Loose Articles: If You Don’t Laugh, You’ll Cry

Three years ago, Loose Articles came together out of a shared boredom of presumptions, and a desire to challenge the issues that they had come across over time. Particular issues include tiresome attitudes towards women in music, social anxieties, and a searing hatred for public transport. They are common, relatable topics for a lot of listeners, and are expressed through Loose Articles’ individual brand of street poetry that is both probing and comical. It’s confrontational in a necessary way, rather than in a way that repels. 

While they do have much to address, it’s not all statements of intent. In their own words, they do it for themselves, and most importantly to just have a laugh with it. 

Before Loose Articles, the four-piece of Natalie, Tree, Erin & Louise were immersed in their own creative outlets. Whether they were playing in other bands, making art, or graphic designing, they appeared to have been drawn together based on the merits of their work before it, and likely through their mutual appreciation of the odd pint. 

Their debut Orchid Lounge EP was released in homage to Manchester’s China Town late night karaoke bar, which is frequented by many characters of the city at all hours. Continuing this slight hedonist theme, they followed up with the single ‘Up The Disco’, which kind of does what it says on the tin. There are dancehall tinged elements, like the brilliant scale-climbing chorus – but it still lies heavily within their post-punk comfort zone. It was also the track which caused an increase in their airplay when it was premiered by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music. 

2021 has seen two Loose Articles releases so far. The first of which was ‘Buses’, which is quite simply a vocal assault towards catching the bus. The local myth that Manchester’s Oxford Street is the busiest bus route in Europe means many listeners can relate. ‘Kick Like A Girl’ is their most recent release, which alongside it saw a stroke of marketing genius – custom made ‘LAFC’ football tops. 

Their catalogue so far has caught the attention of many; including national radio stations, the prestigious Manchester International Festival, and also a certain Dave Grohl, who has invited them to open up for Foo Fighters at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium in 2022. No booking agent in sight.

I caught up with them just after they had played the Pink Room at YES Bar in celebration of its third birthday as a bar and music venue. They had performed the set as a three-piece tonight, so we spoke with Natalie, Erin & Louise. 

You only played as a three piece tonight? 

Erin: Tree was at Warehouse Project, basically having a good time. She booked it ages ago and just said to do it without her. 

Natalie: We don’t like doing it without her, but we got her approval. It was fine, but it just doesn’t sound as full to us, and we have to cut some parts where she is on the main vocals, and Erin fills in.

Erin: Because it was with our mates The Goa Express we really wanted to do it. Our first gig back was with them in their practice room – which was the first time we’d played in front of anyone for two years. We also wanted to do it because it’s YES’ third birthday, and we love a birthday party. 

What fond memories do you have of YES over the past three years?

Erin: We’ve played here twice in the basement. One of our first early gigs was supporting a dream pop band that were nothing like us at all. We just got tarred with the same brush of being female, so they put us with another female band really. 

Natalie: I don’t think the crowd really got us to be honest. We got a load of hilarious reviews from it. So many bad reviews. Someone said I was shouting about dicks all the time, but I was singing a song about the pub ‘Dirty Dick’s Food & Ale Emporium’ – so I was actually shouting about pubs.

Erin: But yeah we all love YES. We DJ a bit here. All the bar staff are sound, and some are our neighbours. We did a house tour comparison – I think we’ve got the better house.

You tend to use humour as a weapon for getting your message across.

Erin: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. 

Natalie: You need to get people in with the funniness and then they might listen to you more. 

Erin: The current political climate is a bit dire, so you have got to take the piss a bit, otherwise what’s the point?

Louise: We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We should probably take ourselves more seriously. We were two hours late for our own soundcheck a couple weeks ago. We live fifteen minutes down the road. 

Erin: It was ‘cos it was Parklife and Ronaldo’s first game at Old Trafford, so getting a taxi was a fuckin’ nightmare. Some people from a sewing machine factory in Brunswick Mill, where we practice, ended up giving us a lift with all of our gear. 

Louise: We hitchhiked to our own gig. 

What are the stand out venues of Manchester for you?

Louise: I really like The Ritz.

Erin: I love playing at The Ritz, I think it’s really well organised and the staff are dead sound; but going to a gig, my favourite venue is either The Peer Hat or Aatma. I’d rather just wander in somewhere like that, pay £3 on the door and hear a band I’ve never heard of. Then that’s how you learn about new music. 

Louise: I really like Band On The Wall, it’s got an amazing history and soundsystem. Salford has some good venues, like The Eagle Inn and Salford Arms.  

We can’t not talk about that certain support slot at the Etihad Stadium for Foo Fighters. How did it come about? 

Erin: So basically we got asked by The Foo Fighters to support them.

Natalie: I’ve got the email from SJM. They basically say, “Hi, The Foo Fighters have requested if you’re free to open for them?”

Erin: We were like “I think I’m busy actually.”

Natalie: You said no at first because you love Nirvana! I was like “fuck off Erin”!

Erin: Yeah, I thought about it and realised we couldn’t really turn that down. 

Louise: I don’t know that many Foo Fighters songs, and someone had them on at work. I asked who it was and they were like “It’s Foo Fighters, you’re supporting them!”

Erin: It’s funny how many people have come out of the woodwork saying “You’ve made it now.” It’s not this life affirming experience.

It’s pretty big though considering you’ve no booking agent either.

Louise: I don’t know if it’s true but Dave Grohl hand picks all the bands to support him.

Erin: He’s supposed to be one of the nicest men in music. I guess we’ll find out. If he can take us to Glastonbury then I’ll believe that. 

Have you done anything different to prepare for a stadium show?

Erin: I’m gonna borrow my mate’s amp. I’ve got this 11kg Orange amp because I like to travel light. So I’ve arranged to borrow a Fender Hot Rod and my mate’s gonna carry it. So that’s how I’ve prepared, don’t know about you two?

Natalie: I’m going to try and learn how to play bass, and maybe get some singing lessons.

Louise: I’m gonna get a drum kit that’s not £50. Also we need to get sponsored.

Erin: If Fender wanna sponsor us for a Hot Rod amp that would be great. And also a person to carry it for me, cos I’ve not got time to go to the gym. 

As things are snowballing, what’s lined up release wise for Loose Articles?

Erin: We’re just waiting for a multimillion pound record deal. D’you know anyone?

Natalie: Someone just needs to like us enough. 

Erin: We’ve got all the songs there, and we’ve done loads of recording, we’re just waiting for the right moment to pounce. We’ve gotta do it proper. We’re just waiting for the right person to come along who believes in us as much as we believe in them. 

Words: Matty Dagger // Photos: Piran Aston

Stream 2019 EP ‘Orchid Lounge’ via Bandcamp.

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