published: 16 /
Nicky Crewe speaks to Exeter indie band The Loft Club frontman Daniel Schamroth about their increasing global success, 60's and early 70's songwriting influences and recent EP 'Heart's Desire'
The Loft Club are an Exeter based quintet whose music has been compared to the very best of sixties pop from both sides of the Atlantic. Their debut EP was released in October 2016 through American Lightyear Entertainment and Universal Records. Described as a Brtiish Indie band, this catch all description doesn’t do them justice. Their EP, ‘Heart’s Desire’, is one of my top review CDs of the year.
When Pennyblackmusic gave me the opportunity to interview frontman Daniel Schamroth, I was intrigued to know more.
Band members, as well as Daniel, are Jamie Whyte, Kieran Chalmers, Amy O’Loughlin and Dan Wright.
PB: The Loft Club are now signed to a record label who have promoted Stevie Nicks and the Eurythmics. How did your connection with Lightyear come about?
DS: Our manager Scott, who works tirelessly behind the scenes, put us on to Lightyear Entertainment an American label. The CEO of the label Arnie Holland really liked our 'Heart's Desire' EP and decided to put it out, which has been amazing for us. They have been really supportive and helped get our music out there in the US as well as in the UK and Europe.
PB: There’s a maturity in your sound and songwriting, especially in the way you transform the best of the sixties sound into something very much your own. Who writes the songs and how do you work together as musicians?
DS: Thanks very much, I write the songs and then take them to the band and they evolve, sometimes in ways that I never expected and sometimes they sound just like I had imagined with a full band. I love the process of writing songs just on an acoustic guitar but I also love the process of making a song bigger and stronger with drums, harmonies and guitars everywhere, layering up the sound.
I've always been a massive fan of sixties guitar music, especially British bands - The Beatles of course but also the East Coast scene with Neil Young, The Byrds and all those great bands. Within our band the great thing is everybody has completely different influences, which is important I think. All the guys in the band are very intuitive players and I don’t have to say too much, I just bring the song and we come together and turn it in to a full blown track, usually very quickly. In my experience it's best to work quickly, when you're all working from instinct and not over thinking parts as that’s when the magic disappears. As Neil Young said "If you think you stink".
PB: What appears as overnight success can often mask a much longer period of development. From your publicity I get the impression you have only been together for a relatively short time, were you already working on projects together before you formed the band? Did friendships and other bands form a part of your development as The Loft Club?
DS: I've been writing songs since I first picked up a guitar, when I was about eleven years old. I've been playing in bands all through my teens and twenties (as have all the other guys) and we have been together as a band for about two years or so. The band came together very naturally – I put out a solo EP and that led to Jamie (Bassist) coming on board. We went out just the two of us playing acoustic gigs around Exeter, Jamie is an amazing musician, very creative with his parts. Then Kieran (Drummer) joined the band, we had played together in a Beatles tribute act for a few years so I knew his laid back/Ringo drumming style would be perfect for us. Then I met Amy (vocalist) at a friends party and we got drunk and sung some songs on the guitar. I thought wow she's got a great voice and she then informed me she was joining the band so that was that really! Then lastly Dan Wright (Lead Guitar) saw us playing a gig and he was playing in another band on the line up. He really liked our sound and asked if he could come on board, his lead playing style is really cool, he doesn't over play, just finds the right parts for the song. So here we are now as a five piece band.
PB: Digital and online music sharing has been part of your recent success. Over 200,000 spins on Spotify and over 70,000 monthly listeners are figures quoted in your publicity and those figures must have grown significantly since the EP and Niklas Ibach remix were released late last year.. You have also been added to significant playlists. Did you expect to get where you are so quickly? Has it taken you by surprise?
DS: Yeah it's been great how things have been growing online. The Niklas Ibach remix is a brilliant laid back dance remix of 'Heart's Desire'. I've never been a massive dance fan but I love his version and it's really taken off on Spotify which helps to bring new listeners over to us.
The industry has changed so much since I was growing up. Now all the major artists put out remixes of singles on Spotify to pull in new listeners. I do miss the days of B-sides I have to say but you have to change with the times. It's been great to see the band growing online and also getting bigger and better shows and people starting to take notice. We've worked very hard to get to where we are now, with the help of Scott our manager and the guys at Lightyear. There's still a long way to go, but I believe in the songs and in the band and I think people are ready for our kind of music again.
PB: There have been some interesting comparisons made to your sound. The Beatles if they hadn’t gone to India is one! Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, Ryan Adams and even Noel Gallagher are others. Do you recognise these influences? Are there others that are important to you? And how did those influences from before you were born come into your lives and your music?
DS: It's great when people compare your music to your heroes, I've always worn my influences on my sleeve with the way I write but I also try not to overthink things, I don’t sit down and say to myself "Today I will write a Noel Gallagher type song" but I listen to his music a lot and it's bound to come through you in it's own way. We love all those bands you mentioned and others too. I go through phases of listening to different bands/songwriters but more often than not I end up going back to the sixties and seventies as there was so much great music there. I grew up listening to my parents record collection which consisted of The Beatles, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie etc etc. Plus I grew up in the nineties with the whole Britpop explosion so that's always been a massive thing for me. I saw Oasis perform 'Roll With It' on 'Top Of The Pops' in my living room and everything changed in those three or four minutes. As it did for millions of kids my age. The new Beatles had arrived and it was amazing!
PB: Well known fans of your songs include Toyah Wilcox and Sonique. Have you got any interesting or unexpected collaborations coming up?
DS: Well Sonique did in fact record some vocals on a remix of 'Heart's Desire' which is floating around on YouTube it was a really cool version. Our upcoming release will be a double A-side release of our track 'Flicker' plus an alternative version featuring American singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb. She had a Number 1 record in America in the nineties so it's great that she has given us her time for the record and our vocals work really well together. She's even penned her own verse which is kind of cool. The record will be out very soon along with a brand new music video so there's lots of exciting things happening at the moment.
PB: Your music has been shared with a global audience through new digital media. Where does performing live fit into this? Is it important to you? Do you have plans for a tour?
DS: Yeah playing live and touring is the lifeblood of any band. There's so much emphasis on the 'online' side of the industry these days, which of course is a massive part of it but at the end of the day we're musicians who want to be out playing gigs and recording in the studio. We already have some great Festival slots this summer and then we are planning to do a little tour and then go in and record our debut album around Christmas time. Cant wait!
PB: What are the conflicts and pressures for you as a relatively young band based in Exeter, well away from the geographical music business locations? And what does living in Devon mean to you?
DS: Everyone says you have to be in London to get a record deal but that's just not true anymore. I've known friends who have relocated their bands to London and they've gone out and played gigs and nothing happened. We got a deal with an American label and we're based in Exeter! I've seen other bands do similar things too. With the internet now everything is global. Obviously London (and the capital cities) are the major points where labels and industries are based but there's more fluidity these days as far as I can tell. I love living in Devon, it's my home, where I grew up. It's a beautiful part of the world.
PB: Where do you see yourselves in five years time?
DS: In rehab. No, I don’t know...Let's see where it takes us. We're not kids, now's our time to make a mark and if it happens then great and if not then at least we gave it a good go. I'm proud that we have managed to release a record via a label, that was the dream growing up. Now we'll see what the next steps are. We cant wait to get in the studio and record some new tracks for the album, we've got some great songs which I'm looking forward to getting out there.
PB: Any advice for aspiring bands?
DS: Stick at it.
PB; Thank you.