Brighton's Super Lungs make woozy indie-pop for fans of Connan Mockasin and the like, they've recently released a new single 'On The Run' mixed by Theo Verney we chat to them to find out more.
After being on the scene for a few years, Brighton’s Super Lungs have used the winter to regroup and emerged with a new sound and a killer single. We spoke to guitarist and songwriter Ben Varnes about practice room odours, appeasing the songwriting deities and working with one of Brighton’s musical heroes.
To quote Ozzy Osbourne, Super Lungs are going through changes. Gone is their brand of wild and cacophonous surf rock, and in its place is a more melodic and subdued sound. It still packs the same punch, but its been toned down and refined. Having released the single ‘On the Run’ earlier in the year, and with another future classic in the bag, we met up to ask them about their origin, Mongolian throat singing and that dream support slot.
GL: Where and when did you form? Super Lungs: We formed in 2016 when myself and Billy met working at The Office (pub in the Lanes). We obviously had the same music tastes and sense of humour so it all fell in place quite naturally. Then we roped in the minions Kezza and Markus.
GL: Where did the name come from? SL: The name is a direct nod to a Terry Reid song 'Super Lungs My Supergirl' bangin’ Northern Soul tune.
GL: How do you describe your sound? SL: Groovy melodic and warbly, with lots of big chords.
GL: Why did you change from a raucous surf rock sound to something more laid-back vibe? SL: I think the surf rock music was our proto stage in writing, it's what we were listening to at the time, Markus had great ideas for that kind of music, but then he left us to live in Cologne. From that, we found a new drummer and just decided to play something a bit groovier and slower tempo. Thanks, Dylan.
GL: You’ve just released a new single, ‘On the Run’, what’s next for you? SL: Yeah ‘On the Run’ is our first official release with a very DIY video. We recorded with our good friend Oli in Guildford uni studios, we couldn't be more grateful to him and his knowledge, patience and hard work. He's a proper star. We plan to release ‘Please’ with a video very soon too, it was recorded at the same time and is kind of like a follow-up track. An EP is in the works, for now, hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll release it. We also have a plan of getting an album together too.
GL: Theo Verney mixed ‘On the Run’. How did that come about? SL: I've worked with Theo in the past. I first met him through my old band Spit Shake Sisters and DIGO, he recorded a few demos for us at his home set up, and just became friends that way. So when it came to getting Super Lungs stuff mixed he was first on our minds. It felt natural that he was the right person for the job, as he's very attentive and knows what you want almost immediately, throwing in his own stylistic ideas and approach that we loved too. He smashed it!
GL: Does your location affect the songwriting process? SL: We used to rehearse in our cellar in Kemp Town, but things got very dingy and gross, quickly. When the drain blocked it literally smelt like human remains. Despite that, we managed to get a new set together with Dylan after Markus left. In a proper studio though things just sound better and practice is more coherent.
GL: Do you go into the studio with the fixed ideas, or jam it out in there? SL: Usually one person comes to practice, with a jam or idea fully formed or half-formed and then we sacrifice a virgin goat to the almighty music Lord Bono. His spirit washes over us and after a 15-hour trance-like state a new song is just there... in our heads. A bit of both really, we go in with some very form ideas in terms of structure chords and melody, but with flexibility for new ideas and sounds. Like a pipe cleaner.
GL: What are you listening to at the moment? SL: We're listening to a lot of faux jazz Mongolian throat singing and deep house, but generally anything Mr. Bongo has on their playlists, they kill it.
GL: What live acts do you currently like? SL: Kruangbhin are definitely the best act I've seen live this year, along with UMO and LCD Soundsystem. And a few local acts too, Hanya, Blush, Night Visions, Squid, Yakul, and Spengler who we played with at the Cowley Club are superb guys.
GL: Who would like to support? SL: I think we can all agree, supporting any of the bands just mentioned would be amazing. But I mean supporting Britney at Pride would make my year.
GL: What is the one album/band/song that brings the band agree on? SL: It would probably be in the 'Shower' by Homeshake.