We caught up with Kev and Tom from the introspective electro-pop band Real Lies after their intense set at Standon Calling to talk about being young in a city, 5-day house parties and the apparent ‘Holy Trinity’ of football, music and clubbing.
How did you guys meet?
Tom: Started about 3 years ago, I knew Pat from playing football and knew Kev from just going out in London. We used to live in this beautiful lake house.
Kev: There’s this reservoir, with this 5 bedroom cottage and it was completely isolated with a lake in the back garden. And me and Tom had the good fortune of living there, and Pat would just come round all the time and never leave.
Tom: We used to put on parties that would start on Thursday and finish on Monday. I started writing tunes on the Sunday afternoon, as a sort of hangover cure I guess. And Kev would come in and be like ‘you should do that differently, you should do this like this, I should sing on this one’
Kev: I’m not sure sing is the right word for it.
How would you describe your delivery?
Kev: I dunno, nothing quite fits, rap doesn’t fit obviously, spoken word feels a bit poetry festival. I dunno, it’s just like chatting.
What are your big influences?
Kev: What we listen to all the time, I mean, first time I met Tom was in the queue for a dubstep night, first time I met Pat we went to a dubstep night. But I wouldn’t say that dubstep is a massive influence, obviously it isn’t but that’s the kind of world we come from, like clubbing, house and techno.
You’re often compared to The Streets, what do you make of your comparisons?
Kev: Yeah I guess that’s largely down to the vocal delivery, but I feel like the subject matters are very different. I don’t think it’s completely spot on.
Tom: We always get compared to bands of the era of like Pet Shop Boys and that, but we’re definitely not influenced by them on a musical level. I think the thing we have in common with them is, those bands were informed by the music they were hearing in clubs, it’s kind of the same with us.
Kev: It’s the underlying process, going to clubs, hearing the music getting it sort of rattling around in your head. Then taking the underlying process which is what New Order did and Pet Shop Boys did, where they took New York Disco and house music and rave music, and they turned it into like live music in pop structures. And that’s what we do, the process is the same, but I don’t think it sounds like that, but maybe it sort of comes through in the way that we work.
You guys have made videos for all of your current releases, what drives the dedication to the visual aspect?
Kev: That video side is a very important part to us, cause I think our music inhabits a world that doesn’t really make sense if you just have an mp3. You need to have the whole kind of world surrounding the music.
What can you tell us about the album, especially the lyrical inspiration?
Kev: There is definitely a theme. I mean we’ve been writing all the songs we’ve written over a three year period musically, so a lot of the tunes are quite different and don’t quite lock together. But the themes that come up over and over again in the music boil down to being young in a city and trying to find your own way. Just having your friends, f***ing up, making mistakes, pissing off girls and being a dickhead. But also trying to reach for something else, and build your own world I suppose.
Tom: I write everything I sing, and Kev writes everything he ‘sings’. It’s a very interesting way of working, we’re not like a usual band, we don’t sit down to a rehearsal with a finished tune. We’ll sit down with an idea, like a loop or a sample, and we’ll sit down as a three and build it into shape. Drums are for live, and live bass, which are programmed on the recordings.
Was it always music you were interested in?
Tom: The only things I was interested in growing up were music and football, and then going out. The Holy Trinity.
Kev: Not a particularly unique combination.
Tom: Yeah, as I’ve grown older, not very much has changed…
You’ve played a fair few festivals, have you noticed your crowd growing with each one?
Kev: Honestly it depends, like this and Latitude are quite family orientated, so I dunno if our sad songs about hangovers really resonate.
The kids today actually seemed pretty into it, we were like ‘do they know what they’re dancing to?’
Kev: Yeah that happens, also there was this guy in a white suit that I was looking at for vibes, he was that kind of uncle that at family gatherings he always does blues brothers at the karaoke.
What’s next for the band?
Kev: Well album is out in October and we’re going on a big UK tour when that comes out (including a show in Birmingham).