Last Lungs

Lancashire post-rock lovelies Last Lungs agreed to sit around a table for a little chat about their tour, plans for the future, and an unexpected favourite track for the journey home [clue, it’s at the bottom of this entry ;)]

The interview can be found right here

A little slice of their stuff is right here :

Oh, and for a treat, as played on their van home…

((This interview took place at the New Continental, Preston))

Interview with Make Me King

Lancashire’s Make Me King are taking their merry brand of melodic alternative rock on the road to promote “The Whisper is a Hint” (RiotPop Records). As their eponymous song says, “every boy needs a score”, and these guys seem to have done that very highly with a polished and professional debut EP.

“Since we started all this, for like three years, all I’ve wanted to do is live in a van touring,” sighs bassist Lewis Clark, his youthful expectation hidden behind thick facial hair which didn’t need anyone shaking Movember sponsorship forms to get going.

Guitarist Jack Mason, having helped Deep Elm Records’ Last Lungs on their national tour earlier this year, nods his head sagely; “There’s nothing better. You’re partying, you’re drinking, you may or may not be doing drugs, and you’re playing gigs. It does me.”

Formed three years ago at a college in Preston, the path which leads the twenty-somethings to publicising their debut appears to have been not merely direct but lined with travelators. The tangible result is an album brimming with attitude, confidence and youthful zeal, one with a coherence which hides the truth of its disjointed origins.

Guitarist Sean Marshall explains, “The thing is, it didn’t all get recorded in one section. It’s more luck, to be honest, if it all sounds like it works together. We kinda put “Every Truth or Dare” in the middle of our set and worked things out from there.”

“We started out pretty pop punk,” Jack chips in, “and now we’ve preferred to write now we’ve grown up over the years.”

“Growing up” strikes as a bold claim for the lads as they snigger, chuckle and wisecrack through the interview, relishing with broad grins the chances afforded them and their highly strung set of songs. In the pop-punk tradition, though notably broadened out and matured, their take on the ubiquitous genre is particularly sharp.
Particularly dangerous territory is this sort of thing, littered with Lost Prophets and Fightstar comparisons. Credit to them for knowing how often to hat-tip influences whilst making a path of their own, even if enquiring about influences sets off minor squabbles and layers of interrupted over-talking.

“Right, Jack, just choose two albums, like when you started out or something, and I’ll think about mine,” suggests Sean in full diplomacy mode.

“I kinda loved the old Panic! At The Disco sound on the first….”
“Bastard! Bastard, you stole my one…”

Lewis goes for the rare trait of answering the question.
“Yeah, there’s kinda different things, I dunno, Brand New, like, were a massive influence. Me especially, that guy [Jesse Lacey] is a fucking genius”.

The MMK sound – “swingy choruses, like dun-de-dun-de…sorry” tries Sean by way of explanation – eschews the over familiar hand-clap-and-power-chords combo for variety and production quirks. Having suggested that the upbeat songs could make it possible to jive to their songs, a short debate lands on the certainty of waltzing if nothing else;

“You could waltz to us, I want to see that in our first video, fact, Tower Ballroom, it has to be done,” table-thumps Jack, to agreeable nods from Sean.

“Would be sick, make it happen someone”. Lewis demands, feigning a call to the producers of Strictly Come Dancing.

The topic of “growing up these past few years” comes back to mind, but too many tangents have been fired off to suggest returning to topic. Whatever that had been…

Having joined together as friends and grabbed attention the modern way – “MySpace, back in the day, was at its height for bands”- Make Me King have spent most of the formative years recording. This may point to the eagerness to get out beyond the clubs of the north-west, having ventured to London for two weeks to essentially live in the recording studio.

“The eight-minute ballad I’m going to write for the next album will be about my getting lost on the walk across London listening to Ellie Goulding,” Jack confidently asserts.

Irreverent they may be, committed they most certainly are. All digital voice recordings of this interview suggests no actual conclusion was determined, the lads talking and gabbling on musicianship – “We worked in time signatures switches, like, to advance what ideas we had. Well, a bloke told us that’s what we had done, to be honest.” – to the ongoing NUS protests – “I want to get a job full time, like,” nods Sean. “I fancy a riot,” offers Lewis.

It is probably the best way to conclude the little chat, for even the formality of start-middle-end during conversations seems a bit much. They are good lads with focus, albeit without total command on concentration, and the promise to turn whispers into shouts if the EP is any reasonable guide.

With or without the ballroom dancing…

You can find RiotPop records right here

Liam Rhodes

Liam Rhodes is a conservative blogger and social media communicator…During a recent spate of discussions and arguments on Twitter about his personal politics and definition of conservatism in the age of the Coalition.

I offered to ask Liam some questions following on from these discussions. This is what came from the questions…

You can find me on Twitter @doktorb, or Liam at @LiamRhodes.

So, Liam, thanks for this, for those who may not have seen you on Twitter before now, it may be best if we just find out a little about you…..

Well, I’m 21. I’ve been a member of the Conservative Party since 2005. I sought election in a difficult ward as a borough councillor in 2010. I’m also the blogger behind

…Good, right, on Twitter you have been taking part in a continuing discussion about whether you are a “capital C” Conservative. How would you describe yourself ?

I’m a liberal one nation Conservative. I have always been a liberal, one nation Conservative.

That is, I am a small ‘c’ Conservative. I believe in Government providing both a ladder and a safety net whilst the State is smaller than it was in the Labour years to make room for private sector, sustainable growth. I also believe that the State should leave people alone and let them get on with their lives. I am an advocate of equal rights – but also free speech.

One recent tweet from you said you had become more progressive over the years, how would you describe this process?

A very painful personal journey for me resulted in the anti-progressivism to begin with. It’s a difficult question for me to answer.

Did the Coalition agreement change your opinion specifically? Or was this a process already in motion before the election?

I support the coalition because it is first and foremost in the national interest, and I believe it is where the Conservative Party has an opportunity to further change.

Would defecting away from the Conservative Party ever be an option for you? What are your opinions of people who do defect parties?

Not unless the Conservative Party took a big turn to the right. My opinions of people who defect are not negative; I understand that in some circumstances, people’s hearts change.

In terms of specific policies, the Coalition are accused of slashing spending on public services at the least appropriate time. Are you concerned by the cuts to public services?

I put my faith in the Coalition to protect the front-line services and the most vulnerable.

To what degree is the current Council Tax scheme “fair” ?

I believe Council Tax system is fair because it is progressive in the sense that older people pay less and people who live alone get a discount.

At what level should, for example, Child Tax Credits or Child Benefits be cut? Are you afraid the Labour Government spent too much on such benefits, or is “too much” not a problem when dealing with child and family welfare?

I believe Child Tax Credits and benefits should be means-tested further, and I am disheartened by the fact that we didn’t act on this when we had the opportunity. I am very concerned that Labour created a means of Statism whereby people felt they were dependent on the State. They favour State dependence because it results in more votes for them – and they believe in a large State.

Instead of handing out these forms of benefits, it makes much more sense to me to cut tax.

Should there be an English Parliament?

No. I simply don’t believe we need one. It would cost a heck of a lot and there is no added value to balance that cost.

What is a “living wage” in your opinion?

I would support an increase in the minimum wage to £6 with inflation, but not during the current economic climate. I would never support a ‘living wage’ because it would result in economic failure. No business will employ some unskilled workers for £7 or more per hour. It’s simply unsustainable.

Which former British Prime Minister do you most admire?

Margaret Thatcher. Not because of her social Conservatism – far from it. Because she fought for what she believed in and she saved the British economy from turmoil.

And finally…..What is it about Twitter you like so much?

I like the fact that you can be in contact people who share common interests. I certainly don’t like it when things get personal. For example, I’ve just been called ‘arrogant’. Oh well!

((This interview was carried out by email. Questions and responses have been re-ordered and edited for space))