Originally interviewed in 2016.
Lacey are an alternative rock band hailing from Nottingham UK. The band consists of Graham Turner (lead vocals and bass), Josh Lewin (guitar and vocals), Pete Maksymiw (guitar), David Pearson (drums and vocals).
Lacey were formed in 2011 and have been creating an insane amount of music ever since. I recently talked to their Drummer Dave after their latest E.P release, 'I Don't Owe The World A Thing' to talk about their music, their schedule, touring with Bowling For Soup and football...
Question 1) After forming back in late 2010, You (Lacey) you wasted no time! You set straight to work at writing and recording music and wrote and recorded two E.P’s within the first year of setting up the band. The aptly named “What Use Is Wasting Time” and “Chapters” were both released in 2012. Was the writing and recording process easier than you expected when you first started up? Or once the band formed did the ideas just begin to flow?
Wow you've done your homework! Back when we started we actually made a conscious decision to write for at least a year before we went and recorded anything. We've all been in bands before and it's really easy to get swept up in the excitement of songs coming together, but it takes time to get over the politeness of being in a new band - it's really important to be able to be critical of yourself and each other to get the best out of a song, and in a new band that takes a bit of time, it's all very courteous. So yeah, we really just wanted to knock out the first few 'new band' songs and find our feet so there was consistency. I listened to that first E.P for the first time in years the other day, it sounds like old Get Up Kids and Taking Back Sunday demos, like with all the call and response stuff and it being all frantic, which I love, because they're both a collective influence for us and I think even now you can still hear bits of it in our newer work, so we've stuck to our roots as we've grown.
Question 2) Very few bands experiment so early in their career. Both “What Use Is Wasting Time” and “Chapters” include powerful vocals, meaningful lyrics, pounding drums, deep bass and ambitious guitar work for a band at the very beginning of you career. Was it the intention of the band to always to push the boundaries of what you could achieve and experiment? Or did that come naturally in the creation process?
It was all really natural as we were still finding our sound. What I like about those first two E.P's is that nothing was 'considered' or 'we should do this or that', and not that our newer stuff is, but there's so much in them that we hear now and say 'that part is so fucking ridiculous, why did we put that in?! Actually, it sounds awesome!' There's a song on Chapters called 'A Question of Etiquette' - I remember jamming that at rehearsal, and just for a laugh I put like 4-bar drum fills all over it, and I remember Graz going 'YES Dave! Put that on everything!' so that song is literally just one continuous drum fill. It's silly really, but I like it because it isn't for anyone other than us, and we thought that was cool (it's not - it's way too many drum fills!)
Over the years we've been lucky enough to have input and guidance from some really good, influential people, and the jist of all of it has been that when you're writing music you have to serve the song. Everything has to bring something to the song. 4-bar drum fills or guitar solos probably don't do that, so we've reigned it in over the years - but that's more to do with us growing as songwriters. That's not to say that we don't try to be different or take risks, I think we just try to think of more creative ways of making something sound interesting dynamically rather than excessive.
Question 3) As self-proclaimed “football lovers” what was your take on England’s 2016 Euro campaign? Do you think your old 5-a-side team would have actually beaten Iceland?
Man, it was terrible wasn't it. I think England knew that though, you could tell after that game that they were embarrassed and aware of how bad it was. They just looked like strangers. I think the way Ireland and Wales fought for every result was a fine example to England. The English probably expect results based on their individual ability, and there's so much of that, but they just can't play together. Hopefully it'll be a kick up the arse. There was just no team spirit. Iceland were great though, what a story - I wouldn't begrudge them that win as they showed all the heart in that game. Our 5-a-side team was really, really bad, I doubt we'd have beaten Iceland, but we'd have probably given that England team a bloody good game.
Question 4) 2016 is shaping up to be another HUGE year for Lacey including the release of your newest E.P “I Don’t Owe The World A Thing”. If the reader hasn’t heard of Lacey before how would you describe yourself and your music?
2016 has been nuts so far, with the E.P, the Bowling for Soup tour in February which was amazing and the up-coming Motion City Soundtrack farewell tour - it's been amazing, it's great to see things progressing.
In a nutshell we're a four-piece alternative rock band. We're all about big choruses and hooks, and I guess lately - enough melancholy to tug on your heart strings but enough drive to keep you tapping along.
Question 5) It has been just over five months since the release of the latest e.p “I Don’t Owe The World A Thing”. However, fans probably won’t have to wait long for new music. Your musical output is genuinely amazing and commendable. Do you actually have time for anything else? Aren’t you afraid of burning yourselves out?
We don't expect success to come to us by any other means than hard graft, so we are always working on this band, whether it's writing or meeting to outline what we want to do next or booking shows or creating graphics and videos and merch in my case, we all have a role within the band outside of what instrument we play, and we've become a well-oiled machine. You can't stand still. We've always tried to keep momentum up with writing, because we know that we're constantly developing as songwriters and our sound is always evolving. If we take too long off to just rehearse the existing stuff for tours or whatever then we can get a little bit jaded with it, so having new stuff keeps it all interesting and keeps us creative, and more often than not it affects how we approach our existing songs too and we find ourselves making changes to them. We're not sure when we'll have something new out again, but we do know it has to be the best work we've ever done, nothing less will do, so we're prepared to take our time over it to get it right. We're not going to rush it.
Question 6) All of your previous work shows massive ambition for a band so early in their career. Many of your songs have massive anthem feels and sounds that could easily inspire stadium singalongs. Ambition oozes from your work but what is the scale of ambition for the band? Are you genuinely going to take over the world?
Ah thanks man! Very kind of you to say so. We actually played an arena once, I can't say it felt uncomfortable so we'd happily go back! We are ambitious, I think we all know what we want out of this and knowing our goals helps us work together to get there. All we really want is to be able to sustain ourselves doing this - touring, writing and recording and basically getting our name out there by playing as many places as we can. We love doing this, I am always blown away whenever we play hundreds of miles from home and there are strangers singing our songs back to us, and I'll never get used to it. There's no feeling like it. World domination sounds good to us.
Question 7) 2016 also saw the release of the music video for your single “Shadow”. A beautiful video with amazing cinematography. What was the experience of shooting the music video like for you all? Are shooting videos something you all enjoy?
It's a real mix shooting videos because it's essentially miming over and over and over again to your own song, so it can be exhausting and a lot of work, but the result is always worth it. Shadow was great, the Burning Chariot crew in Wales really took care of us, they knew exactly what they were doing which makes it easier for us. I love the whole True Detective feel of that video.
Question 8) Fans are a huge aspect of Lacey. From simple regular Facebook updates for the fans to the fact that fans funded your first full album “Under The Brightest Lights” it’s obvious you and your fans have a good connection. Do you feel having a good connection with your fans is a key part of a successful band?
It sounds like a cliché but we would be nothing without our fans, so yeah I'd absolutely say that you need to have a good connection with fans to make things happen because they are the people who make it happen. They give us a platform to keep doing this. Our fans are so tenacious and loyal as well, forever spreading the word about us to their friends and sharing everything we do far and wide. It kind of validates what we do as well, the fact that these people react so strongly to stuff and get behind us, it just confirms to us that we're doing the right thing - it's always amazing to us to see people singing along or wearing a shirt or even getting tattoos of lyrics or Lacey graphics, we never imagined it being like that. The Pledge thing was unreal, we were optimistic with the campaign, but people literally invested in our music and what we're doing. It was really humbling for the four of us.
Question 9) You have toured with many big bands in the past such as “Bowling For Soup” and it’s only a matter of time until you hit the big time. However, if you had the choice now to headline any festival which would it be and why? Also what would Lacey’s band rider consist of?
Haha, well fingers crossed. I think Reading & Leeds is like the Holy Grail for bands like us. We all grew up going to Leeds Festival, so it'd be amazing to do that one day. If you can get on that bill you know you're doing the right thing.
People always ask us about our rider I don't know if we have a diva-ish look to us or something, we honestly don't ask for much. Just water and a couple of beers for after the show usually - we're just not very rock and roll. Who knows, if things blow up maybe we'll add white lilies and swans to our rider like Mariah Carey does. Or puppies to play with. If we had puppies on our rider we'd never make it on stage.
Our fans always bring us stuff, we get a lot of Maoam because I said I liked it in an interview once, Pete HATES it, he loves chocolate but he never gets it, which is hilarious. Haribo is always a safe bet!
Question 10) As you sing in the amazing track “The Last Time” off of your debut album, “This won’t be the last time”, so what is next for the band and what can we expect over the coming months from Lacey?
We'll be putting out another video for a track from the last E.P pretty soon, then we've got the Motion City Soundtrack Farewell tour in August. We can't wait for that, they're one of my all-time favourite bands so it's a dream come true for me to be part of their big send-off, and some of our favourite UK bands are also on the bill - The Xcerts and Dinosaur Pile Up, who are both absolutely incredible. We can't wait to watch them every night. Those shows are bound to sell out so people should get tickets fast and get down early to catch our set!
After that we've got a show with our pals Bowling For Soup in Dublin which will be amazing, we love those guys. We'll have some other stuff to announce shortly too. Like I said, we're working really hard on writing a lot at the minute, so we'll see what that turns into. Ideally we're talking about a second album. Stay tuned for that.