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Don't Be So Soft! Sit-Down Chat with Psychedelic Dream-Pop Band Soft Girls and Boys Club

6 May 18 words: LP Mills

Known for their groovy licks and mellow atmosphere, those cheeky chaps at Soft Girls and Boys Club are some of Nottingham’s most entertaining up-and-comers. We had a sit-down with them over a cup of tea at their shared flat in Sneinton ahead of their new release Treadmill, set for May 10th, 2018.

Okay, so – could you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Louis [Potts]: We are Soft Girls and Boys Club. The band all started in 2014 with Ben [Webster] and Tom [Richards] recording songs at Ben’s flat in Melton. I already knew Ben and my brother Sam knew Tom, so we got involved writing some stuff with Sam on synth and me on drums. We needed a bassist and we knew our Lukey-boy [Harley] from playing with him in Leicester, so we got him involved too.

Luke: I’m the cherry on top.

Sam: Yeah, ‘cos he doesn’t need to be there, but he’s a nice addition.

Louis: It just kind of happened, y’know? We formed very naturally, everything just kinda fell into place.

Where does the band’s name come from?

Ben: Originally it was Webbo and the Soft Boys, but we had this whole legal problem with The Soft Boys, this band from the seventies. Y’know, properly popular, really well-known.

[At this point Ben shrugs with a “F*cked if I know” kind of look on his face.]

Ben: But yeah, they weren’t happy that we were using the name Soft Boys, because it implies that it was me performing with their old band. So we had a think and realised that the name of one of our EPs, which was going to be a nod to the Strange Boys album The Strange Boys and Girls Club, worked really nicely. People occasionally get it wrong though.

Luke: “Occasionally” meaning about 50% of the time. It is a fifty-fifty split, after all.

What’s your creative process like when it comes to writing new songs?

Sam: Ben’s our main songwriter, so I guess this one’s yours mate.

Ben: Yeah, well 90% of the time Tommy will write the lyrics and probably write a fair bit of the music, and then we just layer it up from there. We get the demo down, work out what program we’re going to use to compose it, then start rehearsing it together until we’ve got a decent sound.

Louis: Yeah, it’s a pretty standard progression – demo, rehearse, studio, play.

And you boys all live together, right?

Luke: Eh, nearly. I’ve got my own place – bloody cherry on top again. I lived in Nottingham before these guys but when I asked them to move in with me they were like “Nah f*ck that”.

And are there any creative differences that crop up because you all live together?

Louis: Honestly, we’re all pretty mellow.

Ben: Yeah, we all listen to pretty similar music, so we always know where we’re all coming from.

Louis: And it makes life a lot easier purely because we’re pretty much in the same place all the time. Like if we need a quick rehearsal or if there’s something we need to talk about we can just pop into the “band headquarters” and do it from there.

Luke: You’re sitting in the Soft Boy Headquarters!  

Louis: We’re thinking of getting “SOFT BOYS HQ” written in massive letters above the flat like on Trump Towers or something.  

You mentioned that you all have fairly similar taste in music. Who are your main influences as a band?

Sam: We always use Mac Demarco and Tame Impala as examples of what we sound like, but really we take influence from everything we listen to.

Louis: And because we all like the same kind of stuff we’re always turning each other onto new tracks. There are a bunch of more specific bands that we think of as influences – Wings is a big one at the moment.

Ben: Beatles in general, too, they were the glue that got us all together. Whenever I write a song, I tend to write in the style of whoever I’m listening to at that point in time, so when I wrote Treadmill I was listening to a lot of Genghar. It doesn’t always work – we’ve done like eight-minute trance metal tracks that not everybody was on-board with, but it’s about finding the right sound for the moment.

Louis: In terms of major bands that we link ourselves to, it’s guys like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, that kind of sound.

And what kind of genre would you describe that as being?

Louis: Well I’ve been applying for festivals all day and I’ve been describing us as “psychedelic rock – hyphen - dream pop”.

Luke: That pretty much covers all bases.  

Sounds pretty chill. How do you guys keep it so mellow?

Louis: Well it can be pretty chill, but some parts of our songs get pretty raucous and crazy.

Luke: Oh yeah, we can be real monstrous.

Louis: Totally monstrous. We’ve got some pretty gnarly riffs going on, some pretty crazy sounds in there, and we do get loud when we’re performing.

Sam: That sums us up as people, I think. We’re pretty chilled out and relaxed, but sometimes we –

Luke: Release the beast!

Ben: There’s a beast that lies within the chilled persona.

Luke: I reckon we could make an EP out of that, y’know.

So what’s on the agenda coming up?

Louis: Honestly, things are just rolling on nicely at the minute. We’ve been speaking with Phlexx records lately and they want to help us make some new tracks, and we’ve got Treadmill coming out really soon. We’re planning on putting another single out after that, followed by an EP released under Phlexx.

Sam: We’ve actually just performed a festival circuit in France, which was mad.  

Louis: Yeah, France was insane. Apart from that I guess the plan is to just keep gigging, performing at festivals, and making music, y’know?

The new Soft Girls and Boys Club single Treadmill is due out on May 10th, 2018, and the boys have a four-track CD on sale at Rough Trade. For more information about the boys, check out their Soundcloud page at: https://soundcloud.com/softgirlsandboysclub

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