Sunday 15 March 2020

The Lottery Winners - Interview

The Lottery Winners released their self-titled debut album on Friday. We caught up with Thom, Katie, Joe and Rob on the day of release just before their live performance at Manchester HMV. We talked about the excitement of the debut album, the trials and tribulations around its recording and release, their big upcoming Manchester Ritz headline and the amazing connection they have with their home town.

So, your debut album is out today. It's ten years since you became a band. How does it feel actually having it in your hands and out in a record shop?

Katie : I cried

Thom : Probably cried, not like a little tear of relief and happiness. She was like snotting and she was on the floor and lots of people had to come and check she was OK.

Rob : St John's Ambulance had to come over

Katie : Me and Joe were talking before and all this work we've been putting in, sat in rehearsal rooms, having arguments, you're in a band..

Thom : What do you mean arguments?

Katie : I mean, we've all been getting on. But to stand here like before, in an actual HMV and to feel like an actual band for the first time, it just made me cry.

It's been a long journey hasn't it?

Thom (interrupts) : It's only down the Lancs isn't it?

Some things haven't changed (everyone laughs). You recorded it with a different label, and then you got the album back and it's come out with Modern Sky. Was there a point where it felt like it was never going to happen?

Thom : Constantly, it was really really hard on our mental health.

Joe : Thom quit the band every day. One day he'd say "I'm quitting" then the next day he'd be "I'm definitely quitting. 100% I'm out of the band"

But the rest of you can all sing can't you?

Thom : But they haven't got no tunes without the main man. Where's the charisma? That's what I wanna know. But yeah it was difficult, it was hard on us as human beings, having all our eggs in this one basket and delays and delays and delays and not releasing for so long and not knowing what was going on. That was the worst thing.

Marc (manager) says something not captured

Thom : That's our manager Marc, it was all his fault (everyone laughs). But you know, I think things happen for a reason and we've picked the perfect time to release an album and go on tour when definitely nothing is ever going to get cancelled and there's no pandemics.

At least the album is out before everything shuts down..

Thom : And people can listen to it at home.

Do you have favourite songs on the album. Are there any on there have a particular sentiment?

Thom : The album's like an autobiography for me so I can tap into where I was, what the song's about and how I felt at that time. I've got a favourite song for when I'm feeling sad, a favourite song for when I'm feeling happy, when I'm feeling thankful, when I'm driving through Leigh. I like them all, apart from three.

Rob : My favourite changes every single day. Today it's Headlock, but I think they're all crackers.

Joe : I remember more back to when we were in the studio, different parts that took hours and hours to think about

Thom : We started recording it in 2016, that was our first studio session. That's four years ago, we hate it all now, it's well old (everyone laughs)

Katie : My Only Friend and Young Again

Thom : The last two, you've got a long time to wait for yours

Katie : Just because of what we were going through at the time, it was very frustrating, I think those two songs make me want to cry again.

It's taken four years then for the record to come out. What's happened to songwriting in that time, have you now got a big set of new songs ready to go?

Thom : Of course, because throughout all that time when we were frustrated and nothing was coming out, we had all these feelings to write about. We've got albums in the bank now and it's all happened for a reason. We've been working hard all the time. I really feel that if you want to do this, and we do, and all our eggs are in this basket, we've got no plan Bs, then you've just got to do it every day and you've got to live and breathe it, otherwise what's the point? We don't want to do anything else. We live and breathe this every single day and that's the way it should be if you want to be a successful band and hopefully one day we will be successful.

I've got a couple of questions off people in the Facebook fan group.  So if you were lottery winners, if you went out and won the £47m jackpot tonight, would you still be doing this tomorrow?

Rob : No (everyone laughs)

Joe : Yes, but we'd be number one probably because we'd buy all our albums

Thom : Yes, but I'd look very different on stage. I'd have a gastric band, a hair transplant, pinned ears.

Joe : We'd all have a separate tour bus and just turn up on stage, all go our separate ways after back to our islands

Thom : Of course we would. There's nothing better. I imagine that if I ever tried drugs, being on stage would be better than that.

Assuming it goes ahead, you've got The Ritz gig in April. Is that the dream venue for you in Manchester as you've grown up not too far from town?

Thom : It is.

Rob : It's our favourite venue for sure

Thom : We've all together been to loads of gigs there watching bands and always talked about one day playing there. It's been a dream for us since we started the band. I remember really early on going to see a band and looking round and thinking "if we ever got to this point then that would be incredible" and we're at that point now. I don't take it for granted, I just hope it happens, I really do.

Rob : It's got a great dancefloor

It only takes one person to move and it bounces doesn't it?

Thom : Our gigs are quite still usually. I was going to jump on it once and let it keep going rippling away (everyone laughs)

Once you've done that, is there anywhere else that you want to go and play?

Thom : We've always talked about South By South West and we almost went this year, but it would have been now and we thought we're releasing an album today and we need to be in the UK. So I think we've actually dodged a bullet by not doing South By South West this year. My absolute sympathy and my heart goes out to all those bands because of how important it is, how much money it costs to go out there and I'm reading how many bands are not insured and they're not getting their money back and that's devastating because there's no money in music, none of us are rich.

Rob : We'd have been devastated especially as we wouldn't have then had a plan for our album coming out.

Joe : When you go from buzzing and the high of being announced to that low, it's quite hard to come back from. 

Katie : We always wanted to do Glastonbury main stage.

Thom : We always wanted to do Glastonbury, but we ticked that one off last year. I had a really bizarre dream once that we wanted to support Tom Jones and that happened. That's unusual

Joe : It's not (everyone laughs)

You've supported some pretty big names though, like The Wonder Stuff?

Thom : Yeah, The Wonder Stuff was a big one for us, it was our first proper tour.

Katie : That's how we realised how to be a proper band. We'd never done that scale of venue, the people, the number of dates, being on the road, being knackered

Joe : We'd never stayed away from home after a gig.

Do you think that's made you as a band though? I remember seeing you very early on in somewhere like Altrincham, and you had the songs but it felt a little like you weren't taking it as seriously or were as focused as you are now. Do you think the long lead up to the album has helped you prepare for it rather than just jumping into it?

Thom : Yeah, we've not stopped gigging. We play together three times a week in front of an audience, every week, because we love it as a start, it brings us closer together as people and as musicians and we love hanging out with each other and it's all good practice. They say you've got to do ten thousand hours at something to become successful, we've done that.

And one night you're doing that, there might be ten people there, but one of those ten people might be the one that can really make a difference

Thom : Definitely, when we played Sound City a few years ago, there were fifteen people in the room and one of them was Seymour Stein. I didn't know he was there, but he signed us and then he made us sad (everyone laughs again). He left Sire and Warner and left us in a kind of weird situation but he set up Modern Sky with Dave Pichilingi so it felt like a natural place to be and it's just down the Lancs from us.

They've supported a lot of local bands. No Hot Ashes who we talked about earlier, The Slow Readers Club, The Blinders, SPINN

Thom : There's some really great bands on the label and we're really happy and privileged to be part of it. It's nice to have something closer to home as well, we were based out of New York before

Katie : We'd have a mad panic about something in the morning and we'd have to wait until the office was open in the afternoon.

Rob : The amount of times we'd ask what time it was in New York

Thom : Now, I don't have to do that, I can just burst into the office and flip up everyone's papers and yell "WHY AM I NOT FAMOUS YET?"

So the album's out, what happens next?

Thom : We haven't really thought past that. We're supposed to be touring, fingers crossed that happens, I really hope so. But if not, we'll take the time and we'll use it wisely, that's what we've learned to do.

Joe : We've got festivals in the summer and some support slots.

Thom : We're doing Kaiser Chiefs which is big and some big ones. So more of the same really. We're thinking about going to America to record our next album as we've always wanted to do that and if we can get out to America it'll just feel real. And we like wasting money (everyone laughs)

Rob : We could just do it in your bedroom like this one

Just get a flat in LA and do it in the bedroom there?

Rob : We can say it's about getting a fresh head space, but we just want to blow money

Thom : I want to go to Disneyland!

You've got a Record Store Day release coming out as well?

Thom : Yeah, did you see that's been postponed until June. It's a song we haven't released yet, it's a big one that wasn't good enough for the album. No that's not true, we wrote it afterwards.

Joe : I don't think anyone's heard it.

You're going back after this HMV set to play a show in Tyldesley and you've played a lot of shows around there and the Leigh area. Is it important to you to stay true to where you are from?

Thom : Absolutely. All those people who are going to be at our party tonight, they are the people who've been there since the start, the people we've tried songs out on, they've given us their opinions, it's like a family. I really think where we're from, Tyldesley, Atherton, Leigh, the people there really look after each other and everyone wants you to succeed. The other day we had the football shirts for Atherton Colls, that was amazing for us and we love to be part of that club and they love to be part of our band. We came from nowhere and nowhere is where we'll stay.

The Lottery Winners' website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

The album can be ordered from their official store.

Our review of the album can be found here.

They play Nottingham Rough Trade (March 17), Stockton Georgian Theatre (18), Whitehaven Yellow Earl (19), Nottingham Bodega (26), Leeds The Key Club (27), Southampton Joiners (28), Brighton Prince Albert (30), London Lexington (31), Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms (April 1), Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach (2), Birmingham Castle And Falcon (3), Hull Polar Bear (4), Newcastle Think Tank (7).

Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

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