Losers talk gigs, meeting fans, the US and suicide

Losers spoke to Arts York before their one-off gig at The Duchess.

Losers spoke to Arts York before their one-off gig at The Duchess.

Ahead of their European tour, Losers came from Berlin to York to perform a one-off gig. They got chatting to Arts York about their work so far and the future.

The three core members of the group, Xfm DJ Eddy Temple-Morris, former Cooper Temple Clause member Tom Bellamy and Paul Mullen from Yourcodenameis:Milo and the Automatic, stepped out of The Duchess after a tight sound check and into the nearby alley to speak in a quiet place.

Not only did they compromise the surroundings so that everything they said could be recorded, they spoke openly about many subjects; whether it was on touring, finding fans, recording or struggles with depression and suicide.

Q: Why did you decide to play in York?

E: It’s down to Soundsphere mag, they were the first magazine to really get us. We have since, you know, had four out of five in Kerrang and stuff but it was Soundsphere who really got it first. They spent ages organising this gig and they’re really into their electronic rock, so they have been incredibly nice to us and incredibly complimentary about us, our album and our music. Getting this band to do anything in the UK is hard because everyone lives in Berlin except me. So Soundsphere should take that as a massive compliment that we have come over just to do a one-off gig for them really.
P: That and we love York. Me and Tom have both played here. In fact when we walked down this back alley that we’re doing an interview in I remember turning up in big sleeper buses and then waking up in this alley going “how the hell did you get a bus down here?” We like Fibbers and Duchess as well. This is a great town.
T: It’s very pretty, that’s all I’m going to say.
P: Plus it’s close to Sunderland for me so I can go home.

Q: Eddy, you were quoted saying “the further away you are from London, the better the crowd”, why is that?

E: Anyone who goes on tour knows that if the tour starts in London it starts sedately and then if you end at Glasgow it ends off the fucking chain. It’s just a rule. These guys discovered it way before I did because they were touring way before I was. I toured with The Prodigy and that was my introduction to the UK, to crowds, to playing a different place every night and having a packed place to play to so it was a good yardstick to measure audience reaction. The best gig by far was Glasgow and the worst gig, and it was a great gig, was Brixton Academy. It just got crazier the further we got.

“the most nuts gig I ever did was in Aberdeen … It finished at six and they were all like chanting, the place was still full and nobody was going home.”

P: I think bands always see London as industry, record labels, management, there’s all that added stress and lots of stuff to do.
E: Actually, when I think back across my whole career the most nuts gig I ever did was in Aberdeen and that’s just the furthest away that I could possibly get, that’s the furthest away I have ever got from London and still been on this island. It was nuts, they were still fucking going at it at six o’clock. It finished at six and they were all like chanting, the place was still full and nobody was going home.

Q: Why did you choose the name Losers?

E: Well that was my fault. Actually the first time I thought it would look really good is when I used to do this show on MTV. The last show I ever did was like a game show, there were winners and losers, obviously, and there was this massive wooden sign that they made and it just said losers in massive letters. I thought “wow, that looks so good, I wish I was in a band called losers because maybe I could nick that and it would just be brilliant”. Years later when I started producing stuff and remixing stuff, I started remixing under the name Losers. Then I met Tom, fell in love with Tom. Then we started working together under the name. Then Paul joined us and we turned into a proper band.
The reason that I liked it is it’s sort of self deprecatory. On a surface level it’s just a funny, self deprecatory thing but on a more profound level it has a deep kind of resonance with me. Like it’s anti this whole American thing of like, “your happiness is dependent on the outcome” whereas somebody like me is much more happy just to be in the game. It’s a very British thing of “it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part”. That’s one of the keys to happiness. If you’re raised to win at all costs I think that’s a very horrible way to view life and so it’s a sort of reflection of that.
P: And we’re all losers, everyone.
E: In the nicest way. You know, you look at the bands that we love, I would rate Trent Reznor as a loser because it’s like an underground, underdog thing. It’s underdogs come good. You know, Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, they’re all losers, Prodigy. You know what I mean? It’s like Fall Out Boy: winners. Nine Inch Nails: losers.

Losers at The Duchess.

Losers at The Duchess.

Q: In spite of that you’ve ended up on trailers for Game of Thrones, Far Cry 3 and so on. How did you manage that?

P: I guess a lot of luck. We never really set out to write stuff for film or TV but we’ve got a really good guy in LA who sort of pitches stuff for us and it works.
E: We’re managed in the US by the same company that manage UNKLE, Kelis, Bonobo and The Acid. You’ve got to have representation out there. You’ve got to be in it to win it kind of thing.
T: Loser.
P & E: [Laughs] You’ve got to be in it to lose it.
E: People use the word epic when they describe our music and so you can see from Far Cry 3, Hercules and Game of Thrones, there’s sort of a theme.
It’s all kind of epic, cinematic stuff that we get used for.
P: But I mean we’d love to do a soundtrack.
E: Yeah, that’s the dream for us to score a movie. We’re just waiting for the day when a director goes “oh man, I love this band and I need them to work on this epic movie that I’m doing about whatever”.

Q: Sounds like you have had a great reception in the US, how do UK audiences compare?

P: Good. Well we’ve had a really good run. We did the Pledge campaign that started this whole record, to get it out, and that was a really direct way of getting feedback, seeing who’s out there, who cared for us and what effect the record had on people. Then we toured with Gary Numan last year and that was an immediate response to the record, playing it live. People from the tour have come to this show tonight so massive response. We haven’t toured the US yet so we can’t judge it on that. TV and Hollywood nonsense wise, good, live-wise UK is great. We have just done a tour with Sisters of Mercy in Europe as well and that was brilliant.
E: Lots of sweet Americans have been coming up on our Facebook page and my Facebook and Twitter saying “when are you going to play the States?” and we still haven’t done it but I know they’ll really get it. I think what we do is very American friendly.

Q: What was it like touring with Gary Numan?

P: Brilliant, he was such a lovely guy, lovely crew, great fans, we got treated so well when we met him.
E: He’s on record of saying that we influenced his last album, which I think is the best thing. I don’t think he has ever done a better album. It’s right up there with Replicas, Tubeway Army and The Pleasure Principle. And he’s on record of saying that we have influenced him on that last record more than anyone else. You know when I heard that I could have just been run over by a bus and died happy. His fans are incredibly loyal to him and have been beastly to other support bands before, even to the point of turning their backs on some mates of mine who supported Gary Numan.

“[Gary Numan]’s on record of saying that we have influenced him on that last record more than anyone else. You know when I heard that I could have just been run over by a bus and died happy.”

With us it was just the opposite, they took us to their bosom. Gary was going out on radio stations around the place saying “Losers are the best band in the world at the moment” so all his fans kind of picked up on that and showed us so much love. It’s been quite humbling and quite emotional when we think about how much love we get from those guys, they’re amazing people. And it’s a reflection of Gary, his missus and his band who are all so supportive of us.

Q: What was the best thing about the Pledge campaign and what were the main things you took away?

P: The connection really. Now there are so many ways to get in touch with fans through Twitter, Facebook, all those kinds of websites. The forum thing, that was big in the early 2000s but I don’t know if that still goes. This was just a great way of connecting.
E: It was very intimate and very human, that’s what I liked. The thing I liked about it the most was when a bunch of fans paid to come and hang out with us in the studio and do a full album playback. We cooked for them, we made nibbles for them and dips and stuff and we just hung out and listened to the record. We talked about the songs and told them all the sort of background stories about how the songs got written or where they came from and some of the personal stuff that went into it.
Obviously it wasn’t public, it was like a private thing so we could be much more honest about some of the lyrics and stuff because a lot of it is very very close to the bone.
It was really nice to sort of just hang out and meet fellow human beings that are obviously such kindred spirits. A lot of them were fans that we picked up from the Numan tour.

Losers at The Duchess.

Losers at The Duchess.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

E: We are balls deep into writing, recording and mixing this third album. The last record was us finding ourselves musically and this next record is us really firing on all cylinders with all three of us throwing our guts into this in a very meaningful way. We’re really excited about it and it’s sounding amazing. It’s being recorded in this incredible Bauhaus mansion in a forest just outside Berlin. It’s a very inspiring place and it’s a very cool place to get your head down and write the record.
We’ve all been through a lot of shit and it’s all coming out on this record but if we do a playback we’ll talk about the stuff.
That’s the great thing about meeting these guys from Pledge and doing stuff like that is they get to have a window into us a bit more than, with the greatest respect, any journalist would.
P: Also, in the immediate future, we are doing out first European and UK headline tour that starts October 4th in Dresden and works all the way up to Newcastle.
The And So We Shall Never Part tour, playing as many tracks off [the second album] as possible. That’ll be nice, people hearing the record for the first time I think when we’ve done some shows, apart from this and the Secret Garden Party festival. Coming to our shows and our headline tour. It’ll be nice. It just means that we can’t mess up the songs [laughs].
New record, we’ll hopefully get it done by the end of this year. We’re really close but it’s hard to say when it’s done.
E: We’ll aim to get it recorded by Christmas. Then it’s probably going to take about six months to mix it. It takes a long time to mix our records because there’s so much going on.

Q: I want to ask about the themes about your third album but if you don’t want to share them that’s fine.

P: There’s a lot of stuff in there but I think they are not fully realised and we have not lived with them long enough to really give you a definite answer. The album, I figure, once we have heard it as a whole, we could probably give you a better idea. But just to say there’s some really personal stuff on there. This last year shit’s happened, let’s just say that.
E: I don’t mind actually telling you one thing because I think it is good to talk about this as a man because men don’t talk about this sort of stuff. I had some mental health issues and I got really close to suicide, so that’s a big kind of thing for me. That’s one of the main themes that I am exploring lyrically on the next record. I think it’s really healthy to talk about it because what saved my life is talking about it and getting it out there with friends and family.

“I think it is good to talk about this as a man because men don’t talk about this sort of stuff. I had some mental health issues and I got really close to suicide.”

P: Suicide is a major killer for men of a certain age.
E: Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 60 in this country and it happens so much because men don’t talk, don’t communicate as well as girls do. So I’m happy to talk about it because I just want it to be out there and I want people to talk about it, I want guys to really talk about it. The fact is that me, Paul and Tom are four times more likely to kill ourselves than you are and that’s a really unacceptable statistic. I’m finding myself being open and honest about my experience so that it’s talked about.
P: I mean I think we’ve all lost someone to suicide. At least we didn’t lose you, hey?
E: Yeah, fuck yeah.

Q: That’s really brave to come out and say!

E: I’m the chair of the music board of CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably. It’s a charity that is focussed on male suicide and depression.
I’m in awe of people like Jon McClure from Reverend and the Makers, Mike Skinner from The Streets, Rob Harvey from The Music and even that kid from The Enemy, Tom Clarke, who came out as having mental health issues. He was incredibly brave to say what he said and I’m in awe of men like that. I think that all men should aim to be like that. I think it is a very female thing and I admire men who have that ability to communicate in a female way.
Art has taught us for thousands of years that men are great at expressing their feeling and emotions but the way that the world works, there’s such a huge pressure on men. That whole silence is strength bullshit doesn’t apply to women as much, they’re expected to be emotional and to say what their feelings are. Men are traditionally, and it’s such bullshit, kind of forced to “can it” and to “man up” and ridiculous phrases like that that I find offensive, abhorrent.

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