Interviews come in all different shapes and sizes, from being hustled into a separate room with a specific time period to a chilled beer and a chat. Larkins took a different approach which started with an extremely open conversation, leading to some revelations that maybe they weren’t supposed to share: apparently an EP is coming! Larkins tour manager Jake introduced us to the band who were eating their dinner at the time. Regardless of this, the band were insistent that they were happy to start, in fact what happened is the interview didn’t ever ‘start’ we just got chatting and we started recording.
“Guacamole can’t be vegan because bees are trucked across the US to different avocado farms, sent out on pollinating missions and brought back in.” – Dom on some of the band’s vegan lifestyes.
Three dates into the tour and Larkins are still full of life. When they realise we are recording, lead guitarist Dom Want gives a “whoop, whoop” at the sound of their band name. Answers are given from Mexican food-filled mouths. When we sit down the band are in a lively debate about guacamole and whether it’s vegan. Dom tells us that, “guacamole can’t be vegan because bees are trucked across the US to different avocado farms, sent out on pollinating missions and brought back in.” The guitarist continues, “fuck that, we’re dead against that.” This has all started because some of Larkins are vegan and kindly the promoter Bournemouth Live/Chalk Ink has catered for them, even providing so-called “vegan guac.” Frontman Josh Noble adds, “as soon as a venue says, ‘have you got any vegans’ you know the food is going to be pretty good.” With the music industry having changed well over a decade ago and money being stretched further, this is the reality for touring acts, even though Larkins are rising stars. Josh jokes on his vegan comments, “you’ve not been in a band if you don’t get that joke.” Clearly, Larkins – and every other band with dietary requirements – have had some rough deals along the way.
Feeling suitably acquainted with each other, we return to the job in hand. The ruffled paper list of questions comes out of the pocket, our discussion starting off with the strangely named tour, Are We Having Any Fun Yet? We’ve seen this name before as a track name on the live album (technically a debut but Larkins assure me that they don’t count this as their debut) but we’re yet to see it even as a single. Josh tells us: “As a music fan, I like the idea that when you go and see a band they tend to do one or two new ones that you haven’t heard and I liked that we’re saying ‘this is a brand new tour, there’s going to be some songs you haven’t heard’ and see if they still wanna come. If they do, we’re going to be playing this song called, “Are We Having Any Fun Yet.”
“Are We Having Any Fun Yet? is probably how the E.P. is going to go… I reckon soon, you know, we might just drop it really, really soon.” – Josh lets slip on the next release.
It seems clear that the band are in exciting times. “We have a lot of tracks in the pipeline, we’ve got so much,” Dom says. Josh adds, “we’ve got a [private] Soundcloud link with 30 demos on it.” At this point without having to be a CSI investigative journalist when asked what’s next Josh confesses, “E.P. Let’s get the E.P. done and then the album.” When asked to elaborate on the E.P, Josh states that, “’Are We Having Any Fun Yet?’ is probably how the E.P. is going to go” and asked about timescales Josh says, “I reckon soon. You know, we might just drop it really, really soon.” Dom reins things back in: “It might be the end of this year.”
“There’s definitely a song in there somewhere… so the first line of the song [Are We Having Any Fun Yet?] is, ‘he waits for the sound of the train to stop.'” Josh explains his best lyric to date.
Talking about the themes of Are We Having Any Fun Yet? Josh tells us that it talks of “the trials and tribulations of today. Asking the question, ‘are we actually having fun in life?’ Lyrically it’s probably the best song we’ve got and it seems to encompass us. That song at the moment is what we’re all about.” Coincidentally the idea for Are We Having Any Fun Yet? relates specifically to something that Dom and Josh witnessed on the London Underground. “There was this couple arguing on the underground and then the train made a horrible screech sound,” explains Josh. “As soon as that started, they just stopped and waited for it to stop because they couldn’t argue any more.” Josh continues, “I was just watching, thinking, ‘this is so interesting.’ It was so weird to watch, ‘we’re pausing for the noise to stop so that we can keep arguing’”. Instantly I knew there’s definitely a song in there somewhere, so the first line of the song is, ‘he waits for the sound of the train to stop.’”
By this point, the banter between the Underscore Part 3 team and Larkins is flowing. We notice a Whatsapp group ‘Bitch Page’ on Dom’s phone and must find out more. It’s clear that Larkins are a band full of fun, taking the light-hearted approach to all they can in life. “Our actual assistant manager is called Mitch Page,” Dom tells us, “but he’s down in my phone as ‘Bitch Page’”. Josh interjects, clarifying that “we do this a lot.” Dom says, “he [Mitch] probably won’t appreciate that much.” Having gone off track, we ask Larkins if these comments that we’re all laughing about are ‘off the record’ to which Josh says, “he won’t know about this till now, but he’s not the only one. Our photographer is called Ryan Jaffers-Hardy but he’s just ‘Ryan Jaffa Cake’ in my phone.” Dom leans in to the microphone, possibly trying to keep his management on-side saying, “we love you Mitch, mate.” This is Larkins: humorous, fun, talented personalities, soaking up every bit of this adventure.
“Sometimes you know if a venue is ready ‘to go’, as soon as you load your gear in… it’s pretty weird, I don’t know what it is.” – Josh explains his thoughts on great venues.
Some of the key things a band needs to be able to do on their early tours is to connect with the fans. We wanted to know how Larkins read a crowd and to a point learn if they’re ‘having fun yet’. “You can just feel it in a venue,” Josh believes. “Sometimes you know if a venue is ready ‘to go’ as soon as you load your gear in. It’s pretty weird, I don’t know what it is.” Dom is circumspect: “I notice that you can hear the crowd together as one, chanting and screaming at the same time.”
“it’s weird because you leave your house and you’re, like, 20 years old but on that specific day your Mum’s like, ‘look after yourself, watch out.’” – Dom shares his worries about an increasingly violent society.
Dom’s comments on crowd unity leads Josh to tell how he “massively” feels like there are pockets of togetherness springing up throughout the country. Continuing, Josh says that he remembers “playing a show the day after the [Manchester Ariana Grande] bombing. I’ve never felt that sense of community before being at a show and so many people being, ‘fuck you, we’re still going to a show.’” Tragically, Josh says, “it’s the only time I’ve really felt a sense of community in the UK within music”. With honesty, the frontman explains that although he tries his best to articulate his feelings at those moments on stage he feels like “I often end up waffling on… and end up ranting and shouting and dropping too many F-bombs.” Dom rounds up his feelings not only about that evening but also the fractured state of society, saying that “it’s weird because you leave your house and you’re, like, 20 years old but on that specific day your Mum’s like, ‘look after yourself, watch out’”. The rant begins to build in Josh, whose tone of voice changes. “I hate that kids have got to leave the house and their Mums and Dads are telling them to be careful at the show… I hate that feeling. I feel it in the pit of my stomach.” We all pause for a moment. The tone of conversation has been physically felt among us and we acknowledge a sense of that before we move on.
Larkins not only have youth and talent on their side, but they also have humility. They recognise what they are achieving with honest pride. They’ve identified that this is a moment in their lives that they will never forget and for some of their fans Larkins could be an important early experience as music fans at a gig. Speaking about Sugar Sweet which has been released twice once as a demo and once as a ‘normal single.’ “So many fans were into it [theSugar Sweet demo],” explains Josh, “but we felt ‘we’ve done this wrong, we can do this better.’ The band was hearing from fans who were saying, ‘don’t get rid of the old one’ so we were like, ‘fuck it, we’ll keep it up’” Josh says. “So many bands wipe out their first three years,” complains Dom, with mild disappointment. “They might have been crap but it’s part of the band and part of their history, so we wanted to keep that in because a lot of people started with us there and are still following us now.”
The band have a similar fond memory of their recent live album recorded at the Manchester Albert Hall. Josh describes his mad feelings of having sold out and how massive it was that “we had to record it”. From their very first show it’s been apparent that Larkins are a band that recognise their fans have complete power over their success. Josh tells us, “the thought was ‘fuck it, lets release it and see what people think.’” The pair circle back their conversation to our earlier chat about the Sugar Sweet demo. Josh tells us how “a lot of those tracks [from the live album] are going to change.” Dom jumps in: “they have changed. I think it was important to freeze that moment in time.” Josh stops us as the interview moves on to acknowledge Larkins’ relationship with their fans. “So many people were at that show that have followed us from the start. It was cool for that many people to be part of that show”.
“That was a big deal. I couldn’t believe it.” – Josh tells of Radio 1 premiering their last single, Not Enough Love.
In almost every word that Josh and Dom speak you can hear in their voices that, although they are writing great work, they know that the music industry can be a cruel beast and they’re grateful for what they have. Speaking of mind blowing situations, the band speak with shock at Radio 1 wanting to premier their latest single, Not Enough Love. Josh puts it simply. “That was a big deal. I couldn’t believe it.” Sheepishly, we wrap the interview up sharply. While Josh and Dom are keen to continue chatting despite how far we’ve overrun, there is another polite journalist waiting. As we walk away, we’re left thinking about what the future holds for Larkins. If the next time we chat it is at the O2 Academy, then it will be no less than they deserve.
Must remember the vegan guacamole.