The Lounge Society: ‘It’s the most dangerous thing when you get tired of your own freedom’
The Lounge Society are a four-piece from Hebden Bridge, comprising Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Herbie May (guitar), Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar), and Archie Dewis (drums), who formed at school and made the first impression outside their home town during lockdown with the single Generation Game and EP, Silk For the Starving.
This week sees the release of their debut album, Tired of Liberty, on producer Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label.
According to May, growing up in a small but thriving musical scene was instructive. “It was helpful for us to have places like The Golden Lion at Todmorden and Hebden Bridges Trades Club – and also for other bands. The Orielles from Halifax are a huge source of inspiration and now they are friends of ours. I think it was also useful when we were in Year 9 and 10 at school to have young people for inspiration,” he says.
Paskin-Hussain is inclined to look at the “positives” when viewing their musical development during lockdown, without the pressure to tour. “We had time to work on the album and perfect it, approaching it as a band rehearsing as much as possible. But it was difficult trying to fit in those early gigs. When lockdown was lifted and we could go out, it was very refreshing for us.”
Silk For The Starving, which included the impressive Burn The Heather and Cain’s Heresy, marked them out as a band to watch. Paskin-Hussain believes that seeing their work on vinyl was “a big step forward” for the band. “Now this album feels like a further step forward for us,” he says. “The EP was brilliant but this feels like a piece that we’re really proud of, more so than anything in the past.”
The album has been preceded by two more singles, Blood Money and No Driver, which seemed to presage current British political events. “It seems to have landed quite well,” admits Paskin-Hussain. “We did think the singles going out around this time that surely things would start to unfold a little, as we’ve seen. These songs, as much as they are written about experiences we’ve all lived through, the aim was to write something timeless, that hopefully they might resonate with the generations in the future at our age. They would be able to feel that we’re still having these problems, we’re still having these people run out lives, and that is absolutely not what we want.
“We want something better than that and we think our music is the best way of explaining that to people and getting our points across because we’ve not got anything else.”
Contrary to the idea that Generation Z is disengaged from politics, the four members of The Lounge Society take an active interest. “It’s hard to describe yourself as that, I suppose, because it’s such an endless cobweb of heave-ho and argument – no-one is ever right, it seems, but no-one is ever wrong. But we have been trying to keep up with it as best we can. I think it’s important,” says May.
“There seems to be an idea that young people are disengaged from politics; I think a better word is disenfranchised. When young people are cut off from real world events but it affects them most directly in terms of how much of their future is going to pay the price for anything negative that happens. We don’t claim to be know-it-alls but we definitely know what we feel and think is right and that’s a good place to start.”
Musically, Tired of Liberty’s eclectic songs reflect that band’s desire not to be hidebound by genre. “Being stuck in one genre or style of music feels quite limiting,” says May. “We like to surprise ourselves and raise our musical bar, otherwise there doesn’t seem much point in doing it if you just stay the same all the time, so we push ourselves that way.
“Also, I guess the four of us draw on our personal influences when we go into a room to write songs. If we pull in four directions, we end up with a strange cocktail of influences that we are listening to at the time.”
Paskin-Hussain agrees. “I think it’s very natural for us to play different styles of music. When we go into a room to try to write a song it’s very rare that we will repeat a style. We spiral off into different genres of music. That’s what I’m most proud of, in a way.”
The urgency apparent in the songs stems from the fact that they wanted to cram what they have learnt in the past 18 or 19 years into 40 minutes of music, May believes. “I guess there is a sense of urgency because we are bursting to get that out so people can see that side to us,” he says. “For a time people have tried to put us into one kind of category or another which I don’t necessarily agree with, not to slag any of those categories off, but we don’t listen to the same type of music from one day to the next and I think that’s reflected in our music.”
“I think this is very much an energetic and youthful album,” says Paskin-Hussain. “If it was not I don’t think we’d be as happy with it as we are. It’s a debut album in every sense. It’s got that raw energy that every great debut album should have.”
Thematically, May says what ties the some disparate subject matter together is “the concept of freedom – more as a feeling than a political concept”. They are interested in liberty “and the length that people will go to achieve it and how people want to take it away from other people, and what happens when you don’t have enough of it, whether that’s just in your own feelings of anxieties or whether that is in the political realm,” he explains. “It is tied together by a feeling of wanting to break free from something or everything. Everyone gets that feeling of getting tied down and wanting to let loose and let your hair down. The inscription would be: never get tired of liberty. I think it’s the most dangerous thing when you get tired of your own freedom.”
Paskin-Hussain cites the importance of Dan Carey’s input into the album. The producer is also known for his work with Kae Tempest, Wet Leg, Fontaines DC and Black Midi. “Over our time working with Dan we’ve created a very strong working relationship and I can’t really see any other producer having that impact on us,” he says. “When we are recording, it’s not us four in a room and him somewhere else doing his thing; we are all together. He’s almost like a fifth member.”
Being able to “set the world to rights” with Carey outside of the studio also helped, May says. “That was important for themes to develop outside of everything,” he adds.
Tired of Liberty is out on Friday August 26. The Lounge Society play The Golden Lion, Todmorden on August 26, Wrecking Ball, Hull on August 28 and the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds on September 29. www.facebook.com/theloungesociety