The Art Club are a wonderful set of ambassadors for Lancashire’s music scene. Describing themselves as the creators of a ‘sweet Post–Punk sound’ and explorers of some ‘hazy Romantic thoughts’, the quartet are really trying to push the boundaries of their sound. It is this distinctive sweet, nostalgic feel, mixed with dulcet northern tones, that has meant the local band has been able to play prestigious BBC Introducing sets, as well as a string of big venues in London and Manchester.
Having formed only in late 2011, success has rolled in thick and fast for the four piece, who reference many of their 80s influences in their music, which has the nostalgic and handmade vibe of being lovingly created in a lonely bedroom. Hazy and hopeful, the single ‘Baptism’ plays out as a gorgeous bittersweet melody – it is haunting and ephemeral, yet is brought down to earth by rich, resonating vocals that leave a lasting impression on the listener.
Despite sporting that rather flimsy indie band aesthetic (they look like they may snap in a strong north easterly breeze), The Art Club have pretty sturdy tracks – their newest single ‘Let’s Start Again’ will be released in September and is the perfect remedy for a soggy summer, set to happily see you through the autumn months.
Lead singer David Murdoch (I’ve seen more meat on a sparrow’s kneecap) met me for coffee last week, who – despite nursing a broken arm – had managed to shoehorn himself into his uniform skinny jeans and polo shirt – top button done, of course. Casting labels of Indie boys aside, the only thing pretentious about Mr Murdoch was his taste in tea, (Earl Grey) and later his unusually un-rock-star-ish taste in cocktails (Mint Choc Chip), but you can’t have everything.
We spoke of The Art Club’s success, a love of Pulp and the gargantuan quest of finding Bernard’s Watch.
How did you become a singer?
I joined the school choir and it got me out of lessons, which was my incentive. I failed my music GCSE and in turn formed my first band called ‘Liar Liar.’
What inspires you? Who is your hero or idol?
I think the need to better myself and to prove people wrong has always made me more inclined to succeed – almost as a sense of rebellion. I’d sight ‘Pulp’ as my heroes, Jarvis Cocker is inspirational.
What is the best thing about your job?
Doing what I love – writing songs and playing them at gigs.
Carrying heavy equipment around and hauling it from one place to another, it’s especially hard with a broken arm.
Getting paid! It’s great to get recognition financially for the music you have produced – there’s nothing more rewarding.
How do you view Lancaster’s music scene?
Small, chilled and friendly. It’s a relaxed environment with limited talent but what talent there is, is great – better than Preston anyway.
Do you think you’ve changed that?
The Art Club have hopefully added to Lancaster’s music scene and enabled it to be more established.
Highlight of your career so far?
A tossup between playing with The Vaccines and taking the piss out of The Temper Trap at Underage Festival.
Who is the most fun to perform for – a festival venue or an intimate crowd?
Despite singing on a few large stages you can’t beat playing to one hundred and twenty people at the Yorkshire House.
How do you stay grounded with your increasing success?
By drinking pints of Earl Grey tea and not taking yourself too seriously.
To bring back and play on Top Of The Pops and to find Bernard’s Watch.