Durham band Lowfeye deliver a mix of Stooges, Dusty Springfield and Velvet Underground – the deadly duo don’t write songs they make potions. Their first album Pow oozed creative energy, new album Poor Little Rich Girl has fired up more toxic tunes – vocalist/songwriter Carol Nichol set’s the record straight…and hits play.
Basically I’m a melody nut, the songs I write are usually written on acoustic guitar or piano and my melodies determine the style of music. The songs evolve from experimenting with sounds and different styles. I then paint the story visually with words, but being dyslexic I can’t always read my lyrics (laughs).
The arrangements are then brought together by Alan Rowland who is a self-taught multi-talented instrumentalist. Using basic equipment, the recordings and production are all done at our home. We’ve created a really diverse DIY album featuring everything from dark folk, post punk, heavy pop, cinematic, to metal, psyche and garage rock.
POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL
The title of the album is taken from the song of the same name. It’s a dig at the music world dominated by middle class artists, with lines like ‘And your daddy buys the world that I can’t feel, as you float in silver bubbles and your world is not a struggle, you’re not real’.
Being working class and juggling jobs to find free time to create independently as well as fund it, is a struggle, it’s very different to artists who go to Brit school and have money and privilege to pay others to create, produce, record and fund tours. It’s all manufactured. They pay their way into the industry without actually creating anything themselves. Then we are banged over the head with songs with no meaning singing about sunshine and utopia.
The album opens with Gasoline. A murder ballad I wrote in contrast to the typical run of the mill love songs. Their fate meets a dramatic end, swilled down with gasoline and blown to smithereens.
The track Gun was based on characters from TV series Peaky Blinders and one of the main cast from the show saw potential in the track, but as we are unknowns it wasn’t used.
Emily’s Tree the second murder ballad is about a haunting, a ghost of a child tormenting the killer. In this dark period folk track it draws you in but at the end of the track the landscape leads into the heavy track Raw which was written by Alan and features our friend Neil Tunstall on bass putting some heavy bass on with roaring backing vocals which work great.
A Lowfeye album wouldn’t be complete without a post punk track and Vertigo is it. The tapestry of my life has the art and music of Bowie in everything so this track is about a feeling I had when he died. I had a feeling of losing balance and looking down on the world with dread, thinking this isn’t real. A Bowie riff is played in the end of the song as a tribute.
Stay is a personal haunting ballad I wrote, with the loss of my father very young, the line I use ‘savage silence’ was written by my mother who wrote a poem after his death. Her poem was published under her maiden name Elsa Bunting, a distant relation to Basil Bunting the poet.
A bit like Beautiful World the last song on previous album Pow, we close out with a critical song – Snow Flake Generation. It’s a criticism of the now, the 21st century snowflake in the times of political correctness. A world that hammers out any opinions and free speech. A world where we are spoon-fed what the media want you to read and hear.
You had Richard Hell (Television/The Heartbreakers) singing about a Blank Generation well we are singing about a snowflake generation who think they have it so hard and get offended very easily, this begins to silence people from voicing their opinion and squashing healthy debate.
What I can see in the future is the music industry ticking boxes so not to offend anyone, and real DIY bands who have a voice, getting it hammered out on radio – yet they sell out their gigs.
So our track Snowflake Generation wasn’t going to be played on BBC Introducing, because you’re not allowed to swear and we do in this track. We were not prepared to take swearing out as it’s real and from the heart.
We are both into ‘60s and ‘70s music with the old analogue sounds and mellotron. I am also a big film lover of soundtracks from that period. When we finished the album I’d written the Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in America) style track Vaquero. It was picked up by a Swedish record label who wanted to publish it and sync it in the Warner Brothers Swedish drama, Partisan, in August 2020.
The track was featured heavily around the main actor Fare Fares and won best at Cannes – serious. We took the track off the running list for the album as its now signed to the Swedish label who manage it.
The drama has been played on TV screens across Europe, Australia, the Nordics and is going to America. They are hoping it comes to the UK.
NEXT UP FOR LOWFEYE
We have no plans of going out live as Lowfeye yet – but never say never. At the moment we are concentrating on soundtracks for Europe, as well as a third Lowfeye DIY album, it will be full of different styles of music both intimate and widescreen, also some very critical of the times we live in.
Lowfeye do it for the love of music, we are not in a box. For even one person to get what we are about is great for us and drives us on as independent DIY artists.
The album on CD is available from Lowfeye/Carol Nichol via Facebook or email email@example.com at £7 including p&p.
Released on digital platforms May 2nd 2021.
Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2021.