Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Who the L R LHB?

First published in The Badger, February 2002

Remember towards the end of last year, posters asking “Who is Dave Matthews?” plastered the boarded-up shops of Britain? All part of a mahoosive marketing campaign, to which the answer was “some American bloke who did that song on that mobile ad where the wailing banshee is inadvertently busking on the train platform.” A few months on, and you can expect to see similar posters covering the length and breadth of the country, thankfully plugging something slightly more worthwhile – the brilliant LHB and their equally brilliant album Tell ‘Em Who We Are.

Rather funnily, while Lee Wilson-Wolfe and Giles Barton excel as musicians, they lack a sensible bone in either body. And once again, the ropey name of our beloved publication causes puzzlement. “The Badger is a newspaper?!” exclaims Lee. “Oh right! We saw it written in brackets after your name and we thought it was, like, your nickname. Like a terrible DJ name or something.”

Already having received outstanding reviews for Tell ‘Em Who We Are, LHB look set to make it huge with their new single, the Sting-sampling Everybody Sees It On My Face, quite cleverly released in the wake of Sting’s recent Brit honours. “The Brits?” asks Lee. “What are they, then? I’ve been in the pub for the past couple of weeks.” It shows. “Did Kelis get anything?” No. “Why did Kelis not get anything?” She wasn’t nominated. “Oh.”

Whilst the new single nicks bits from Geordie yoga freaks, the other tracks on the album each showcase a different style of music. No two songs on Tell ‘Em Who We Are are even remotely similar – was this a conscious decision? “Ideally we wanted to avoid that,” they explain. “We wanted to go for one style, one feel, but that was just how it came out.” Although Lee names ELO as the band’s main influence, it’s easy to see why the album ended up so varied: “We love all music. I know it sounds really old, but all music is great. We’ll listen to Radio 1, then we’ll go to some weird pub and listen to old reggae. And it’s all great.”

Having already used the vocal talents of Imogen Heap and the aforementioned Sting, is there any one person, dead or alive, that they would like to work with? “Dead Or Alive,” says Lee, quick as a flash and seemingly rather proud of it. “Nah, joke. Maybe Chaka Khan?” he suggests while Giles thinks of his own ideal collaborator. “Seriously…” Lee continues. “…the Sultan of Brunei!”

LHB are like this throughout the whole interview, and it’s refreshing - so many dance acts are so desperate to maintain credibility they lose all personality. Lee also points out that they’re not musical snobs either – they respect all artists. Even the Pop Idol collective? “Yeah, it’s fun, cos pop is horribly shallow and shit anyway. It’s a bit like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, isn’t it? You win a prize at the end, your mum watches it, it’s just fun.”

Once LHB have the next single out of the way, they plan to continue promoting the album and possibly embark on a tour. And their long terms plans? “Well, death,” Lee proffers. “I hope to live a bit, and then die.” As he continues, it almost looks as though a straight answer is on the horizon: “We’d like to do a third album… and earn enough money to have people killed.” So near, yet so far. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em: who would you spend your hard-earned cash on assassinating? Lee waits until his partner in crime is just out of earshot: “I’d kill Giles actually. But don’t tell him.”

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