Lo Fidelity Allstars

It seems like forever since the Lo-Fi's last graced our shores but this month sees the band release their first fruits in over a year - the  "Ghostmutt" EP. We join them backstage, not at all sober and chew the fat with the main man Phil about the bands success in America, the comeback and the how they've been coping since the departure of vocalist The Wrekked Train. Read on for tales of Rock & Roll debauchery.

Q: How does the "Ghostmutt" EP compare to the old stuff?
A: I think "All In All" is the closest to the old stuff and that's probably the only track on the album that could be compared. Saying that though people who've heard it don't agree with us and the album sounds 100% the Lo-fi's and it couldn't be anybody else. Its just like 100 steps forward which is a good thing.

I've been doing all these interviews and wracking my brains trying to think of a way to describe the new album, i couldn't describe the first one so i'm going to find it double as hard to describe this one. Its still all over the place - tempo's, vocal effects and just the cut and paste of the old album.

We want to sell loads of records and be successful, but it was getting a bit mad and we didn't want to come back in a big blaze. We didn't have time to make a video for a start so we just wanted to do it limited edition.

Q: Reports suggest its more housey / more melodic. Tell us all the truth?
A: I knew I shouldn't have said melodic, because when you say that people think you've gone all singer songwriter and have got verse-chorus-verse - I don't think we could write one of them if we tried. The fast ones are probably a bit housier than the old stuff, but its still vocals, and there's no instrumentals on the album.

Q: With the departure of The Wrekked Train, What is the situation with the vocals now?
A: We've got 2 guests on there, Bootie Collins is on one track but we like to keep it all in house. Andy and Martin are doing the vocals on the rest of the tracks.

With Dave leaving it was worse on a personal level because we were losing a friend. On a writing level it didn't effect us a massively because the main music writing team were left. We knew we'd carry on as a band but didn't know how we'd carry on playing live. The worst thing about it was him leaving on the eve of a tour, with a friend you don't feel that should have happened.

Its been 2 years now though with 7 months in America. We went over their and they didn't know the old Lo-fi's, they just knew the songs and couldn't care less who was in the band. That tour was the best thing we could ever have done for confidence.

Q: Is it true that there's another bands featuring the Lo-Fi's in existence?
A: We have got an offshoot band that is the same line up as the Lo-fi's. It just stuff that we wrote that doesn't really sound like the Lo-fi's, its probably is a little more housier, but having said that there is a couple of slow ones which are really American soul style. If it gets to Number 1  we'll tell everybody who it is, if it gets to number 100 we'll disown it.

There's about 6 songs which sound brilliant but they just wouldn't fit on a Lo-fi's album. Skint have heard them and love em. There is a certain pressure because we had a hit over here with "Disco Machine Gun" and people were expecting the album to be 11 DMG's, over in America we had the success with Battleflag.

Q: Did you always expect to have the success in America?
A: Nobody had any idea "Battleflag" would do well in America. It was recorded in a garage in Camden, the drums were recorded in Johnny's bedroom and the vocals in the bathroom and nobody could have expected that to do what it did. You just don't worry about that.

We had a nice amount of success, people were into it because it was different and the new album is different from anything out there again. The music scene hasn't improved much since we went and in general I think the dance scene has been most progressive. I don't think there has been any guitar bands that have changed much.

Everybody was surprised because we played a headlining gig in Chicago to about 4000 people, but in other places we'd be playing barns. We met these 2 muscle bound men called Budman and Rooster and in exchange for our backstage passes they gave us Hooters (this bar full of women with massive breasts and beer) watercolour signed by all the women that worked in there.

Q: Is so hard to categorize the Lo-fi's sound. What do you find are your biggest influences?
A: All we listen to is hip hop, R&B and house - the D'Angelo album is the best album for us over the past 5 years. We've done a track that we think is R&B but nobody else thinks it is. With the first album the main thing we were listening to was Spiritualised but the main thing that came through was hip hop.

Its not so much the styles of music we listen to that we take ideas from, just the production ideas and the way things are thrown together. Like this band, Outcast, they just throw everything at a track and se what sticks.

Were not going to come out sounding anything like "Blackstreet" but we are influenced by the way Teddy Riley produces, the same with the house artist like Basement Jaxx.

Q: Do you try and use samples to push things forward musically?
A: We've tried to reproduce samples with the band playing them this time. We've sampled from everywhere, the most obscure prog rock bands with tracks that are truly awful but just have one bar that is amazing. "Voodoo House" on the EP has got a sample from one of the worst prog rock records you've heard in your life, but we'll take from anywhere. Sampling is what hip hop's always been about.

Moby is a bit of a Magpie really because he takes massive chunks and I don't thinks that's being creative really. He reminds be of Puff Daddy who takes a massive recognizable tune and just puts a beat behind it. Bands like us and a lot of the dance bands will take a bar and just fuck it up, get something new from it.

A lot of our songs are created in that way. There's a song on the new album with Jamie from Supercollider which was written around one sample, it only appears in the first 16 bars of the song and it doesn't appear again.