In these days of X-Factor ballad wannabes and endless computer generated dance tracks, one local band are getting on with having fun, and trying to add some excitement to the indie music scene. I spoke to Ugly Love lead singer Tom Adolph about how the last two years had been for himself, Kit, Sam and Josh, an edited version has appeared in Tunbridge Wells Town Crier mag for August – here’s the full email interview.
1. When you started out was the intention to have a laugh, rather than achieve fame? So many musicians/ acts now expect to be famous as soon as they write their first song!
I actually spent about a year and a half trying to put a band together and it wasn’t until I met Kit that things started to happen, due to his drive and talent. I was in a band when I was 16 and then I spent the following few years putting on shows at The Forum and working closely with local bands. That’s where I learnt about how being in a band actually works.
Having fun always comes first, but it mostly comes down to us wanting to do something interesting with our lives. We want to be successful but we’ve always understood the work it takes to get there. Besides, the work bit is really fun. Exciting too.
2. When and where was your first gig?
January 5th 2012 at The Forum. I put the show on, we headlined, played on the floor and it was free to get in. It was basically a room full of our mates who had come to see what we’d been doing for the past few months.
3. With titles like ‘Burn down the cinema’ and ‘Oh No, Here Come the Space Hawks!’, what are your influences in song and lyric writing?
Just simple story telling I think. I’m a big fan of Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Alex Turner, Mike Skinner, Eddie Argos from Art Brut,etc. I like songs with a strong narrative. I have no interest in using ridiculous metaphors ; I like to be straight to the point and almost create mini soap operas within the songs. That’s what I’m best at, so that’s what I’ll carry on doing. As for the music, we just want to write future rock hits. No more, no less.
3a. Does being in Conservative Tunbridge Wells have any bearing on your songs?
Probably! Living in Tunbridge Wells is all I know so that’s a hard one to answer.
4. How have you gained such a wide and loyal fanbase, which seems national rather than just local? (Do you know?)
It’s been about playing the right shows, with the right bands, at the right time.
That’s all we can do. You’d have to ask Ugly Love fans about why they like us so much!
So…. that’s just what we did on twitter!!
tammyG @tamcow4 They are Silly, beautiful and surprisingly friendly , especially after drinkies
DragonForce 84 days @amyrock13 I like ugly love because there musical stylings make my ears very happy and they’re very uplifting and silly
Lois @loisjackman Because their gigs are great fun and they are genuinely amazing guys. Lots of great memories thanks to these guys!
Sophie Boobery @EmbracingSparks because ugly love are great fun, catchy & they’re all fabulous dancers.
Cat @tellmeimanangel It’s impossible to be sad around you guys. Even when I’ve had the worst week, you never fail to make me smile.
Thanks to all who replied!
4a. I knew you (Tom) on twitter before Ugly Love formed, do you think a positive twitter and facebook presence has helped the band?
Absolutely. It’s SO important for us. I think the key has to been to represent ourselves online as individuals. You think it’d be the opposite, but my personal pages are a million times busier than the band pages.I think its just more interesting for everyone involved to interact with people on a more personal level. Appearing online as a professional brand is fine, but it also gets boring and is a lot less effective for us, believe it or not!
5. You managed to get a gang of fans to leaflet Tunbridge Wells for you before your unfest 2014 gig, even though it was a free gig, and you arranged a party in Brighton when your gig was cancelled the other week, I honestly can’t think of any other local bands who inspire this, almost sense of ‘community’! So, this isn’t really a question, but .. do you think of your fans as just ‘extra friends’… + do you think, locally, you offer a more alternative ‘look’ for people to aspire to – do you think it’s good for teens to have a band locally that’s not just playing the sameold/ sameold in anyold tshirts and jeans? I suppose the question is: Are you heroes?
We have a solid group of people we know that come to almost every gig and passionately follow what we do. To the point that it almost feels insulting to call them ‘fans’ because…without wanting to sound too cheesy…they’re just as important as any of the band members. We’d be utterly stuck without them. We’ve really got to know them over the past year or so, and they’re all really great people. The coolest thing is knowing that we are important to their teenage years, because that probably means that Ugly Love will stick with them in some capacity for the rest of their lives. I love that.
As for Unfest, it was important that we made more noise than any of the other bands playing. But not just on stage. I basically got in touch with a couple of the people I just mentioned and told them to get together with some friends to hand out flyers in town. The amount of people, the t-shirts, the dressing up and general fuss they made was all down to them though. They really got people talking and that’s incredible.
As for the look of the band….I’m not sure. I can only be who I am, but what I can say is that It’s important to me to be a good frontman and a good front man doesn’t wear Topman on stage. Just sayin’.
6. You have toured this year, played at day-festivals, and will be headlining The Forum on August 8th, what plans are there after that?
We’re just busting to make a record of some sort now. So we’ll hopefully do that. We’re also starting to try and set the band up to a more professional level too; We’re ready for the next step now. It’ll probably take some time, but we’ll see!
7. Would you sell your souls to Simon Cowell?
We don’t have souls.
8. So far you have always been eternally optimistic, if it ever became a chore would that then be the end of the band, or would you be happy to carry on forever, even if you were just gigging locally?
We’ll keep doing it as long as we enjoy doing it, whilst also pushing it as far as we can. We’ve got a solid game plan at the moment so we’ll just have to see how it goes. It’s all great fun though.
The band will be headlining Tunbridge Wells Forum on Friday 8th August, having played Leopallooza Festival in Cornwall on 2nd August.