For the second of our extended interviews with Island creatives during the Lockdown, we chat with Leo Dyke from Burger Records signing Reminders.
Interview by Megan Stisted
Hi Leo, how’s it going? Have you found a new routine yet, what’s your day to day looking like?
Hi! All good thanks. Day to day is pretty strange at the moment, but mostly consists of waking up at a different time every morning, watching Oasis live videos for large proportions of my day, skipping meals – I’ve been super bad at eating for some reason, I guess it’s the lack of routine, but I’m super jealous of those eating ‘too much’ at the moment – and of course, lots of hand washing and tearing away said hands from my face.
For those who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe yourself?
I’ve always said that we are a bit like the love child of Ramones and The Beach Boys. I guess that still rings true, but I’d say more recently we’ve gotten a little more poetic. Sonically it’s gotten a little bit more melancholic too. Maybe like late 90s Green Day meets the same era of Weezer, it’s definitely got the East Bay punk sound, with the satire side of being British rearing its ugly head. We call it ‘beach punk’ anyway, because we live by the beach and it inspires us. How lame.
“We call it ‘beach punk’ anyway, because we live by the beach and it inspires us. How lame.”
What are you focusing on mainly at the moment?
We just released 2 new singles! One came out at the end of February, ‘Carousel’. That was really fun, CLASH magazine were into it and gave us a feature, and Apple Music put it on their ‘Today’s Indie Rock’ playlist, so it was in there with Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco and loads of other huge acts. It’s the third time we’ve been playlisted by them or Spotify, and it’s always a trip seeing our tunes in with such huge names! More recently, our record label, Burger Records, just released this crazy 7 volume 150+ song coronavirus compilation called ‘QUARANTUNES’, and we wrote a song called ‘Everyday’ for that. Super proud of them both and so we are just letting people enjoy these for a little bit – I think it must be the most rapid we’ve ever been in getting new music out – and they definitely show our ark as writers. I wrote ‘Everyday’ with my friends in an Island band called Lazy Chain, and it’s the first time we have collaborated in songwriting outside of the three of us, which is really cool.
What inspires you to pick up your instrument and write new music?
Really good songs do. I always listen to a song and think ‘I want to write something like that’ and it never ever comes out remotely close, but usually it’s something I like anyway. I can’t really say I look at art and get inspired to write songs about it or anything, but, sometimes I listen to a really well written tune or album and I kind of want to outdo it, or make a pastiche version that I can skate around the copyright for and pass off as my own. It’s definitely a really interesting way of writing, as the result has never been similar to what I’ve been trying to replicate. I don’t know what that says about me as a writer…
Lots of creatives are seeing this crazy time as an opportunity to get some old projects finished or new ones started, what might it mean for you creatively speaking?
I was really nervous about this period maybe being a drought creatively speaking but it’s been really fun. I’ve written a whole load of songs, some for a new project and some that might work for Reminders. We recorded ‘Everyday’ in our bedrooms remotely, and the results were so good by the next week we had 2 new singles done. So it’s been really cool and it has definitely opened doors for us in the sense that we can get things done without all bumming around in a room together, who knew? It’s pushed me as a writer to not just write in the first person about things that have really happened too, because that wouldn’t make for the most interesting listening right now, so I’ve been writing a bit more creatively I suppose, which has already improved me as a lyricist. It’s been a huge positive of being in lockdown.
Is it hard to make music when you can’t see the other band members?
As I said, we have all been recording remotely and I had no idea how it would work out, but to be honest, it’s really cool. I don’t like to think any of us suffer from ‘red light fever’, but if any of us do, it certainly eliminates it. As a band dynamic we work really well in a room together just hashing out tunes and piecing them together bit by bit, but sometimes it gets exhausting and having the pressure of time constraints or whatever else can kill motivation pretty quickly – and I think I speak on behalf of all bands when I say that rehearsals almost always end in someone who’s not the drummer ending up on the drum kit – so it eliminates a lot of distractions and having the liberty to sit down with a cup of tea and some toast and track on your own really gets us all in a good place creatively, its funny how our best recorded performances and recordings to date have been made under these circumstances, but it has definitely changed the way we will do things in the future, without a doubt. In fact I would say we will definitely continue to use this model.
“I think I speak on behalf of all bands when I say that rehearsals almost always end in someone who’s not the drummer ending up on the drum kit.”
Finally, for those isolating or otherwise, what music do you recommend to make the days pass a bit quicker?
Well… check out our new singles ‘Carousel’ and ‘Everyday’ first off. ‘Everyday’ is off the 7 volume coronavirus compilation record too – so that’s 7 hours of music from bands on Burger Records, volume 5 is really really sick. So I don’t know what else to recommend, that’s got to keep you going. Nepotism aside, I’d have to recommend the 50th anniversary remixes of ‘Abbey Road’ by The Beatles, you don’t need convincing – particularly ‘Something’.
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