If you ever meet The Loves you will be instantly besotted with their cool reckless charm, their personable optimism, and their genuinely friendly attitude. They are equal measures affable, entertaining; engagingly cool and… well to be frank a damn good laugh. Their first single 'Boom a Bang Bang Bang' which was released on Track and Field last year was the single of the year in my opinion, searing its impression on every day as it stayed stuck on my turntable for weeks on end. Its endearing catchiness and timeless quality lay in what was on the surface a flagrant pop gem masking a cool (and I mean really cool) rugged cult underground aesthetic. To me the song was the one real beacon of an overriding pop sensibility, a record that positively bristled with wild naive arrogance without being bridled with a suburban conservatism and austerity. In short I loved it. When the Loves second T&F single was placed in my sweaty yet eager palm my pulse raced. My instincts were not wrong. 'Just Like Bobby D'takes up the call and lifts the ante even higher. A finer pop nugget I dare you to find!

I met up with the Loves in a London boozer as they prepared themselves for a gig in the metropolis. Around the table in front of me are Catrin (voice), Simon (voice and guitar), Liz (keyboards), James (bass guitar), and Dave (drums). Unfortunately we are one member short as Psosni (guitar and backing voice) is still in transit from Cardiff. The talk ricocheted across the table like the crossfire in an old John Wayne movie.

PB : How did the band start?

Simon : I started the band with the first bass player. Then from going out in Cardiff I met Liz, and Psosni who brought a drummer along. The bass player left so James joined on bass. We needed another singer, so Catrin joined. Then Dave joined through Catrin when our old drummer left.

Catrin : It was amazing. I knew Dave and was talking to him when suddenly I realised he played drums. "Oh My God, Dave" I said "Our drummers leaving. We need someone to play drums.

Dave : The first things I did with the band were a video shoot, a John Peel session and a gig at the Scala. Since then it’s been downhill.

PB : What bands have influenced you?

Simon : The Velvet Underground because they are simple and you didn’t have to play 37 chords in one song. I learnt that there was only two chords in each song and said to myself "Oh I can do that", and I was off…..

Liz : And the Rolling Stones.

PB : Are you one of those bands that want to be in the charts or do you feel that you don’t want to be part of that filthy business?

Simon : If we were in the charts we’d make them better

Liz : I want to be on Top of the Pops, SMTV…..

Simon : Yeah, Top of the Pops high kicking...

James : We’re not really aiming for the charts yet though.

Dave : We want to sell as many records as possible.

PB : Tell me about your sound ?

Simon : The loud songs we try to make brash and brazen but in the quiet songs there’s some subtlety there. Liz can be fluttery and flowery, while all the rest of us hit things as hard as we can.

Dave : There’s one song where anything goes.

Catrin : It’s funny because loads of really poppy decent Indie bands that are around at the moment that are, in some way, connected to Track and Field. It seems that the bands that I was playing with at home are now our label mates and we’re a part of all that.

James : The good thing about Track and Field is that they put out what they like.

Simon : There was a review of 'Boom a Bang Bang Bang' that said if The Loves were from Detroit or New York they would be all over the papers but we’re not so we’re not.

PB : What do you think of nu-metal ?

Simon : No, no, no. no

Liz : I think those people who like nu-metal are very cruel stealing the collars from their dogs.

Catrin : Most nu-metal fans are between 6 and 15 and have only caught a glimpse of a nu-metal band on MTV, but they can wear baggy clothes and get away with it.

James : I know what you mean. I see 13 year olds with Slipknot t-shirts on. They have the words people = shit on them. Now there’s a message of hope and optimism for the next generation.

Simon : I walked passed Virgin Megastore the other day when Slipknot were doing an in store signing and there’s a guy in a boiler suit and a gas mask standing there with his mum!

PB : Probably didn’t want to be noticed getting Slipknot’s autograph. Can you blame the poor dear?

Dave : If he had a gas mask on then it might not have been her son. It could have been a very short husband.

James : Yeah or Michael Owen.

Simon : That’s true with those gas masks on how do we know if it’s the real Slipknot. It could be anyone.

PB : How do you think they manage to do 47 signings in one day?

Catrin : No optimism. Will they look back with any nostalgia in 10 years time?

Liz : It’s really sad though because when we were that age it was Kylie and Jason or Michael Jackson.

Simon : I used to love Michael Jackson. It was "Hurray, Michael is great." Now it’s just a case of……

PB : Have you still got the single white glove?

Simon : Er ….. No.

PB : Would you say that you’re songs are immersed with a sixties vibe?

Simon :I like the best pieces of music from all the decades so far. Some of our songs have a happy 60’s vibe. Others have a punky 70’s feel….

Liz : The B side to our next single is "Rave".

Simon : "Rave"?

Dave : Is it?

Simon : Apparently it’s just whistles.

PB : Five years ago it was cool in a media sense to be Welsh. Was all that attention a good thing?

Catrin : Do you mean the whole Catatonia/ Tom Jones, Stereophonics scene. No it was bloody awful, but you forget about it. Then you read it in a magazine and you think "Oh my God, yes." It was BLOODY AWFUL. I don’t think it set Welsh music back, but as a scene it was really bad. I must say though that the first Catatonia album was really good. It did show though just how bad it had got.

PB : What about a Loves duet with Tom Jones?

Simon : What song should we do?

PB : That was my next question?

Catrin : 'Shout to the Top' by the Style Council.

Simon : We could do 'Heroin' with Tom Jones

PB : You DO mean the song!?

Simon : Oh yeah, that would be great. We’ve got an album of Tom Jones live at the Las Vegas ballroom in 1970 and it’s the best thing you’ve ever heard. He’s doing the resurrection shuffle. He sounds the coolest man in the world, but you look at the cover and he’s ….orange.

Catrin : Can we talk about Cardiff?

PB : Yeah sure

Catrin : They don’t like us at all. We get loads of personal insult and stuff. The whole attitude of despising and slagging people off is really pathetic.

PB : Simon: We get called a shambles everywhere we go. Not though in a good way. On the Boobytrap website (The Loves first single was released on Boobytrap) there’s a catalogue of alternative names for the Loves and they range from the pissheads, Shits to Wankers and Cunts. It was a year ago that our first single was released on Boobytrap and we’re still being slagged off. It’s really cliquey in Cardiff and we don’t hang around with the right people. We hang around with each other.

James : People say we’re the ugliest band in Cardiff

PB : Surely you’re doing something right if you attract such polarising views (that night I witnessed how much London loved The Loves by receiving a rapturous reception and calls for an encore).

Dave : It just gets a little frustrating and uncomfortable.

Simon : It’s just that we would like a little respect. It does annoy us Respect is fine as long as it’s from the right people. Not the Neds (ignorant shits) who know next to nothing.

Catrin : No you’ve got a point there, but there are a lot of those kinds of people in Cardiff .We are genuine people and we’re in this together and we look after each other.

Liz : At least we get off our arses and do something.

Dave : Wherever we play, be it London or wherever, it’s so exciting when we get on stage, but in Cardiff everyone sits down and asks when the bar shuts.

Simon : Saying that, the last Cardiff gig was amazing; people were right down the front and totally getting into it. I can’t understand why we’ve never been mentioned in the music press.

We then go on to talk about James’s adventure with Bobby Gillespie and discussions over the best Rolling Stones, Beatles albums and their relative merits before the band leave to play a fantastic gig and I am left to wonder a) Why indeed they aren’t mentioned in the music press and b) Why they are not regarded more highly in their native Cardiff. Judging by that night’s performance neither of these will hold true for long.


The photos that accompany this article were taken by Bob Stuart and originally appeared on his website http://www.underexposed.org.uk















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