Real Lies interview: "We can’t wait for the world to hear what we’ve been doing"

We caught up with the London-based electronic duo ahead of their tour of the UK and Europe, to discover more about their latest album, Lad Ash, and to learn what we can expect from the pair in 2023

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 28th Oct 2022

Cast your mind back 7 years. The summer season of 2015 is coming to its inevitable end and the colder darker autumn months are drawing in. The clubs of the UK have begun welcoming the nocturnal back onto their dance floors in their droves, with new and old faces connecting once more, long through the night and into the dawn. All to the soundtrack of what many at that time considered to be one of the best electronic offerings of that year. Real Lies' seminal debut, Real Life.

A euphoric, introspective and mesmerising collection of works, laced with an electro synth-laden sound reminiscent of those who once soundtracked British nightclubs in the 80s and early 90s, the likes of New Order, the album attracted a great deal of attention from dance fans young and old when it first arrived through the in-house PA systems of venues nationwide... And then quiet. 

Following the withdrawal of a prosperous record deal, the outfit broke down, in a literal sense. What should have been a moment to capitalise on an incredible introduction to audiences had slipped between their fingers, not of their own doing. 

Over half a decade later, one member lighter but ever the wiser, Kev Kharas and Patrick King made their long-awaited return earlier this year with their second full-length record, Lad Ash. 'Those who choose to stand in the face of adversity are forever strengthened' and this has never been truer than it is in the case of the London-based duo, whose resilience shines through on all of the 12-tracks, filled with those same poetic lines romanticising nightlife culture and those airy, house-inspired beats. 

Heading out on a run of dates across the UK and Europe, beginning today, we caught up with the pair in the midst of their preparations to chat about the new record whilst also delving into the part nightlife culture has had to play in creating their signature sound. Continue reading to hear what they had to say...

 

 

For those here reading whom this might be their introduction to Real Lies, tell us your story. Where did you meet? How did Real Lies come to be? 

"Patrick and I met very late one night at the end of a long pier. That’s when Real Lies took flight and since then it’s just kept on going. A lot of the time it feels like the group is its own living thing with its own agenda and we’ve just been chasing after it for the last ten years. If it was it would live on a diet of ecstasy, cigarettes and raindrops."

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Lyrically, the themes of the new record seem to be centred upon your experiences of living in London; its ever-alternating landscape and community and your combined emotional response. Compared to the content of Real Life, would you describe this as your ‘coming of age’ record? 

"I think they’re both coming-of-age records. The difference is that with Lad Ash, I realised I’ll probably be coming of age all my life. Just like London, which as you’ve said will never stop changing."

 



 

As the city inevitably continues to shift and change, what do you see are the main challenges for nightlife culture and underground electronic music? And how does the present-day environment differ from the one you experienced when you first came to prominence with your debut? 

"It felt like it was a lot easier to live a romantic and carefree life in 2015. You can put at least 80% of that down to the obvious fact we were younger. But it can also feel as though everywhere you look there are bastards and bullies trying to squeeze romance out of public life.

"As we’ve toured over the last few years, I’ve looked at the rooms of people in front of me and realised that what joins us to them is that compulsion to seek out romance no matter how tough it might be. And in turn, I’ve realised that creating those moments of romance in loud, dark rooms late at night is our holy mission. Even if ‘romance’ in many instances just means a stranger’s sofa at 6 AM."

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Musically, it's still chock full of that late-night, afters-seeking sound you’ve become known for. It's a quintessential soundtrack for that time between the clubs closing and the sun rising. How central have experiences like these been to you both when writing new music?

"Very central. It’s not just those moments, though. I think we are a group whose music lives in the in-between. Between the dawn and the dusk, the bitter and the sweet, the offie and the eiderdown. That’s where the magic happens."

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Digging into your personal playlists and vinyl collections, whose music would you say has collectively influenced your work the most?

"The sole constants in my life over the last decade have been Roy Orbison and Patrick’s demos."

 



  

Referencing remixes once more, rave advocate and BBC Radio 1 resident Sherelle stepped up to rework one of the more euphoric sounding tracks on the new album - ‘Since I’, turning it into a high-tempo dancefloor weapon. How did that link-up come about? 

"We both wrote tunes named after the same stretch of A-road in North London: the North Circular, or A406. Sherelle grew up on the eastern side of it, whereas I grew up on the west. Growing up at the distant edges of a city does something to you when you’re young. I think we share the same sense of longing. And longing is what all the best music sounds like. We approached her and she said yes. What resulted was an absolute pelter."

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You’re about to embark on a tour of the UK and Europe, taking in dates in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Nottingham and across the near continent. Apart from your hometown show, at Heaven in Charing Cross this month, where are you most looking forward to performing live and why?

"I’m licking my lips about all of them."

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In addition to the release of Lad Ash, you’ve also recently issued another brand new single - ‘Ultraviolet’. Is there more music to come from Real Lies this year and into early 2023? 

"Yes to both. We can’t wait for the world to hear what we’ve been doing."

 



 

Interested in watching Real Lies live? Tickets for their upcoming performance at Patterns in Brighton, on Saturday 26th November, are now on sale and available to purchase at the bottom of this page.

 


 

Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.

 

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Header image credit: William Grundy / Real Lies (Facebook.com)

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