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Real Lies Interview: Go Out, Come Home; Rinse, Repeat

Rob Ash spoke to Real Lies, ahead of their debut album release, about what drives their urban sound, the state in which it exists and the trio's upcoming dates scheduled for October.

Ben Smith

Date published: 15th Oct 2015

Images: Real Lies 

Initially started as a means to occupy hungover afternoons that punctuated house parties they would throw, London based trio Real Lies has become way more than something to fill the void left by Sunday afternoon boredom.  

Their imminent album release on Marathon Artists, Real Life, is a homage to nocturnal London with a sound impossible to pin down from the Balearic inflected ‘Seven Sisters’ to the ambient electronica of ‘North Circular’. A fixed genre seems inconsequential.    

One of the main problems that new bands face is the endless lists of comparisons to artists who have come before them. Real Lies are no different but these supposed similarities bemuse a band that is much more comfortable contextualising and plotting their own musical lineage.

Indeed, the title ‘Dab Housing’ is a subtle, tongue-in-cheek reference to post-punk outfit Pere Ubu’s seminal album Dub Housing. 

They are certainly no revivalists creating music that recalls all sorts of things, the anticipation of a night out, the inevitable fallout and the subsequent morning after retrospectives that follow.

The combination of upbeat club rhythms with a droll vocal delivery perfectly encapsulates this pining for a release that only the weekend can provide.  

Having grown up in provincial towns just outside London, their sound demonstrates the magnetic pull the capital possesses with its lure of bright lights and late night capering. Real Lies started on these peripheries and it is here where they intend to stay.  

You are often compared with the likes of New Order and Pet Shop Boys who like yourselves were clearly informed by the music they heard in clubs. But do you feel this is where the comparison ends? 

We love those bands but we’re not really influenced by them, they’re so ubiquitous in British music that to straight up rip them off would be infantile. But I suppose there are some comparisons, in that they were making British pop music influenced by music they were hearing when they went out, which is more or less what we do. 

A theme that is central to the album, particularly the track ‘One Club Town’, seems to be that of suburban longing for the big city. Do you feel the effect of growing up in satellite towns around London has played a large part in the music you create? 

Definitely. I think all three of us always felt growing up that we were on the periphery of something much bigger, and that you wouldn't feel full until you’d plugged yourself into that.

I can remember getting my first taste of city all-nighters as a 16-year old getting the last train to d’n’b nights at places like Heaven or Herbal, then staying up and getting the first train back. Moving here was something that always seemed inevitable.

The album seems to simultaneously inhibit both the beginning and end of a night out. Do you think it is important that your music exists in this in-between and slightly ambiguous state?

It was written in the gaps between the two. Most of the songs were half-written on hungover afternoons, when we still had the sounds from the night before bouncing around our heads, then we’d go out, come home; rinse, repeat.

You end up building layers of memory and I think you can hear that in the music.

A lot of the time in the suburbs, or the outskirts or whatever, life exists in this 9-5 pattern, then everyone goes mental at the weekend. In cities, it’s less defined. You have to build your own grids. And with this in mind where do you envision your songs be listened to? 

Night drives round the North Circular, headphones on the bus on the way to school, 5am walks home on your own. 

A lot of your releases have carried with them a mobile number in which you have actively encouraged people to call. Can you explain the reason for doing this and what is the strangest message you have received? 

When we first started people accused us of doing the distant or anonymous thing, which we actually thought was such a cop out for people making social music like ours. The hotline seemed like the quickest way to make a proper connection with people who liked us. It wasn’t some desire to be anonymous, the opposite in fact. 

The best text we ever received was from a kid in Feltham young offenders institute, who said he liked the band and eventually asked if he could do a remix. He did, we released it under the name Bey LF and, depending on when he gets out, he might produce our second album. 

You are going out on tour in the coming weeks with your friends The Rhythm Method. Firstly, are you looking forward to it? 

It’s gonna shake the country to its core. Everyone thinks it’s a London thing at the minute, which is bullshit, so we can’t wait to get out there and show some love to Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, wherever we can. 

Next month the roles are reversed and you are supporting Foals on their tour. What are the major differences between a support slot and a headline show? 

No idea, these are our first ever support slots. The venues look amazing. We can’t wait to play them. 

The majority of the video for seven sisters is set in People’s Club were you held your own night that saw a whole host of major DJ’s play in a much more intimate setting to what they are used to. How did you go about booking these acts and how important was People’s Club itself in influencing your sound? 

We started off with residents – our mates, basically – but soon people just wanted to play there ‘cos of the reputation and the vibe that we were building. Peoples Club was influential insofar as it allowed us to keep having positive shared experiences with our friends. And for costing us our day jobs.

UK tour dates below: 

Brighton, The Green Door Store - Monday 19th October 

London, Electrowerkz - Tuesday 20th October

Birmingham, Hare and hounds - Thursday 22nd October (Tickets available)

Leeds, 115 The Headrow - Friday 23rd October 

Manchester, Soup Kitchen - Sunday 25th October (Tickets available)