secret festival in a forest later this year and so far the line up is Pete and the Pirates, Micachu and the Shapes, Conan and Alessi's Ark. Fantasy line up? Speaking for the band it’s probably Radiohead, Micachu and the Shapes, Deerhoof and Jeffrey Lewis... but can I fit a re-formed Pavement in there too??

How does the band keep itself entertained on the road? Any bus games you break out for motorway gridlock?
We just sing, "the wheels on the bus go round and round" over and over, for hours. It’s amazing!

What tips would you give a new band about to embark on their first ‘proper’ tour?
Take enough clean laundry, and then double it.

Have you listened to the other acts playing on May 23? Thoughts?
Worriedaboutsatan sound like a lot of fun, and apart from the awful name, Ungdomskulen actually make very good music and we’re looking forward to playing with everyone on the bill.

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The Laurel Collective – ‘International Love Affair’


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Find The Laurel Collective on MySpace HERE. Find details of their Clash Saturday Social show on May 23 HERE.

Keep your eyes on ClashMusic.com in the next few weeks for special download action...!

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