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The last time you may have seen a couple of these lads was in post-rock band Erica Black, who then became This Is Your Chance To Run. They got quite far in a few of Nottingham’s Battle of the Bands but there was always something missing. Now they’ve stripped away all the pretence, picked up a new drummer and just want to make straight-up pop music. Meet Lacey – the people’s band.
Lacey sounds like the name of a lady from Babestation. Why did you choose it as a band name?
Graham: Well, we were all watching Babestation one night…
David: We’re all really big fans of a band called Brand New, and their lead singer is a guy called Jesse Lacey, so it’s quite a nod and an ode to him really.
G: It’s also quite a neutral name – you wouldn’t know our genre without listening to us. It’s not like Bullet For My Valentine.
So you can change styles whenever you like?
G: Oh, absolutely.
Speaking of changes, the last time I saw Graham and Josh on stage together was in a very interesting post-rock outfit called Erica Black. But this Lacey are not post-rock. Why the dramatic shift?
G: Well, no one was bothered about us. We thought we were the best band in the world, but we really weren’t. The song-writing was really obscure and weird but we just took it too far.
Josh: We just lost the structure and what a song is really about. We were just a bit too self-indulgent.
G: Pretentious is a very good word for it too.
So how long were you all contemplating launching a ‘pop’ band then?
D: I was playing in a band called Rivals and we were doing alright, but then that all kind of fell apart. Then a week later I spoke to these guys, their band had split up too and they were up for doing something together. It all came together really quickly because we’re all from quite similar musical backgrounds, in terms of what we like.
Do you guys ever worry about people being quite snobby about Lacey being a shameless pop band?
D: Well, we’re not trying to ‘market’ ourselves as a pop band, but I’d say that the songs have definitely taken that kind of form. When I listened to Erica Black and This Is Your Chance To Run, I thought the music they were making sounded at odds with the music that they actually liked. When our stuff came together it was a lot more representative of what we all enjoy. Before they were trying to overcomplicate things, whereas what really comes naturally to them is writing killer vocal hooks and basic guitar-les pop rock.
G: Right now, songwriting is so much fun. It sounds simple, but I just f*cking love writing a massive hook and jumping around. The point of music is to have fun.
J: We still take inspiration from everywhere, like prog-rock to all sorts, and I think you can still hear that in us because we aren’t your standard pop band.
G: Exactly. When I’m writing vocals, I don’t want to do the obvious but I still want it to be widely accessible. It’s not coded - it’s all pretty straight up.
So the whole thing is considered but not over-thought?
D: There are so many bands like us on our level. We know that we have to be different if we want to do this properly. We have to take things seriously and be a bit more conscious of the fact that we won’t just get picked up for being good live or having a decent tune. We have to consider the whole thing almost as a brand – but not in a really shallow or transparent way.
With it being so hard for guitar bands to chart at the moment, do you feel that people are more open to pop?
J: It’s quite simple – pop will never die. That’s just because of what it is. Nirvana were a pop band. The Beach Boys were a pop band. A song is a song. That’s all we’re about, so hopefully we’ll get a few screaming girls.
G: I defy anyone to go away from our shows without singing our hooks. Quote me on that.
What do you guys think of the rest of the Nottingham music scene at the moment?
J: It’s all building up so well – not just in guitar bands but with hip-hop and dubstep too.
G: It’s amazing, but I think there’s a gap where we could slot in.
D: I read an article the other day that basically said that Sheffield, Bristol and Leeds have had their moment in the sun, but now it’s Nottingham’s turn. Due to all of gigs being put on by great promoters and all that, it’s just becoming a lot more vibrant. There are great venues here and as a student town it breeds a certain creativity. You aspire to want to play a place like Rescue Rooms or Rock City and the amazing thing is that you actually can. We’d love to ride the crest of that wave and be a part of it.