THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO
We’re here with The
Boy Least Likely To, lyricist and songwriter Jof Owen, and composer/multi-instrumentalist
Thanks for chatting to The
New Roxette guys…
You’ve already had
success in the UK, and USA, and have toured with the likes of
James Blunt, and Razorlight… but some of our readers may
recognise and remember you, as you’re originally from
‘up the road’ in Wendover!
What have been some of the biggest highlights so far,
since you formed TBLLT?
I remember when Steve Lamacq played our first single on his radio show,
after we’d sent him a copy with a hand written note. It
was so exciting. If that had been all that had ever happened
I would have still been happy. After that everything else was
just so amazing to me that it almost became silly. I remember
being so excited when the rough trade shop first stocked our
album and we sold out of the first run before it had even been
released, and then when pitchfork first wrote about us. These
are still the things that mean the most to me. There have been
so many highlights I can’t list them all. Going on tour
in America, landing in Boston and being on the front page of
the Daily newspapers. Landing in New York and being photographed
for Rolling Stone. America generally is always amazing. Playing
Wembley, and all the other places we’ve been able to play.
Nearly all the shows we’ve played I’ve loved. I
still get excited when I see the finished albums and singles
too. I suppose we started the band because we wanted to make
records and that was all we really cared about. When we started
I never imagined us playing live, so to have done as many shows
as we have still seems weird to me. In a nice way!
Your latest (second) album is released on 9th
March 2009, which is called “The
Law Of The Playground”. What is the inspiration and
story behind this album?
Musically it’s still a very happy record. It bounces around and
bobs along like the last one did. We moved our recording equipment
out of the bedroom that we recorded the first album in and into
a studio a few miles down the road. We brought in a few new
instruments to compliment the banjos, recorders and glockenspiels
of the first album. There’s a brass section courtesy of
the Grimethorpe Colliery Band for example, and then even when
we were recording the more familiar instruments we still tried
to record them in different ways, and then lyrically I think
it’s quite a sad angry record.
It’s an album about what happens when
all your dreams come true and it isn’t how you thought
it would be.
I suppose there are themes
of disillusionment and feeling like you don’t fit in that
run throughout the album. It’s kind of about coming to
terms with the compromises and the failures that are likely
to happen in everyone’s lives, but it’s also like
a celebration of those failures too.
Do you have a favourite track from the album, and please
tell us about the new Double-A-side you’re releasing.
I’m so excited about all the songs on the record and I can’t
wait for people to hear them, but if I had to pick one, then
there’s a song called ‘The Boy With Two Hearts’
that I’m really proud of. We recorded all the brass parts
with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. I remember the demo was
quite mournful in a really sweet way and I ended up writing
relatively simple words for it. It sounds quite sad and Christmassy,
and it reminds me of the theme tune to the flumps, but I don’t
expect anyone else will think that.
The new Double-A side has ‘Every Goliath Has Its David’
on one side and ‘A Balloon On A Broken String’ on
the other. We liked them both as much as each other and so it’s
a Double-A side! It has two videos and everything! Both of the
songs are quite bouncy indie pop-songs, one of them is just
me imagining what it would be like to be a balloon and then
squeezing that metaphor dry, and the other song is a song about
fighting - but then most of our songs are!
TBLLT are known, not just for your music, (which has
been described as “Country Disco”), but also for
your artwork, and these colourful characters? Would you agree
with that description of the band, and who designs/creates these
I like the description
of us as being ‘Country Disco’, I think it kind
of sums up what we do quite nicely. I don’t really mind any of the descriptions
that usually get applied to us. I’ve always been comfortable
with ‘twee pop’ or ‘cutie or indie pop’.
As for the drawings, my brother does them all. Except the new
album cover features a knitted version of a drawing he did of
a bird, and then we made a tank out of shoe boxes, cotton reels,
pineapple tins and a sink plunger. I missed doing the drawings
a bit because they were so much easier.
bird and the tank were the most difficult things I’ve
ever had to work with. We did do some new drawings recently
though, for a B-sides and Rarities compilation that comes free
when you buy the new album from the Rough Trade shop. I really
enjoyed how easily and quickly it comes together when the covers
are drawn. I’m not sure what we’ll do next time!
You have a new tour coming up, what do you like most,
and least about touring?
I love doing the shows and I love spending time with my friends in
the band, but I miss being away from home. I love the village
I live in, and I’ve spent so much time here over the last
two years that it’s going to be a bit weird not being
here. Sometimes being on a tour bus and everything else before
a show feels a bit like waiting in an airport for a plane. Whole
days slip by without anything happening, and I always think
I’m going to do something constructive with my time, but
I end up just staring out of the window and wandering around
venues aimlessly. I’m determined to do something useful with my spare time on this
tour though. Perhaps I’ll
What else have you got coming up this year?
all the touring and the album coming out, I don’t think
I’ll have time for anything else, but if I did then I’d
like to write some children’s poems and get my brother
to illustrate them and then make an animation from it. I don’t
think I’ll have time though!
Anything else you’d like to add?
that I can think of. It’s just nice to do an interview
with someone from Aylesbury. Thank You.
THE QUICK FIRE FIVE – please complete the sentence…
Be Gentle With Me because: - I
bruise like a peach.
The Best Party Ever was: - The
best parties are always the impromptu ones. The ones that you
don’t plan for. They can happen anytime. I remember one
Wednesday last year that just got bigger and bigger until it
was four in the morning and everyone had to force themselves
to go to bed because we had work in the morning. I had a party
at my flat on Christmas Eve too, and I was so drunk that I had
to leave. Ii was kind of annoyed in the morning, just because
I’d thrown a party but I hadn’t been there! That
was a good party!
I’m looking forward to: - Christmas. I always do. I don’t care
how far away it is.
My favourite bands at the moment are: - I think The School are one of the most lovely
bands I’ve heard all year. They’re a seven piece
indie pop group from Cardiff, fronted by Liz, who used to be
the keyboard player in The Loves. They remind me of Camera Obscura
and Sixties girl groups. They’re signed to Elefant and
they’re coming on tour with us in March too. My other
favourite bands at the moment are Versus
The Lion, The Fox And The Bramble and a band called
Oh, Atoms. I think
they’re all going to be bigger than the Beatles!!!
The Law Of The Playground is: - Bully
or be Bullied. I will always be happier being bullied I guess,
however much it hurts sometimes!
Many thanks Guys, good luck
with the new single, album and of course the tour, and we look
forward to catching up with you and the band again very soon.
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