Femke Lippens

13 Jun

Larkins: “As An Artist You Have to Use Your Platform for Good”

Larkins has been getting all the rage. With the release of their newest single “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?” the Manchester band has taken the world by storm. We talked with frontman Josh Noble and guitarist Dom Want about their newest music video, the environment, and where the hell Brussels is located.

What have you guys been up to in quarantine?

Dom: We’ve been doing the kind of stuff that everyone has been doing, like cooking and jogging. It’s also given us a hell of a lot of time to sit down and reflect on the past year and to really get into album mode. We’ve done a lot of writing, which wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t stuck in quarantine.

Josh: This situation has definitely been a silver lining. When you’re touring, there’s just no time. I had loads of voice notes and ideas on my laptop that I have now been able to go back to and finish off.

I saw that you could finally rehearse together again after 10 weeks. How did that go?

Josh: It got to the point where we just had to start working again, but it’s working pretty well! We have a big studio warehouse in Manchester, so we can be in different little rooms and still work together. It’s nice to be back in the studio. We even have another session tomorrow.

For people who don’t know your music yet, how would you describe it?

Dom: We’ve been asked this question for five years, and we’ve never been able to come up with a good answer. We usually just make stuff up.

Josh: It’s kind of like ambient, alternative pop with guitars. The Killers but more atmospheric. LA and London together. Just smash them together and drop a guitar in. Kind of like that.

I saw a lot of comments that describe you as the love child of The 1975 and The Wombats. Do you see those two bands as an inspiration?

Josh: We would listen to The Wombats religiously when growing up. I think The 1975 have managed to make pop very cool. At the same time, just because I have long curly hair and Dom uses a guitar perhaps once that sounds a bit like them, doesn’t mean we’re anything like The 1975. I don’t really give a fuck. I think we stand for different things, but it’s nice to be compared to them.

Let’s talk about your newest music video for “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?”. It was so aesthetically pleasing. How did that video come about?

Josh: In my head, I had this concept where I was wandering around London with lush, cinematic visuals. We sent that idea out to a few directors, and two guys from Manchester (Grandmas) came back with this idea about me getting hit by a car. That would be the starting point. You get hit and you ask yourself, “Are we having any fun yet?” All these different characters are asking themselves that question. It was all shot on film, and it was a fucking long shoot. Like 16 hours. It was also filmed around the corner from where we used to live.

In the YouTube comments of that video, you added time stamps explaining some moments in the video. Why did you do that?

Dom: A lot of people drop videos that they have put so much work into, and it’s kind of brushed past. This was such a mad shoot, especially for Josh, so it deserved to have a little more recognition. It’s different from anything we’ve done before.

You also created a website linked to “AWHAFY?” where people can share their thoughts about the pandemic and so on. What was the thought behind that?

Josh: We have always tried to be very conscious of mental health. It already felt like releasing a single during a pandemic was a risk, but the message spoke to people, especially in this situation. Sometimes it feels like you’re very isolated and alone, but then you go on social media and you notice how many other people are feeling the exact same way. We had the idea that if we weren’t in lockdown, we would get this huge wall, and people could use spray paint and stickers on it to share their thoughts. But that wasn’t possible, so we turned it virtual. You can go to the website and write whatever you want. People can spend a day reading through it, feeling like there’s just some type of community during these crazy times and ask themselves, “Are we having any fun yet?”

Taken from Larkins' Instagram

You’re also very environmentally involved with your clothing line, Animals in Costume, being 100% organic and ethically sourced. Why was that so important for you?

Dom: We saw so many bands releasing the same merch, thinking they can stick a band logo on there and ship loads of shirts from China, not thinking about the consequences this can have on the environment and the people making those shirts. The harm these materials can have on our planet is so huge, and people don’t think about that. The clothing industry (fast fashion) is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and environmental damage. Even going down to the fact that shipping stuff in cardboard can be worse for the environment than finding good recyclable plastics. It was really important for us to learn about these things because you don’t realize how little you know about stuff.

It must be a big issue for bands because I can imagine how difficult it must be to tour sustainably as well?

Josh: I remember posting on Instagram like, “Look, we want to become sustainable but it’s going to cost more money.” We now have a fanbase that gives us feedback and tells us whether something is a really bad idea or not, but they were are like, “Yeah, let’s fuckin do it!” So Animals in Costume is born out of this idea that other bands would be encouraged to make their own sustainable merch as well.

You also discuss different topics like in your song “TV Dream”, which depicts rape culture. Why was that an important thing for you to address?

Josh: We must seem like a humanitarian group. The song used to be about my grandparents going through their relationship. They talked about love as if it’s this fairytale about how they met on the dancing floor and fell in love. At the same time, in Manchester especially, there was this huge calling for gender equality because of what was happening around rape culture. They were blaming young women for how they were dressing and how it was inviting rapists. I think this is a really important point that we have to shout about a bit more. I think that song was just a big turning point for us to be like “We want to make pop music, we want to write guitar music, but it has to say something. It has to be important to us.”

Do you think all music should have meaning?

Josh: People often rely on the lyrics to have meaning, but I don’t think that’s just the case. Sometimes instruments say more in a minute of music than a writer could.

Dom: The important thing for an artist is to use your platform for good. People are very lucky to have a lot of followers on Instagram, and I don’t think people do enough for causes. It’s not just about music.

Now that things are finally starting to pick back up again, what’s on the schedule for you guys?

Dom: We’re deep into album mode at the moment. We’re hoping to have a debut out by the end of the year. Obviously, gigs and shows have kind of taken a backseat, so we have to take that into account, which is quite gutting. We feel like we’re on this big inhale with Larkins, and I feel like when we will start doing shows again it’s just gonna be *exhales* unbelievable.

Josh: That’s a beautiful metaphor, honestly.

Dom: Thank you.

He’s just spilling beautiful quotes all over.

Dom: That’s me!

Josh: That’s going on the next T-shirt!

Your EP Hit and Run has just come out, but can we expect some new singles soon?

Josh: Anything is possible. I feel like we’re ready for the next step and make an album, but it has to be perfect. We have a lifetime to write it, so we got to get it right. If it’s not perfect, it won’t come out. So, over the next few weeks, it could get a little bit heated in our studio.

And will you be doing a European tour for the album because you haven’t done that before?

Josh: We did a couple of shows in Germany but we were so bad. That was like 2 years ago. We’ve done a show in Belgium actually!

Dom: Yes, Amsterdam.

That’s not in Belgium…

Josh: I’m sure when we toured Germany, we started in Belgium.

Dom: What’s the city with loads of chocolate?

That’s Brussels.

Dom: Yeah, we did Brussels! Is Brussels in Belgium?

Josh: Yeah, Dom. Fucking hell. Geography has never been a strong suit for this band. We do everything else but geography.

Check out Larkins’ new music video for “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?”

Photos by: Larkins

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