Everyone wants something for free, to the extent that today it’s practically common practice at the start of a major label artist’s career to drum up a bit of interest by giving away a free track or mixtape…when they have been carefully selected for marketability. There’s nothing spontaneous or genial about it – a bit like a dentist handing out rocks of crystal meth outside their surgery. So what makes Lectrolips so awesome is their complete lack of agenda. With no leviathan label pulling their strings you’d think they’d want every penny to count. In the case of Ant and Leo it’s not about the money – it’s about music for its sake alone, which makes the mad electro their make together worth more than the entire “iTunes Essentials” back catalogue.
As a duo, what irritates you most about the other?
Ant: Leo is such a perfectionist about everything, and when we produce music together he’s no different. I like things to sound a little rough around the edges but he’s often trying to smooth out our sound when I don’t think it needs it. He will spend hours perfecting a single drum fill, only to take the whole thing out the next day.
Leo: Haha! What a great opportunity for me to break some news to Ant…! Actually Ant is a very easy person to get on with and he doesn’t often annoy me. Sometimes he gets impatient and produces artwork and sets a release date for a song before it’s finished. That puts the pressure on and makes it harder to ‘pull the plug’ at the last minute if we decide not to go with a song. We have about 25-30 unreleased recordings at various stages of completion and there have been at least two occasions when we’ve announced a new song, only to scrap it at the eleventh hour.
Who are your musical heroes?
Leo: Oh, I have so many, and I admire anyone with talent in any genre. But I guess my all time greats would be Queen and The Carpenters.
Judging by your own lovely stuff, artwork is very important to you. Is this something you still see as very much part of the whole package, even in a digital age?
Ant: We are glad you like our pics! In the beginning we just wanted some cool artwork to go with our songs on our iPods and didn’t think about it too much. We have become more conscious of how we present ourselves as time has gone on and think it’s important to give people an idea of what we’re about. Our artwork is the only opportunity we have to give people something visual to go with the music because we haven’t gone out gigging or made any music videos yet and everything we do is ‘behind the scenes’ as it were. So in that respect I guess you could say our artwork is more important for us. Nowadays bands have the opportunity to not only create their own music at home but their artwork too – we couldn’t have done this all ourselves 15-20 years ago. The only downside is that we rarely get outside feedback, so it’s hard to tell what image we’re actually creating for ourselves.
I don’t think I’ve come across an act that has given away quite so much music for free in a while. How effective do you think it is at getting a following if you’re a new act?
Leo: That’s an interesting way of looking at it, because for us it’s more about asking ourselves “is this song good enough to charge people for?” rather than “will giving this song away for free get us a bigger following?”. Initially we didn’t have the equipment to make polished recordings so we honestly couldn’t justify charging people for our music. We have toyed with the idea in recent months but decided against it for the time being. If someone enjoys our music enough to download it, then that is almost payment in itself! All we ask is that if you download one of our songs you share it online somewhere or give a copy to one of your friends – whether they want it or not!
If you had to sum up your whole “THING” in just one word, what would you each pick?
Leo: Oooh that’s a tough one! We were recently described as “robo-pop” – I like that.
Your latest freebie ‘Resurrection’ is very “dance like a twat at a rave in Ibiza”, isn’t it?
Ant: That’s a great way of describing it! It’s probably the most clubby track that we’ve released online.
Leo: That’s funny ‘coz Ant had a similar description for my dancing while we were recording it! I would be so made up if it actually did get played in Ibiza.
Do you have a personal favourite out of everything you’ve recorded so far?
Ant: My favourite has to be a track from our Exempt From Classification EP called ‘Glimmer’. It’s our most personal.
Leo: ‘What We Came For’ is my favourite track that we’ve released. I think it was the first time Ant and I really let go and just went for it!
What’s your favourite song by someone else you’ve heard this year?
Ant: Leo recently introduced me to Goyte. ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is my favourite song at the moment.
Leo: I would have to agree with Ant. I love the freshness of the arrangement and the way the vocals really soar in the chorus. Amazing voice.
You’re unsigned, it is your hope that a major label will snap you up and unleash you on the masses with a six figure marketing budget, or do you prefer things small and interesting as they are?
Ant: To be honest, we’ve been on the radio and had some of our music synched for TV but never been approached by any labels. There are benefits to being independent and unsigned, in that we have complete control over what we do and we set our own deadlines. But our resources and contacts within the industry are limited and, as I said before, we could benefit from some constructive outside input. We’ve noticed that some DIY artists dismiss the idea of signing with a major label because they think they’d be selling out, but it’s definitely not something we’d sniff at.
Any upcoming live performance dates everyone should *screeeeeech* about?
Leo: No. We have been approached to do some live shows but writing and recording takes up all of our time and we haven’t been able to fit any rehearsal time as yet. I expect we will at some point. We are planning on doing a music video soon though if we can get our shit together!
You can download ‘Resurrection’ and lots of other genius free gubbins by Lectrolips from their Soundcloud page. While you’re at it, check out their blog, visit their Facebook page and if you’re on it follow them on The Twitter.