‘Tabloid Newspaper’ dutifully picks apart what it means to be a songwriter in this day and age. Singer Lewis Duffin’s lyrics are as poignant as ever, but never has his tongue been so firmly lodged on the inside of his cheek.
You seldom find a band who can flip the conversation in a completely different direction from release to release. Masterfully swerving between themes that rank from the mundane to the macabre, Hotel Lux’s output so far has left a lasting impression every time and while their style has certainly become more jovial than their Peaky Blinders featured first single, ‘The Last Hangman’, they are no doubt still just as happy leading the ignorant to the gallows as they were back then. The message behind ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ is certainly the star here.
Duffin is forcing the listener to question everything they hear. If you’ve placed your faith in his songwriting thus far, he’s got news for you, he’s just as ‘devoid of integrity’ as the next man and it is this painfully honest lyricism that unites their ever-evolving sound.
It’s for reasons such as this, that the title of their upcoming debut EP is so apt. If ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ is anything to go by, ‘Barstool Preaching’ will not only have you shaking your hips but raising a fist to the ridiculousness of British society. Much like your favourite local booze-hound, Hotel Lux are determined to help you see the light, one warm pint of Stella at a time.
We sat down for a pint with Lewis Duffin to discuss the new single, the upcoming election and their debut headline tour.
A motif that has recurred in the new single from your previous track ‘The English Disease’ is the thought of you all in a cheap run down boozer, sipping on cold pints of Stella and reflecting on the philosophical teachings of the one and only Danny Dyer (whether true or not). What do you think he would say about the new track and the themes therein?
Lewis: He’d be into it, I’m sure. He’s a wise geezer, he’s knows what the papers are all about.
To me, ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ seems like your way of acknowledging that the music industry has a problem with the truth. As musicians, do you think you have a duty to tell the truth to your listeners, especially younger fans who look up to you?
It’s an admission to myself more than anything. Spent so long trying to write lyrics that had a real depth to ‘em but really if you’ve gotta try that hard they probably lack depth anyway. These lyrics, like English Disease, are just drawing away from the issue we had of perhaps taking ourselves too seriously.
‘Tabloid Newspaper’ is another great example of you exploring some controversial and challenging themes in your music. One stand out track in this regard is ‘Daddy.’ How does it feel to be able to speak your mind and shine a light on subjects that other bands may be afraid to touch?
L: To be honest, we’re only in it for the Radio 1 spins so we had to dim the words down a bit.
During the debate, the prime minister was laughed at when he agreed that the ‘truth matters’ in the up coming election. Do you think the British public know a lie when they see it, or has it never been easier for the media and those in power to mislead and deceive?
I have Facebook so I don’t think the British public know a lie when they see it. The Facebook population would believe anything I reckon. This election is a frank portrayal of that. Y’know, people genuinely think Jeremy Corbyn loves the IRA. Like genuinely. Murdoch and the Barclay brothers have an awful lot to answer for.
You’re gearing up for your first headline tour of the UK and us here at Wax can’t wait to catch you when you roll into Bristol. What can fans expect from the tour and what advice would you give to any one looking to experience your music for the first time?
L: We’ll be playing some new tunes and experimenting with the set a bit more on the tour. As a headline tour that feels necessary. My advice would be to bring your mum and dad – the middle age is very ‘in’ right now.
‘Tabloid Newspaper’ is out now via Nice Swan Records – Hotel Lux play The Exchange (Basement) for Wax Music on 27th February – tickets available here.
Words: David Sturgess