Back at the start of 2020, things were looking up for London-based quartet Swimming Tapes, they’d just played two-packed out shows in Japan and were returning home full of positivity and promise for the year ahead. With a sad inevitability though, that positivity didn’t last. With Swimming Tapes unable to write or perform together, their Northern Irish singer Lou Price set about finding an outlet for his own creativity, and the result is his debut solo EP, Parkside Grooming, out this Friday via Hand In Hive.
The resultant record is perhaps unsurprisingly a bit of a detour for Lou’s songwriting, embracing a heart-on-sleeve approach, that finds him pouring himself onto the tape more than ever before. Much of the record’s lyrical content lands in the deeply relatable category, with songs about financial stresses, governmental disappointment and anger at the artist’s lot. The record is almost entirely solo, with Lou recording and playing all the instruments, bar a few drum overdubs from co-producer Paddy Baird, and some delightfully stirring backing vocals from labelmates Will Blackaby and Zoe Mead. Musically, Parkside Grooming is a record of subtle changes, from the brilliant Hit Me Up, which does a decent job of showcasing Lou’s love for Canadian indie-royalty The Stills, through to Figure It Out, which channels pandemic induced anger into a musical meeting of Avi Buffalo and Sweet Baboo. Perhaps the record’s stand out moment is also its final one, the dreamy delicacy of Love Can Pass You By. It is a song about Lou’s mother, inspired by the sense that it’s easier to hate than love, and the real skill in life is to find love in the people you don’t always see eye-to-eye with. There’s an old saying, as one door closes another opens, through that freshly opened door Lou Price confidently strides, embracing change and out of adversity, creating something truly wonderful.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Lou Price?
A songwriter born in England, raised in Northern Ireland and for the past 6 years I’ve mainly been occupied being 1/5 of the band Swimming Tapes. However, due to time off caused by the pandemic, I wrote and recorded a solo EP in my dining room called ‘Parkside Grooming’ that is coming out on 16th July on Hand In Hive records. At least I think that’s who Lou Price is…
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Sheer and utter panic is what I remember from my first show. I was probably around 15 years old and playing drums for an old band called ‘The Danny Brown Show’ in a local bar in Bangor called ‘The tavern’, I was underage and shouldn’t have been in the bar but the rest of the guys managed to sneak me in and as much as it was terrifying, it also gave me the bug for performing live that I’m yet to shift.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I’ve always had a passion for music, for as long as I can remember to be honest. My mum was a folk singer in the 70’s and released a couple of albums so I think it’s just blueprinted into me. I was constantly surrounded by music growing up, from my mother playing her guitar to always having The Beatles or old soul records blasting in our living room or the car. I fell in love with Queen when I was about 7 and used to run around the living room pretending to be Freddie Mercury or drumming on the arm of the sofa, eventually my dad caved and bought me a snare drum and that was that, game over, they probably had a permanent two year headache from me banging that thing.
FTR: What can people expect from the Lou Price live show?
I don’t actually know yet, I’m in the process of putting a live band together at the minute so if you have a mate that’s good at playing the triangle, fire them my way. Originally I didn’t think I would even play live, this project was started purely as a recording project and a way for me to cope with being stuck at home but now I can’t wait to play the songs to a live audience.
FTR: What’s next for Lou Price?
After the ‘Parkside Grooming’ EP is released I’ll hopefully get out to play some live shows at some point (pandemic pending) and I’m already half way through writing/recording an album so I’m gonna try to finish that with the aim of putting it out early next year. Famous last words. Watch this space.
They Listen To…
Neil Brogan – Monochrome Time
Widowspeak – Plum
Nestor Campos – Cosita Linda
John Myrtle – Remember Holly Park
Anna Burch – Can’t Sleep