It's time to start getting excited, Dear Reader. We're just a few months out from the unofficial start of our summer festival season. That May Day Bank Holiday weekend means one thing - Live At Leeds. Packed with (literally) hundreds of the best new bands on the planet, it sees one of the country's most vibrant creative cities turned into a mecca of buzz, hype and awesome live music.
To celebrate, we're holding a special Live At Leeds takeover. Over the course of the day (28th January 2020, in case you're coming to this late - Ed), we'll be bringing you all kinds of stuff from and about the acts playing this year's event. If you're going, it'll help you plan out those all-important spreadsheets. If you've not yet picked up your tickets - well, what are you waiting for? You can grab 'em here, right now.
Visiting Live At Leeds from nearby Hull this May are Dance To The Radio signings, Low Hummer. A band of multi-instrumentalists inspired by the likes of Pixies and The New Adelphi Club, they're gearing up for a year of new music, and new gigs. Singer and guitarist Daniel and synth player Steph tell us more.
Hey guys, how's it going? Having a good January?
Daniel: January is going good, we've been in the studio recording new stuff which is always exciting and feels therapeutic going into the new year.
Steph: It's been busy! Which is really exciting to be thrown straight into. Keeps us from worrying too much about how far away payday is.
Tell us about your band - who are you all, and what do you do? Where did you meet?
Daniel: I'd been in bands for years and wanted to do something a little different. I asked John (guitar) and Jack (bass) from my old bands to start something new with me, and asked Aimee and Steph to join too.
Aimee is a country singer from Hull who I booked gigs for in our hometown, she's so talented! Steph was a friend of a friend who seemed to have tickets for shows at every gig in Hull but barely ever showed up because she was too cool...
Steph: I'd seen Dan, Jack and John in their previous bands and guises and loved what they'd done. They'd all been a big part in getting me interested in local music. I got to know Dan better the more I spent time going to gigs in Hull (when I remembered to turn up), and I'd watched Aimée play before too.
When did you first realise you wanted to make music? Did you have a musical upbringing?
Daniel: I sang a lot in the car as a kid, my Mum and Sister are great singers, but I didn't start making music until I was 18 when it dawned on me that my dream of being an Author was doomed because I'm terrible at writing.
Steph: I'd been around music a lot as a kid - there are some terrible, terrible VHS videos of my attempts at singing aged about 5 but thankfully my parents were kind enough to tell me how bad I was before I ended up on some 'worst X factor auditions' YouTube compilation. It was probably after then that I became interested in playing.
What's it like being a new band in Hull, are there many opportunities?
Daniel: Being in a new band in Hull is really exciting! There's a lot of new stuff of varying styles in the city, but we all feel part of a collective scene looking to branch out. Hull's an inclusive place, and has some amazing artists at the mo. From Life who have just released a killer second album, to Fever who are supporting Blossoms on tour next month. Bands closer to us are writing great songs, the likes of Autosuggestion, Priestgate, to name a couple.
Steph: It's really great! Everyone in bands in Hull are really supportive of each other - no matter what genre. There's no hierarchy which is really nice, and makes for a great scene producing a lot of different music.
We have a weekly night called The Sesh which puts on some incredible music, and is a must-play gig for anyone in and around Hull.
Like Dan said, Life and Fever are doing ace at the minute, and Slowdaze's first EP is I think something really great and interesting to keep an eye on.
What's the most exciting thing you've done with Low Hummer so far?
Steph: Our Huw Stephens Presents show last week was so much fun, and our first gig in London too. Things are getting progressively more exciting as we go along and make new music.
Humber Street Sesh is basically my Christmas Day - a festival I've been going to since I was a teenager, so being able to play that was a really ace moment for me too.
How would you describe the band's vibe?
Steph: Five outcast Northerners spending half their time arguing over the best crumpet toppings and the other half making music.
Probably something you'd find on an obscure foreign tv channel in your hotel room at 2am.
What topics do you most enjoy writing about?
Daniel: I've always struggled writing happy songs, I'm not sure it's in me to write positive stuff!
I write a bit like a diary entry, how I feel about things affecting me, or my outlook on things taking place politically and socially. Hopefully, people can relate to my babbling.
Steph: We've all got different backgrounds and represent different tangents of similar influences - but we also seem to all have similar opinions of everything going on around us. Largely about being skint, sad and disillusioned.
I think it's often social observations that influence Dan's writing, so I imagine our discussions reflect or even catalyse that. Still waiting for a song about crumpets though.
Do you have a big 2020 planned? What are you up to?
Daniel: We spent 2019 getting to grips with being a band, so we're hopeful of playing live a lot more this year, along with releasing as much music as possible.
Steph: We've got a fair few gigs lined up already, which is really exciting to think about. And like Dan said - a lot of music. A busy year, we hope!
What would you most like to achieve during your music career?
Daniel: A back catalogue of songs we can be really proud of, mainly. It'd be amazing to be able to tour with bands we love and see other countries, in all honesty, I can't get past the Humber bridge without a panic attack unless I'm with the band.
Steph: Infamy, obviously.
Who do you think is the most exciting band or musician around right now?
Daniel: There's so much around at the moment. Crystal, Julia Bardo, Legsss, Wargasm, to name a few. The act I'm most looking forward to are Drug Store Romeos.
Steph: I really like what both Team Picture and W.H Lung are doing - I was lucky enough to see them both last year and loved them, so I'm excited to see what they do next. Two Another have also made it onto pretty much every one of my playlists, and teenage me is having a meltdown over Bombay Bicycle Club being back together.
Anything else we should know?
Daniel: We have a new single out in February called 'The Real Thing', a synth lead song courtesy of Steph which Aimee sings an amazing lead vocal on.
Live At Leeds will take place on 2nd May, visit liveatleeds.com for more info.