Hiya thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Thanks. Mine’s a vodka and diet coke.
So tell me a little bit about you and what you like doing for fun?
I am Lane, from XUP. And I like making albums for fun. Because I’m a masochist! But aside from pressing the self destruct button every couple of years… when i have downtime i like being by the sea, hanging out with cats or wolves, and pistachio ice cream – which there seems to be a total shortage of now we’re living in plague times. Have you seen any pistachio ice cream in Manchester? Where can I get some? I’m also having to do without menthol cigarettes now they’ve been banned… not happy.
Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
What’s it like being a girl in a band? I’ve answered that during most interviews. I’m not going to answer it again for a while. Go and ask Kim Gordon. She wrote a book about it! It’s widely known what it’s like navigating the music industry as a woman. There is vast room for improvement, obviously.
What made you decide to start a band / become an artist?
I started playing music when I left art school. My best friend at the time bought me a Fender bass for my birthday. I still have it though I play a different bass now, but that got me hooked. Then it was all about finding the right people. That is the magic formula and that took the longest to find in my first band. And i don’t necessarily mean finding the most technically proficient people. I mean finding the right set of people and then making sure you all turn up for practice at the same time each week and you all gel together, even if you want to kill each other most of the time. So after playing in various bands over the years, it just became more practical (and more fulfilling) to do it all myself. After that, making music stopped being a decision or a choice. It’s just a part of my life that i cannot imagine not doing.
Introduce us all to the members?
XUP is me on vocals, Mustang bass and drums. Occasionally I also take up Telecaster duties. Because clearly I need additional responsibilities! When I play live it’s still all me, minus the Telecaster. At this point i should probably clarify that while I’m the only human member of the band, the Mustang bass is also very much a founder member. He had his own seat in first class in fact, when we travelled down to a gig in London last year.
Which one is the biggest pain in the arse? (Lateness, forgets stuff etc.)
I am definitely more of a pain than the Mustang. If you don’t believe me ask other people I’ve been in bands with. I am generally good with turning up on time though. I am militant about my rehearsal schedule even when I’m not gigging. Every Tuesday and Sunday come rain, shine, or as in our current state – total apocalypse.
What is the unsigned scene in Manchester like at the minute?
Well, it was kinda cool before we all got quarantined. I should mention The Peer Hat, shouldn’t I? The Peer Hat is a bar and venue in the same building as my practice room. Before the plague, it had become a total hotbed for creatives, musicians and artists. It was a great place to meet people and have some downtime from writing and recording, exchange ideas or collaborate. I am missing it very much. The Peer Hat is still shut at the moment but it should be opening again in September. You should check out The Peer Hat compilation album on Bandcamp. We made it to raise funds for the place while it’s shut. One of my songs is on there. https://thepeerhat.bandcamp.com/album/black-stage-the-peer-hat-compliation-vol-1
What good bands are coming out of Manchester at the minute?
I share a practice room with a band called Bones Shake, who are amazing live, and I know are itching to play gigs again. Down the corridor from us are a band called Jeuce who are really cool too. In the building opposite, you’ve got Furrowed Brow who you should also check out. I also love watching Thee Windom Earles – who i desperately miss seeing live. And my favourite song last year was I Am A Man, by a band called The Battery Farm. Other artists you should definitely look up if you haven’t already are Cold Water Swimmers – their new video is great. Also, i love Lonelady’s albums. I can’t wait to hear her new stuff. And when we’re able to gig again I want to organise something with Trianglecuts, who are incredible. There are many many more. I will get into trouble for forgetting someone I’m sure!
What’s your favourite song right now from another band or artist?
I was listening to a lot of pop while writing the new album and ‘When You Were Mine’ by Prince was on constant rotation.
What support is out there for new artists in Manchester?
The more you can do yourself, the better. That’s the way it’s been for as long as i can remember. But that actually works to our advantage because that’s how underground music scenes take shape. And that’s when things get interesting. So in terms of support – anyone pushing the DIY scene, from promoters to PR and media, to journalists and bloggers, to grass roots venues (now so dangerously under threat of closure), to artists helping each other out… that’s where the support comes from.
How easy or difficult do you find picking up new fans to come to your gigs?
It’s never been about playing to the gallery for me. So picking up new fans is not something I’ve ever consciously thought about. Equally, I don’t sit there strategically thinking about how to hold on to existing ones. The result is that I happily have full creative freedom to express myself and experiment. Nor do i obsess about having to gig every week. That’s not a rat race i’m interested in. The focus of my work has primarily been about making albums. Everything else slots in around that. I love living inside an album and the creative process. I love making videos and all the album artwork. If my work resonates with other people, then that’s fantastic too.
If your fans could remember one thing about you what would it be?
That I love my mustang bass and that I’m going to be doing this until the day i drop down dead.
What useless talent do you have/ party trick?
I have turned all my useless talents into this band! On a separate note, I can show you how to steal a penguin. After a few vodkas.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
If the audience is into your songs, then it’s always a fun experience. Because the energy you project onto the crowd bounces off them and straight back at you. I like to see people dancing to my songs. That makes me happy.
What was the worst experience on stage?
If there’s something wrong with the sound onstage, I find it unsettling moving past that. As long as I can hear it and it sounds good, then we’re OK!
Tell us something about each band member that you think people would be surprised about?
The Mustang bass is actually the main songwriter. I just do as I’m told. Also, I can’t ride a bicycle – I need the little stabiliser wheels! True.
Tell us a funny story from backstage?
Nah. Backstage antics should stay firmly backstage! There’s a code about these things man. Who’s been spilling? They shouldn’t be damn it!
Name a four piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)
Is this for the big gig in the sky? If so then that’s easy – Kurt Cobain on lead guitar, Prince on vocals and rhythm guitar, Moe Tucker on drums, Kristen Pfaff on bass. With guest appearances from Nico.
If you could play any music festival which would it be?
The sadly now defunct ATP. I’m all about the VIP chalets.
Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing?
In the early noughties, The Eighties Matchbox, Icara Colt and The Parkinsons toured the UK. Every single one of those shows was legendary. I went to many of them!
What makes you stand out as a band?
Dunno mate. I don’t know any other bands made up of a mustang bass, a drum pedal, a vocal effects pedal a woolly mammoth bass overdrive pedal and a human. Also, the XUP logo I made is pretty cool. I like that a lot.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus 🙂)
Wanting to get on with the next album already!
Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were all together?
I’m the only human in my band. Trying to keep myself together is part of the daily routine. I don’t tend to laugh at my own jokes. I can look in the mirror and try laughing if that helps?
What’s your favourite song to play live and why? A Bigger Man – off our fourth album, Broken Doll. It’s usually the second song on the set and my nerves tend to subside by the time the beat kicks in. I love playing and dancing to it on stage.
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
You’re almost right. I had a single out called Cut You Open. It was out in July though. I now have a brand new album dropping on Sunday:
Feed The Wolf Inside, drops on 23.08.20 on Cherry Vitriol Records. It’s available on limited edition vinyl via our Bandcamp page, and also on iTunes and Spotify. The album comes with liner notes, lyrics, cover art and a few other goodies depending on which format you get. I wrote, produced and arranged all the songs and the album was recorded at the start of the apocalypse back in March, in Manchester.
More about the album… Feed The Wolf Inside is a primal creature that shape-shifts between predator and prey and dances between the chase and the kill. It creeps into birth, life, death and all the sick and twisted love songs that fill the deep, dark spaces in between.
And even better… here are some fun facts: It is my 6th album release. To celebrate that, only 6 copies of the album were pressed on vinyl. There is also a nostalgic thread that runs throughout the album. For example, the artwork colour scheme is a nod to the colour scheme for our first album (Asteroids). The title of the album is a nod to themes featured in our second album (Different Animal) and the song Play Louder includes a lyric which references my fourth album (Broken Doll). In keeping in the spirit of my live performances through 2019, the songs only include drums, bass and vocals. So it is the first XUP album that doesn’t feature any guitar parts. It’s become a bit of a ritual to release stuff on the birthdays of people I like! The first single from this album (Cut You Open), was released on Courtney Love’s birthday and the new album itself, is being released on River Phoenix’s birthday… Previous album releases have fallen on Kurt Cobain’s birthday and Nick Cave’s birthday.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Yes! As we’re not really allowed full-on proper gigs yet… I’m holding an online listening party this Sunday 23 August for the album launch. I’ll be streaming the whole album on our YouTube channel, along with some artwork and visuals. People can send questions in via our social media platforms and there will be a giveaway including exclusive merch. More details can be found on the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/754485475379303/
Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.
Thanks for chatting to me. See ya on the other side x Lane