Listen Up: Lazy Habits Interview

By Ruth Last edited 110 months ago
Listen Up: Lazy Habits Interview

LazyHabits_PressPic_Jan2010_01.jpg Hailing from Hackney and vehement defenders of the 7" vinyl format, Lazy Habits are cross genre, combining big band and hip-hop sampling sounds to give you the mariachi horn. Their first few releases - Even Out, Please People, and EP - have reached cult status, selling out faster than they could be printed. Picked for Radio 6 Music's "Introducing", they've played Cargo with Jurassic 5's Chali 2na and Koko with The Herbaliser, Trojan Sound and the Dub Pistols, and in the summer of 2009 could be seen at pretty much every festival going, including Secret Garden Party, and hosting the Jazz World stage at Glastonbury, introducing the likes of Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Streets, Lupe Fiasco, Q-Tip. In fact, we can't believe you won't have already heard of them. They play Shepherd's Bush Empire in April with Mos Def, and we thought we'd better catch them before they rocket off into superstardom:

Who's in the line up these days?

Lazy Habits are MCs Mr Lazy (that's me) & Skin Horse, The Lazy Brass Section consisting of Mr Silver and Mr Brown, Skin and Bones courtesy of Messers Abunab and MacDoual, Mr James on Bass and DJ Itchi on the 1s and 2s.

Whereabouts in London are you based and what's ace about it?

Mostly East London, Hackney. It's an amazing mix of people and cultures, a great example of why London is such a great place. It's vibrant, unique and brimming with artistry. It's a very special place - someone told me it has 'more artists per square mile than anywhere in Europe'. Not sure how true that is but it certainly feels that way. No disrespect to any artists holding up West London, but it's like East London is the stage and west is the audience. Our DJ, Itchi has been playing underground venues and squats in Hackney for the last ten years but I think now it's having a heyday. This area belongs to the artists and all the best nights out are still in secret warehouse venues rather than clubs or bars. Hackney's growing international reputation means the budgets and crowds are bigger than the dirty underground parties of five years ago, it's warehouse chic. At some point this will all turn into Islington and get swallowed by the mainstream as is happening to Shoreditch, but for now, get involved. The best spots are Passing Clouds, The New Empowering Church, Dalston Jazz Bar (after 1am), Moustache Bar and Stoke Newington International Airport. Our studio is there too, so some of the Habits can always be found at The Way. It's just a great place with a lot of musical people coming and going, a really creative space.

What are you up to at the moment?

In the studio, finishing some tracks for our first full length album, putting finishing touches to the shows in the lead up to festival season. Contrary to what the name suggests we are working hard and generally planning world domination.

What do you sound like?

The elements will sound familiar but the result is like nothing you heard before, it's a very live sound that incorporates the feel of sample-based hip hop. There has always been the idea of sounding sampled like a producers hip hop track, but actually being 8 people playing live, no samples.

There are tons of things that inspire us musically individually and as a collective - I'm a big Tom Waits fan personally, his persona, performance, style and use of instrumentation are inspiring. To me the main importance is that you can tell its us regardless whether it's a neck breaking hip hop tune or some of the more laid back sung stuff, the space in between the music is just as important as the music itself.

Where's the most unusual place you've overheard one of your tracks?

Err, Main stage at Secret Garden last summer... oh and hearing one of our tracks on a channel 4 cookery program was pretty surreal, we have a song on a forthcoming French cinema release too.

What's your favourite London venue?

Koko to play, Barbican to listen, perhaps - depends on the act! They both have an amazing history to them. The Barbican isn't just a live music venue, it's a cultural hub. Theatre, Art, dance and cinema (inc a screening of films by Dir. John Samson, our own Skin Horse's dad) from all over the world alongside an amazing program of music that isn't just this band and that band playing sets but also some great collaborations and no real restrictions on style. Most of us have attended shows by heads like Maceo Parker and John Schofield there.

KOKO on the other hand has a different vibe to it all together - the place itself is a grand old theatre like venue, you come in and walk through and suddenly you are on the balcony looking down at this grand looking stage that's been graced by so many great bands over the years. We played there twice last year; first time was with The Herbaliser, Trojan Sound and the Dub Pistols. The first show was also one of the best we have ever had, despite being one of the opening acts for that gig the audience were amazing. I don't think any of us will forget that one in a hurry.

What's your favourite club night in London?

Matter, for its state of the art underfloor speakers and a heavy VIP section... highly recommended, it's new and East, which always helps!

Can you think of an unusual London location that should open itself up for gigs?

The London Dungeon would be cool, we'd do that.

Now for something a bit grubbier - have you ever busked on the underground?

Not yet, but its been discussed. I think it would be a good laugh.

What's your favourite record shop in London?

Most of my favourites have gone, RIP Mr Bongos. I guess Sister Ray is the closest independent to me now - they just have an eclectic selection of vinyl in there. In fact the whole of Berwick Street does have some great record shops. I think there are a couple of reasons for the closures though - the independent vs high st argument is definitely a major factor. A little bit of poison, a little bit of politics. Vinyl in general doesn't shift as much as it did, and then you got the old adage of West End rent.

What other new London bands / artists should we be checking out?

The Correspondents & Sarah Williams White off the top

What's your favourite track so far this year?

Washington Square by The Correspondents - its gonna be a huge year for them!

What's your London secret?

No way, you don't get that info!!! Nice try though....

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Lazy Habits play Shepherd's Bush Empire supporting Mos Def on 15th April - tickets available here. In the meantime you can stalk them on myspace and Facebook.

Last Updated 05 February 2010