Up until now the most successful musicians from Wolverhampton have been limited to Noddy Holder and sparkly toothed Goldie, but with fresh new talent The Lines that could be about to change.
Formed by friends Alex Ohm and Dean Bate, this indie four piece have been described as psychedelic indie and have held their own opening for Babyshambles, Editors, The Holloways and The Maccabees to name but a few. With London beckoning and label interest growing, The Lines are one to watch. Singer and guitarist Alex Lanes took some time out on a Friday afternoon to have a chat with Dee Massey.
Right Alex, let’s start right at the beginning. How did you guys all get together to form The Lines?
Well I’ve known the guitarist Dean basically all my life…we just ended up having a jam and stuff, and some covers and …ended up staring a band! [laughs] Chris, the bass player – we’d known him since secondary school and working in pubs and stuff, and our drummer at the moment, Ryan – we know him through other bands from the last few years, he left his last band and joined us straightaway basically..
So you guys are from Wolverhampton, fill us in -what’s the music scene like up there?
It’s not a great music scene – it’s ok, it has picked up recently with other local bands doing well. It’s only got a couple of venues that are any good really, you’ve got the Varsity and the Little Civic, and it’s got bigger venues such as the main Civic. It’s ok – there’s going to be some good bands coming out of it now.
And what bands are you into yourself? Are you guys inspired by anyone in particular?
It varies from each member really, I know Ryan’s really like the more rock based bands like Blink and stuff, but the other three of us really bands like The Beatles, more brit pop bands, but then there’s other bands who do influence us who aren’t in that genre, like Jurassic 5.
So how would you explain your sound?
I find it hard to say really because it is sort of indie…and it’s not really brit pop – I know some bands listen to themselves and put themselves into a category…but I don’t know if I could do that…I guess we’re just indie…alternative..[laughs] I should make up a new genre..
You guys have supported some really popular bands like Babyshambles, Editors, Maccabees and The Holloways – how did those slots come about?
It’s just through supporting them at the Little Civic, whilst they’ve been touring, and it’s through just hard work , pushing for gigs and stuff. We supported Babyshambles at the Dublin Castle [in Camden], and it can be harder for us sometimes, being an unsigned band but we’ve got the London show with The Crimea and stuff, so we’re getting there!
And how do you know The Crimea, Owen’s [Hopkins – drummer of The Crimea] looking after you guys now right?
Yeah, he’s helping us out, it’s great. We got to know The Crimea through Owen, we played the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham and he was being tour manger for a band, and he saw us, came to talk to us and we’ve just kept in touch.
And you’re supporting them at Borderline?
Yeah on the Tuesday!
And I understand you’re looking to release a single in September?
Yeah we’re talking about that. It’s the first time we’ve done anything like that so I’m a bit scared..
Yeah it is great, but we’ve just booked the Civic Bar which is like a 400 person venue, and that’s a really big step up, it’s quite scary as an unsigned band!
Nah! Enter Shikari sold out the Astoria unsigned, you’ll be fine!
[laughs] I hope so! Could look a bit funny with just my mum and dad and my auntie!
And what would be your dream venue – if you could play anywhere in the world?
Little Civic in Wolverhampton of course! [laughs] But I would like to play the main Civic here, because it’s one of the first venues I ever went to, and I’d quite to play Koko because it’s so beautiful.
It’s really stunning in there isn’t it? It still looks like a theatre..
I think that’s what I like about it really, just the different levels – it’s great in there. As or other venues..Wembley?!
What band would you most like to go on tour with?
Ooh that’s a tricky one! …The Beatles! Just to see what it’d be like. Wouldn’t mind going on tour with The Maccabees, they seemed really cool, or the Stones!
And why should people come and see you live? What do your shows have that others don’t?
Lots of mistakes![laughs] A different sound, an all around fun experience! [laughs] We try to make it a bit more interesting, a bit different.
What’re your hopes for the next 12 months or so?
Hopefully sort some kind of signing out, and a release and it’d be nice to do a full month tour..
Right – it’s time for the quickfire round..are you ready?
I think so!
What 3 things should you always take on tour.
Phone charger…clean socks and pants!
Every band I talk to says clean socks..
[laughs] Definitely the clean socks! And a phone…oh and the band!
What is the most shameful CD that you own?
Noooo…why did you have to interview me? I’m going to have to say…Cisco and Thong Song.
Oh my god! You should be ashamed!
I was a kid!
Yeah yeah…What was the first gig you ever went to?
Um…probably Space at the Civic Hall…no..actually Shed Seven!
Who is the most annoying person in the band!
[laughs] I can’t answer that!
Yes you can!
[laughs]I’ll say Ryan..[laughs] I’m sure he’s got ADD or something..you can’t leave him along for more than 2 seconds!
What’s the best and worst thing about being in a band?
Best thing is the places you go, the gigs and meeting new people. The worst is the pressure it can put you under, and you start to get on each others nerves.
If there was a fight between the …easter bunny, Tooth fairy and Santa who’s win?
Why? I think Santa would kick their arse!
Nah [laughs] ..he’s a big cuddly thing..he won’t even get involved, he’d say ‘have a present’ and walk off.
And lastly…your words of wisdom for the Crossfire readers…
You know if you asked anybody if I had any words of wisdom they’d say no! Be safe..take it easy..and don’t swallow too many biscuits!
Check out the fresh new talent this is The Lines at www.myspace.com/wearethelines