MUDKISS FANZINE

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THE LAST PARTY: BRINGING A THOUSAND SMILES – INTERVIEW BY NIGEL CARTNER

 
Sometimes in life something from the most unexpected source occurs that not only surprises you but can also in turn be inspirational to your own life. In this most fickle and illogical of industries that many of us seem to have no choice but to thrust ourselves into with all our might, there’s an image about how we view it. In terms of the music industry, in particular the band scene, its nigh on impossible to reach the heights that bands set out to do when plotting their journey from the first jamming session. There’s always a perception of obstacles even if you believe to have the right tune for the right time, whether that’s from finding the correct financial, management, label or promotional outlet to help along the way. Our ideals tell us that without these outsourced factors, success will be very limited. Well, in Manchester at Night & Day cafe on a cool night in April, I can tell you that the rule book was officially ripped to bits by a local, unsigned band whose talent, enthusiasm, attitude and approach scares, yet impresses me beyond belief, choosing to do everything themselves and are more than holding their own in this unforgiving business.

 

The band name is ‘The Last Party’, an energetic and lively band that brings a fresh new indie sound to the scene, described as the “bastard child of ‘Iggy Pop’ and ‘The Supremes’” by Clint Boon. Having had a few previous encounters with this indie pop band, there seemed a sense of inevitability about their continued rise. There may be many other bands who’ve adopted a similar approach to glory, but there’s few who I’ve seen make such an impression and execute it so well. Having only been around since the back end of 2010 it amazes me how far they’ve come in such a short space in time. 2011 saw them support several bands, which culminated in their headline show in Night & Day at Christmas (www.mudkiss.com/thelastpartylive.htm), a feat achieved in more or less a year. Since then they’ve gone on to support at more prestigious venues like ‘The Rifles’ at The HMV Ritz.

Tonight saw the launch of their first single, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’, a catchy, rocking indie pop song with lyrics that singer Liam Manton says “everyone can relate to”. The track is dynamic, full of life and passion in Manton’s voice. The keyboard takes it in a different direction with overtures of uneasiness, as if the conflict between the couple in question is yet to be resolved. It depicts and portrays accurately the modern attitudes of couples fighting in the name of so called love, but ultimately ends with a ‘me and you against the world’ stance. The single boasts a video, filmed in the heart of Manchester with appearances from Clint Boon and Ciaran Griffiths of ‘Shameless’ fame amongst others. Its message is very tongue in cheek about the reality TV music scene as well as hilarious, psychotic interludes from Griffiths’ character as well as his co star girlfriend, Mary-Joanna Coogan, an unknown actress whose presence is explained in the interview below. Since then, the media has taken much interest, with Soccer a.m., BSkyB, ESPN, Talksport all playing the track, as well as features appearing in The Manchester Evening News.

Because of this, there was huge hype surrounding the launch, with advanced tickets selling out rapidly. The show itself was of historical and landmark proportions as it broke the record for number of attendees for a gig at Night and Day in twenty five years, demonstrating the backing the band has. Since the launch, the band have stated how it was the night of their lives and how proud they are to keep this high and beautiful wave rising. There’s still a long way to go before ‘The Last Party’ reach a level that cements them as a force in the UK, but the signs are positive to say the least, and if the momentum continues, they could defy all odds and be there sooner than expectation. Luckily, we arrived early doors at the launch, before the mad rush of punters descended to get a glimpse of Manchester’s next big thing, and managed to interview the band on their journey so far.

NIGE: So, we’re here for the official launch of the Bonnie & Clyde video and single. The meaning is obvious, but how did the song come about?

LIAM: Me and Greg were at mine and we had a little riff, which was quite slow at first. We started playing it fast having a laugh and that. The music was great and I started putting words to it. I always had this sentiment of Bonnie and Clyde on an old song so put the words to it on the bus to work. Two days later we started practicing it and ended up recording it as a single.

NIGE: Was it an inspiration from a personal life experience?

LIAM: I think everyone can relate to the chorus. Everyone’s been out and fell out with their Mrs or their boyfriend and made up so there’s some decent imagery in there. I wouldn’t say there’s any story behind it, it is what it is.

NIGE: How did you manage to get Ciaran Griffiths (Shameless), and Clint Boon (XFM, The Inspiral Carpets) involved?

LIAM: Well Clint’s always been a fan of the band and supported us from day one so I’ve got to give him loads of respect for that. He actually got us on XFM when no one had heard of us and we’d only played two gigs. He always said he’d do anything to help us because he’s always believed in us. Ciaran was a bit of a mad one because we’d literally just finished recording the single that day. I was going on holiday the next day and we went for a pint with the producer afterwards. He was out with a guy that I know so we got talking and before you know it he’s doing the video.

NIGE: We’ve heard the single played on soccer am!

ADAM: They gave it five stars and re-tweeted it aswell.

LIAM: Soccer am have been great man. We sent them a press release but it’s good because you got to think of it as how many record labels in England try and buy them spot plays. We’re four lads running our record label, our band and our management company from above a shop in the northern quarter. We’ve all got day jobs and we’re up there with the big boys. BSkyB are backing us, XFM are backing us, and it’s great. It’s good that these people are giving new bands a chance because it is hard and you can’t fault them for that. We’ve got to give them a big shout out.

 Has it appeared anywhere else?

LIAM: ESPN have used it, Sky have used it and Talksport.

ADAM: I was driving to work and I always have that Alan Brazil show on and the Champions League highlights came on and when they cut it our single kicked in. I thought “fuckin hell” and nearly crashed my car man.

LIAM: I was ironing my shirts to go to work and got a phone call (from Adam) like, “We’re on the radio, we’re on the radio.”

NIGE: Has that all come about from you sending it everywhere?

LIAM: We got a press release sent out for us from a company that saw us in London and said they’d do anything we can to help you.

ADAM: It’s pretty flattering when you think about it. They must get sent thousands of songs every week and to pick our song out and stick it on is great.

LIAM: Every record label takes its people out for meals, you know wine and dine them and they want those slots. We just sent a tune in saying this is us and they liked it man.

NIGE: Have you been working on an album?

LIAM: Well we’ve probably got two or three albums worth of tunes now but we don’t really want to talk about the album yet because it’s still early days. We’re just going to get this single out and ride it for all it’s worth. We are talking to a few people about it.

NIGE: You’ve had a tremendous first year or so, pushing on very quickly, why do you think you’ve made such an impression in such a short space of time?

LIAM: I think people warm to us because we are approachable people and the songs are good. We’ve got the right attitude, we’ve got energy and people will either love us or hate us, but the vast majority of people are starting to love us. It’s funny because we set ourselves a target of eighteen months to do the The Ritz and within two months, ‘The Rifles’ emailed us asking us to open for them.

NIGE: Because of what’s happened, you’ve kind of gone against the grain in terms of taking time to get somewhere, what advice could you give to new bands who are looking to make a similar impact?

LIAM: Just be yourselves, help everyone out and people will help you out. The thing is when we started this band no one helped us. We did an interview with The Evening News and we said it’s disgusting that in a city this large no one sticks together. None of the bands help each other so we wanted to do something different. When we did the video we knew we had established actors but we gave the female lead to an unestablished drama student. We emailed all the local drama colleges asking if they want to get involved and we’ll give them a leg up. We’ve done it with the bands tonight. The first band on is their first ever gig. The band that are on in the middle, I know the singer, Dave, for about six or seven years, one of the best musicians I can share a stage with. You just got to stick together and you can make it happen. We haven’t got any financial backing or management, a pot of gold or rich parents, we’ve just got good songs. We’re honest people, we work hard and we’re getting our reward now and people are starting to warm to us.

NIGE: How has life changed from when you first started out?

LIAM: I’m poorer. I tell you what! In answer to that previous question about advice for any new bands, get saving because it costs a lot of money. Wages in, wages out!

NIGE: What’s been the best moment since you started?

LIAM: Booking this single launch. Tonight is our night and it’s a proud moment, everyone’s going to be here. Half of Manchester’s upstairs. It’s gonna be a great night man.

ADAM: I’m a pretty pessimistic person but we stuck the advanced tickets online and thought a few of them would sell. We had to keep adding and adding because within two days they sold out.

LIAM: 150 tickets went in two days. This is for a band that is unsigned and only our tenth time of playing in Manchester.

ADAM: These aren’t people who we’ve badgered, they’ve got tickets off their own backs.

NIGE: From a lyricist point of view, what do you like to write and sing about?

LIAM: You don’t ever have a set subject or topic. You subconsciously do it. It’s not a forced effort. I think there’s a real honesty in our lyrics and our hearts are on our sleeves.

NIGE: You’ve touched on it earlier about the success you’ve achieved is without a manager, record label, financial backing or any outside influence. What message does that send to the industry?

LIAM: You can do it.

ADAM: We know bands that are being bank rolled but it’s all in the tunes I think. We’ve got the songs to back it up so the songs just speak for themselves.

NIGE: What are the pitfalls of doing things this way?

LIAM: Always poor

NIGE: What’s the best thing about doing it all yourself?

LIAM: The satisfaction of putting a single out on your own and being played on the radio and having people text you, knowing about it. I think the fact that we can mix with the big boys and hold our own. That’s testament to the songs, the work ethic and how committed to this thing we are. We’re going to make it happen either way, whether someone gets involved with us or whether it’s by ourselves like it has been up to now.

NIGE: After tonight what gigs have you got lined up this summer?

LIAM: We’ve going down London on Wednesday. We’ve got a bit of a tour going on throughout April too.

NIGE: Any festivals lined up?

LIAM: Yeah we’re doing a few independent festivals like Strawberry Fields, Future Perfect and Find Your Feet Festival. If anyone’s out there and got any festivals…....you probably can’t afford us. Joke. (Everyone laughs)

NIGE: You said earlier that the goal was to play the Ritz in eighteen months, now that’s done what’s the new goal for 2012?

ADAM: Heaton Park. Haha

LIAM: The only ways up from this so who knows. I’d like to think no matter how big we get we’ll always come back to Night and Day. They gave us our first headline show when no one in Manchester wanted to because they were scared of us not selling tickets and the bar being empty, but they took a chance on us and we’re returning the favour by having our single launch here. It’s like our second home. Everyone’s been great with us who work here.

www.facebook.com/TheLastPartyUK
www.thelastparty.co.uk

Interview/review by Nigel Cartner
Photos by Matt Johnston