19th Jun2009

Your New Favorite Band: LR Rockets

by Todd

For those of you joining us from England for the first time, I have some important news for you from here in the States.  Remember that MTV thing we foisted on you a few decades ago?  Yeah, we don’t really do that video on the tv thing anymore.  I understand it’s pretty big over there now.  Oops.   Sorry.  Um, and ya know how excited you were when My Bloody Valentine re-formed?  Well….we have dozens of MBV and Jesus and Mary Chain-a-like bands here now.  Hope you don’t mind, but we lifted that from you.

Here’s the thing:  I love the spate of “I love my distortion pedal” bands that have popped up in the States.  And I don’t really miss videos.  But…there’s this thing going on in England that all of us in the States need to know about.  Um…they’re having fun over there.  Lots of it.  While we’re busy gazing at our shoes, they’re dancing, getting drunk and having a grand ‘ole time.  England’s LR Rockets is a great example of a band, who make videos (lots of them!), have fun and aren’t ashamed of it.

I love hearing a great song from a new band.  In fact, I can make mix cd’s of one-hit wonder bands all day long and be perfectly happy.  Tell me that this new band has a bunch of good songs and I’m ecstatic.  We previously highlighted LR Rockets’ song “Cameron Is Connected”.  Once we explored the bands’ other songs, we found a band who can weave three or more great hooks within a single song.  There is no greater manic pop thrill than to listen to a band like LR Rockets who’s energy, enthusiasm and ability to craft a song breathes some fresh air into our perfectly comfortable darklands.

I try to challenge you here at TDOA:  I hope that you can listen to The Bronx and Band of Horses back to back without complaining.  LR Rockets are quite different than anything we’ve got going here in the U.S. right now.  The fellows from LR Rockets (LP, LEBOMB, JUDGE, FACE & SYMS) took some time to tutor us on the ways of the next British Invasion.  Time to open your brains again, kiddies.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.840173&w=425&h=350&fv=m%3D56957928%26type%3Dvideo%26a%3D0]

TDOA: We’ve talked with older British bands about the fickle nature of the British music press.  How do you approach the media and try to promote the band, knowing that they can turn on you in a heartbeat?

LP: Firstly I think we are a bit more confident and positive than to think about a backlash.  How could anyone turn on us?  Come on really!  Our approach is make music we love, get it in the right people’s hands by any means possible, work hard and enjoy making and playing music.  The rest is then out of your control.  I think the biggest thing is do not get hung up on the success side, enjoy it and be the best band you can be and fuck everyone else.  If they like you then great, if they don’t, do you really care?  We don’t (but we might chop your hands off if you do slag us off).

TDOA: Radiohead and The Boxer Rebellion have used different methods, but essentially shown that you can self-release your own music and be sucessful.  Does this influence how you approached the major labels or how you plan the future of the band?

LP: Self-releasing has had a massive influence over us and many bands in the UK.  Majors are not signing bands and few labels take risks on people so you need to be successful to get a deal.  So how the hell do you do that without a label or backing?  Well you save all your hard earned cash and you do it yourself.  Nice of the majors (and even the indie’s too some degree) to do that to us, right?  Yes (god I’m asking my own questions, when I should be answering yours here, sorry), they have in backward way, as you can now actually do it yourself with the way the rest of the industry works and if it’s successful keep doing it yourself and not giving any of your money to the greedy ‘unit’ men and women.  The labels have made a rod for their own back’s.  More and more bands are going to be self releasing.  We see it around us all the time now.  We self released ‘Dance it Away’ EP back in Jan 09 and it was the most successful releases we have had to date.  You do the math’s (yes we say math’s over here, how terribly english!).

TDOA: I hesitate to call you music “pop” because it has a negative connotation here.  But your music has a more radio friendly feel than the My Bloody Valentine/Jesus & Mary Chain revival that we here alot in the U.S..  Do you think about the commercial appeal of your music while writing?

Lebomb: We certainly don’t consider the commercial appeal when writing, however an LR Rockets song is not complete without at least two or three killer melodies. Our philosophy is to try and write more hooks in one song than your average band can get into an entire EP.  It’s all about enjoying what we play and wanting to sing and dance along to our own shit really.   In that sense, if making it popular with ourselves, qualifies as pop and in turn makes it commercially viable, then roll on the huge fan-base that will come and dance and sing along with us!!

TDOA: “Alternative/New Wave” or whatever you want to call it has been going for over 30 years now.  From Oasis to Nirvana, it’s been proven that good music will generate revenue for labels and radio.  Why do you think radio still refuses to take great music like yours and put it in heavy rotation?

Face: Because we’re the Devil!!!  Radio is dominated by pop, squeaky clean crap that constantly gets churned out by majors and some 50-something suit heads the labels.  And what does he like to look at?  Young girls and boys…the old perv.  He probably reckons his kids shouldn’t be influenced by five hardened lads who have something to say and are making music for a real reason.  Plus the most powerful suits are those in the US and God help us they have a ‘hard on’ for R&B for some despicable reason.

TDOA: The bands here in America rarely have videos, but the British bands all seems to have several.  In fact, there really isn’t much of a forum for videos in the U.S. anymore, as MTV is more focused on bad reality shows.  How do bands like yourselves afford to make videos?  Am I correct that there seems to be a greater focus on videos there?

Judge: Really! Well, you have a lot more cable channels then us with a lot more music channels. Music vids I believe are as popular in the states today as they were back  in the 80s. Though the music video for british bands is a big hit for there finances. It is a promo tool that is known not to make  (if any) great return. BUT, as we love making videos and will continue to do so as there are many mediums in which people can view these.  We don’t see it as being an obstacle just a load of fun.  In every song we make we always speak about ideas regarding visuals weather it be narrative or performance based.  If we had more wonga then we would do a vid for all our songs!

TDOA: I’ve read a little bit about the reaction to ‘Death of the UK’.  I know you guys have said you’re not deeply political, but at least you’ve made an attempt!  Why do you think we don’t see much in the way of musical political protest music?  It’s not like we live in a time where the economy is great and the world is at peace…

Lebomb: We’re not deeply political, true…as it’s not our way to wear our bleeding hearts on our sleeves.  We don’t belive in cramming an agenda down anybodies ear-holes, but that doesn’t mean we’re afraid to cross swords with the occasional topical issue. I think in England there’s a general resistance to taking the Billy Bragg route of protest song, as it lacks that artistic edge you get from distancing yourself from a subject matter and coming back at it with either wit or cynicism. As a nation we often think we’re far too cool to admit we believe in something and I think it’s a symptom of that…perhaps that’s a shame.

LR Rockets- Death of the UK

[audio http://thedumbingofamerica.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/lr-rockets-death-of-the-uk.mp3]

TDOA: What does the band enjoy more, making videos or playing live/touring?

Syms: As much as the band enjoy the creative process of making a video that conveys the subject matter of our singles, we prefer to be playing gigs, touring around and meeting the locals. Expressing a song, with the amount of energy that we can produce at a live show, is one of the most exhillarating experiences for us and once we start to feed off the crowds reaction performances get bigger and better.

TDOA: Any plans to tour America in the next year?

Judge: Would never say never! Things just keep happening all the time for us and we have achieved a lot that is remarkable in the way that you wouldn’t of dreamt it. I feel quite confident with the way things are going we shall be crossing the pond next year!

TDOA: What music are you listening to these days?

LR: Fight Like Apes, Datarock, Dan Black, Ming Ming and the Ching Chings, My Tiger My Timing, Swound, The Chapman Family, The Fall, Devo, Depeche Mode, Stopstarts, Liars.

TDOA: If there was one band you could banish from the planet, who would it be?

Face: That’s easy!  Snow Patrol, they represent everything that is bad about British music and have somehow tapped into the brain dead parts of the rest of the world too.  Supermarket indie music…I get embarrassed when I hear a Snow Patrol song.  In fact, if it’s easier you could just banish me so I don’t have to hear them anymore.

For more information about LR Rockets, visit their website at : www.lrrockets.com or their MySpace page at: www.myspace.com/lrrockets. You can also follow them on Twitter: @LRRockets

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