An Interview with Holly Ross from The Lovely Eggs
By Victoria Holdsworth
With a sell out tour and huge acclaim for most recent album This is Eggland, it seems The Lovely Eggs, after 12 years in the music industry, have finally hatched on to something phenomenal. We caught up with one half of the lo-fi psych punk duo from Lancashire, Holly Ross for an afternoon chat about the music, the artwork and being able to live with an extension of yourself made of pizza…
Recently, you commented that your voice has been ‘utterly fucked for a while’. How is it holding up now with the tour approaching?
It’s alright [groans wearily], but I have to do bloody voice exercises every morning, which is a real fucking drag. You lot will probably not even notice that it’s fucked, because it is much better than it was, but it is still fucked. It’s like an exhaust pipe with a tiny hole in it, or whatever! You can still hear it a bit, but only if you really know your own voice, which of course I do, ’cause I’m in it all the time. So it’s not better but it’s alright, thanks.
You formed in in 2006, which saw you perform your first gig in New York. How did that come about, and what can you remember most about that experience?
Well, when we did a band, The Lovely Eggs, we decided that we didn’t want to take the route that all other bands take, and that stemmed from the general idea that I hated that if you had to be in a band, you had to do what the music industry told you. I hated the industry already from my dealings in my previous band (Angelica), so I thought I wanted to do a different band, that was doing music, that wasn’t part of that industry.
“To make friendships from the first ever gig was amazing”
You know how generally, bands just start off, just playing their home towns, and get fans there, and they build it up? We just thought, why the fuck should we do the formula that everyone else has done before us? We didn’t want to do it like that. So, we asked each other, where did we want to play? We both loved New York, so we said right, let’s play there then! We just wrote to loads of promoters and asked if they wanted to put us on, and they did. It was great! We played about five shows over there in one week, and one of our most memorable gigs was in a place called The Little Lounge, which was a real dive bar. It was like a basement of a club, and we played with a band that had just formed then, who were called White Hills, and they’re a band that are also still going 12 years down the line, and we are still really good friends with them. To make friendships from the first ever gig was amazing, and to find like-minded people – sometimes you can’t find that on your doorstep, do you know what I mean?
For those who don’t know, you are married to the other Lovely Egg, Dave. What are the pros and cons or pitfalls of this, if any? Do you experience having both a working relationship and a daily married relationship? Any artistic differences?
Erm… I think there’s more benefits really than pitfalls. We get to spend all of our time together, which is pretty good if you’re married. You should want to do that or just don’t bother getting wed [laughs], and because we have a five-year-old little boy, we get to take him around with us too. We spend a lot of time together as a family. If myself or Dave were just in the band on our own, we would be away a lot from the family, so we just do everything together as a team, and it’s absolutely brilliant.
How does the little one like touring?
Oh my god, he loves it! He gets spoilt rotten, not just by us, but by everybody. We stop at services and he gets a new comic, and he thinks he’s a little rock star or something [laughs]. I hope he continues to love it, because it’s what we have to do, and we want to keep touring until we can’t do it anymore.
” I would like it to be less hard sometimes”
There are definitely more pros than cons though. I suppose the con is, is sometimes you just want to go off and just get pissed or whatever, and you can’t really because you are all in it together. If we were in separate bands, then we might be able to do that a bit more, like I’d have my going out night, and Dave would have his. But it’s harder work in a way because you’re both always gigging separately then, and you can’t swap that work load, I guess. But it doesn’t matter, it’s fine and it works for all of us.
Such is your allure, The Lovely Eggs albums seem to sell out before they are even released now. You have countless famous followers, however, you still have this underground cult like status. Is that a blessing or a curse?
I think you’ve got to count it as a blessing, or I think we would be like spoilt fucking brats if we weren’t grateful for what we’ve got. I think sometimes what we do is hard work, and it feels like other people get the same as what we do but they just get it a lot easier [laughs] and it seems massively bloody hard graft for us, and other bands don’t do half as much and everything falls in to their laps. They know people who know people that can sort stuff out for them. That is part of the magic of it though I suppose. We just accept how it is, because it can’t ever be any other way for us, and to try and fight against being a cult band, if that’s what some people like to call us, then that’s what we are, but to try and change that, then you’ll end up miserable. It’s quite nice just to say, what will be will be! But I would like it to be less hard sometimes.
The Lovely Eggs have got some of the best album covers around, who comes up with the ideas for them?
Well, usually it’s us. Our last album cover we worked on with our very good friend, Casey Raymond, who has done a lot of designs for us before, and it just depends, because for this one, we had an idea of what we wanted, and we knew the colours that we wanted, and the theme of what we wanted and how we wanted it aesthetically to look generally, and we talked that through with Casey and he’ll come up with an idea of his own, so we’ll either go along with that or do something else. So sometimes it’s the artist, sometimes it’s us, and sometimes it’s a mixture of both really.
Dave Friedman produced your last album, This Is Eggland, after you previously produced all of your own stuff, what was the reason for the change this time?
We always wanted to work with him as a producer, but we never thought it would ever be a reality. We were drunk one night sat around in our kitchen, and I said to Dave, wouldn’t it be good if he could produce our record, and Dave said “He never will, he’d never work with someone like us” and my response was that you don’t know if you don’t ask. I tried to find an email for him and, of course, he doesn’t put his email on the internet to stop bands like us from getting in touch [laughs]. So I found a phone number for him, and then rang him and I got through to two wrong numbers, the first a Chinese take-away, and the second time it was a garage, and on the third time I got through to the studio answerphone and I left a message for him, gave him our email address and told him that we would really love to work with him, and produce our album, and we heard nothing for a year, and I thought fuck it, it’s just another of those daft fucking pranks that I’ve done. Then we got an email back from him saying that he had listened to his answerphone, checked out your band, I think you’re great and I want to work with you. We were just like, “What the fuck!” that’s brilliant, we’ll have that!
You are playing the Brudenell Social Club again in Leeds, which you have said is one of your favourite places to play. Why is that?
Because we like the old school working men’s, social club kinda vibe, and there isn’t that many places like that left intact, so we love that element of it. We love the people who work there, especially Nathan and Adam, who are both really down to earth people, which is very important to us, not to work with twats. We need to work with people who are lovely, and it’s just a really welcoming atmosphere, where the venue is great and the people who come always have a laugh. Our Leeds fans are always on our wavelength, so we always have a good craic, so with all those ingredients combined together, make it somewhere that has become one of our favourite places to play.
“Maybe a garlic bread bicep”
How is the music scene on the other side of the Pennines these days?
It’s alright. It’s picking up. To be fair, we hardly ever go out anymore, we kind of keep ourselves to ourselves quite a bit, but even if we did it would be like a bit of a busman’s holiday for us half of the time, especially when we’ve come back from touring, we just want to stay at home and stuff.
We have just announced today that Mush, who are a Leeds band, will be joining us on our tour, so they will be playing at the Brudenell as well. We also have a performance poet who has just finished at The Edinburgh Festival, called Rob Auton, who is also a friend of ours who is dead funny, and he will be coming out with us too, so it should be a good mixed up bill, and a good night with a variety of stuff on. That’s what we try and put together when we are touring.
Have you been working on any new stuff recently?
Not really no. We have had a really mega busy summer, playing gigs and festivals, but that is what’s on the cards for the rest of this year and all of next, working on new stuff, so these dates that we are doing this time, they are gonna be our last dates for a while in the UK. So, if people want to see us play, then now would be a good time to do it, as we won’t be around for a bit.
Finally, you have worked with some pretty prominent people in music over the years, however none more famous than Mr. John Shuttleworth, who appeared in one of your videos as the man with the sausage roll thumb. If you had to pick one part of you that was made out of food, which part would it be and what food would you choose?
What a hard fucking question! Oh my god, just one part of me? But you’d eat it wouldn’t you and it’d be gone?
Well it depends if it grows back or not I suppose.
Let’s think, what do I like? Pizza! It would have to be an extension to my body, because I wouldn’t want to eat my own body part [laughs]. The sausage roll thumb thing was really because people do have some funny looking body parts. There isn’t a body part that’s shaped like a pizza though, so I can’t give a sensible answer to that question really [laughs]. Plus, where would my extension be? So many questions! Maybe a garlic bread bicep or something [laughs]. I just don’t know!
The Lovely Eggs play Leeds Brudenell Social Club on October 19