Interview: Dirty Laces

There’s not much that would entice me to drive 107 miles, on a Friday night, from one old, shipbuilding town in the north-west to another, but the chance to see The Indica Gallery, Dirty Laces and The Lathums, had me heading from Birkenhead to Barrow-in-Furness. 

Tonight’s venue, Barrow Underground Society (BUMS for short) is an interesting little venue, capacity 120.  It’s like watching a gig in your living room.  If you are in early enough, you can even watch the gig from one of the venues sundry couches.

Manchester based Dirty Laces are Charlie Jordan (vocals), Luke Dec (guitar), Jacob Simpson (guitar and vocals), Tom Edwards (bass) and Luke O’Reilly (drums).  They play their own reinvention of vibrant, rowdy, riff-driven, classic British rock.  Before they took to the stage tonight, Tom and Jacob agreed give me a little time to talk all things Dirty Laces.            

You’ve been together since 2017.  How did you the band get together?

Tom – It was the back end of 2017 when we first got together, but it took us a while because we couldn’t find a drummer, so we were just rehearsing with the four of us.  That’s when we started writing.  It was a bit of a slow process, but it gave us some breathing space before we started gigging.  It meant we had some solid material behind us when we did.  

Where did the name Dirty Laces come from?

Jacob – When it was just the four of us, we were just batting ideas about and Tom came up with Dirty Laces.  It’s derived from Dirty Mac (the short-lived supergroup of John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell).

Tom – Yeah, we thought Dirty Laces, it’s a bit like Dirty Mac, that’ll be cool.

Jacob – It’s not meant in any egotistical way.  We’re just fans.

I’ve read reviews of your Moving Pictures EP which referenced The Stone Roses.  While queuing to get in to your Neighbourhood gig last month, I overheard people making comparisons between yourselves and Oasis.  Do you feel that there’s more pressure on new Manchester bands due to the city’s recent musical history?

Tom – Yes.  We always get pigeon-holed like that, but if you come to see us, we think were more like Black Sabbath than Oasis.

Jacob – We’re not ungrateful about the comparisons, but we do try to distance ourselves from being that stereotypical Mancunian band.  I think people just seem to think that any band who comes from Manchester is going to be the next Smiths or Oasis, but it’s not.

Tom – It’s just lazy journalism sometimes.

Jacob – The whole Oasis thing is just people trying to find the next buzz with a Mancunian band.  It limits us in the sense where people will just give up before they’ve even heard us because they don’t want another Oasis.  We’d rather people listen to us and make a decision for themselves.

Tom – It doesn’t really matter because all the people that read the reviews, if they come and see us, and expect Oasis, they’ll get something completely different.  If they like it, they like it.  If they don’t, they don’t.  We are the new Dirty Laces!       

Bearing that in mind, who are your musical influences?

Tom – We like big performance bands like Pink Floyd and The Who because we see ourselves as a big performance band.  Come to watch us live and you’ll have a show.  We put a lot of thought into each component of a song.  We want to be the complete package and utilise all our abilities to make things big and massive sounding.  We want people to watch us and they can pick apart each instrument and be drawn in by that. 

Jacob – We love Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Beatles, The Faces.

Tom – Ronnie Wood is a brilliant guitarist.  We are very blues inspired too.  A lot of our stuff starts out as strung out jamming.

Jacob – It’s quite natural the way stuff comes together.  It really is a band effort.       

You’ve recently spent some time in North Wales working on new material.  How did that go?

Jacob – It went really well.  We went away for three days in total and came away with just shy of eight demos. It’s really promising actually.  You can be a bit sceptical about it, how’s it going to turn out? But I think it shows the chemistry we’ve got.

Tom – I was feeling a bit anxious about it, but as soon as we got there it started to flow. We’ve got some solid material to make a really strong EP.  We’re deffo looking to get back into a proper studio and get recording.

Jacob – Not only are we all good friends, we have the same intentions as well.  No-one is holding any other person back.  The balance you have to find in these situations is between not doing anything and forcing it.  We really did come up with some great stuff.

 Will we be hearing any new material tonight?

Jacob – Not tonight. It’s still a bit fresh.

Tom – We are going to spend a bit of time fine-tuning.  We are playing a few big shows like Salford Lads Club, and Off The Record.  Hopefully we might incorporate some of the new material.  We just need to refine everything.  

You’ve played quite a few gigs with another of tonight’s band, The Lathums, any connection there?

Jacob – We’ve known each other bands for, it feels like a while. We really dig them, and I think they dig us.  It’s really good to share the bill with them on occasions like this.  We’re all very happy for how well they’re doing at the moment.  Good for them.

Do you think bands are becoming a lot more mutually supportive? 

Tom – It’s hard for everyone.  You need to network with other bands otherwise you’re not going to get anywhere.  It’s not like how it used to be.

Jacob – A lot of people have said that music’s dead now, but there’s still amazing music out there, but bands have got to help each other to get where they want to be.

Tom – With people saying there’s no good music out there, that’s just laziness as well.  If you got off your arse and went to watch bands, then you’d find stuff.  It’s literally everywhere. 

Last time I saw you, you played a spectacular cover of The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter, where you were joined on stage by Becki Fishwick.  How did that come about?

Jacob – You’ll probably be hearing it again tonight!  It was through a mutual friend.

 Tom – We heard she was a brilliant singer and someone we knew said it would be good if did something with her.  I think it was at Kendall Calling we first did that, and it went down really well.  We’ve played it at a few shows, whenever Becki’s free, because it does go down a treat with the crowd.  We love The Stones as I said earlier, and really enjoy playing it.   

You mentioned earlier about playing at Salford Lads Club next month.  Are you looking forward to playing such an iconic venue?

Jacob – We actually had a music video there.  That Moving Pictures music video was shot in Salford Lads Club, a sort of tip-of-the-hat.  It’s a legendary place with a great history.  It’s a great area as well.

Tom – You don’t see many bands playing it anymore, so it’s a bit unique.  It’s not like playing the same basements that everyone else is playing.  It’s doing something different.  It’ll be very special.   

As we are approaching the end of the year can you tell us what 2020 looks like for Dirty Laces?

Tom – More new music, touring, hopefully bigger shows, bigger festivals.  That’s what we’re aiming for.  We want to go upwards.

Jacob – I’m excited for the new year.  We’ve got a lot in the pipeline.

Watch this space.

Dirty Laces are playing Salford Lads Club on Saturday 7th December 2019.

Ian Dunphy.

Cover Image: Trust a Fox

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