INTERVIEW: Lovely Wife | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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A lot of bands on the circuit, you know what to expect when you see them on the bill. They might fit into a certain niche or sub-genre, or at least have a consistent line-up. Not so Lovely Wife. Instead, they’ve been a gloriously anarchic, mutating presence around the north-east for the last few years, as likely to dig into deep stoner grooves with a battalion of drummers as they are to launch into comedy grindcore. As such, we caught up with the band’s two constants, Joe Garrick and James Watts, to find out more.

Mentioning the band’s genesis, Garrick explains, “the name Lovely Wife first came out of a drunken conversation to what would be a good band name. Proper daft names thrown about. To be fair, I think the name came before the band. We’d had loads of ideas where we were going to do doomy, hardcore songs about really inane things, like running out of electricity & having to run up to the shops to put money on the leccy key. Daft shite like that really.”

What Lovely Wife have evolved into however are a proposition that blends surprising improvisational performances with an utterly daft sense of humour, with Garrick and Watts working with a variety of different drummers and line-ups each time to produce startlingly different results.

James Watts notes, “we don’t particularly aim to make each show different, mainly because they always end up that way anyway. We tailor line ups to certain degree, in that we’ll pull together people that will result in something that we hope fits a bill (or doesn’t if we’re feeling awkward), but the set up leads to some pretty varied results.”

We don’t have to stick to normal gig rules. If we want to do a Peter Andre themed gig, we can

Garrick acknowledges, “to some people, I guess we can come across as a bit too experimental. It can be a real sticking point when we are trying to get gigs to say, ‘yes, we might sound like this…’ But to the people that know us, and have been to some of our shows, it makes it a bit more fun, especially on our behalf, because it’s different every time. It’s new and exciting for every gig. We don’t have to stick to normal gig rules. If we want to do a Peter Andre themed gig, we can.” (Watts confirms that yes, this did happen.)

Watts adds to this, saying, “the great part of operating as two thirds of a proper band is that it allows us to draft people in from all over the place, which means we get to play with all kinds of excellent musicians. It’s always massively enjoyable seeing how much the set changes between different drummers and that revolving line-up foundation means we can add others into the mix as well.”

Indeed, their recently released Live And Contrived album, a collection of three different live sets that veers from pummelling doom to freaked-out punk, is a good introduction to their eclectic, noisy – and yes, very silly – world. Garrick tells me, “Live And Contrived as an album really came about as a way of showing more of the varied madness that goes on at our shows. These three gigs basically summed up last year for us as a band: fucking ridiculous.”

Lovely Wife play Little Buildings with Big Lad on Thursday 13th July. Live And Contrived is out now on Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings.

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