SYNTH-POP duo Larry Pink The Human has been an exciting venture to see unfold. The duo consists of renowned artist and one half of punk band Slaves, Laurie Vincent and Mercury Prize-nominated songwriter and producer, Jolyon Thomas.
An emotional project; Larry Pink The Human is more than a band, it is an ever-evolving concept that encourages fans to run away with their imaginations and explore freely and without judgement. As always their new track NO WRONG NO RIGHT’s lyrics are full of sentiment with a nod to that teenage nostalgia we all crave. With the project just over a year old we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the developing pair - keep a close eye on these two, you’re not going to want to miss it.
We sat down with Laurie and Jolyon to discuss their new single NO WRONG NO RIGHT, tips to keep self-doubt at bay and Jolyon’s fear of balloons…
Charlotte Rosie-Creighton: How would you describe LARRY PINK THE HUMAN in 3 words?
Jolyon: From, the, heart.
Laurie: What, he, said.
CRC: Let us a little bit more about LARRY PINK THE HUMAN, is it a concept or character?
Jolyon: When we started we needed a way in, so we used the artwork to help us imagine the music we were making, or rather what we were going to make. We spoke about films a lot, like indie coming of age films, just the general atmosphere of them and imagined our songs soundtracking them.
For a while, we thought we’d use the name as a kind of character or guise, but really all that’s happened is the opposite! It’s enabled us to just be ‘us’ - LPTH is our alter ego.
Laurie: I think LARRY PINK THE HUMAN was a concept for us to start living as close to an authentic existence through our music as possible. A safe place where both our values allowed us the ultimate freedoms that ‘being yourself’ bring.
CRC: How do you see this concept/character evolving?
Jolyon: We are constantly trying new things and coming up with ideas etc, it’d be cool for the concept to start filtering into the audience and become an experience that’s beyond a ‘band’. I think we are beginning to represent something. To evolve to a point where the feeling is bigger than anything you can put your finger on would be amazing.
Laurie: Constant evolution is what I see. In a big way, it is the unknown that is so exciting. The music we are making now already feels like a vast leap from where we started. No two LPTH songs sound the same and I find that very exciting. To just be on the journey and have no real clear destination.
CRC: You’ve both stepped more into the limelight for this project, what has this process taught you about yourselves?
Jolyon: Not to take myself too seriously, but in the same breath, commit totally to the vision and the music. When your name is on the cover you have to believe it. It’s also a reminder to me of the pure thrill of collaboration.
Laurie: It’s reminded me how bad you have to want it. I’ve reconnected with my 12-year-old self, getting excited to just play in a room with my friends again. It’s been very refreshing and I’ve realised how much I need music. The determination to leave my mark and to keep creating. I also have discovered how obsessively driven I can be and in the same breath how much energy is required to deliver your vision.
CRC: You are known as a producer Jolyon, what made you want to leave the comfort of your producing desk?
Jolyon: Comfort itself! I love producing and working with artists. But artistically speaking I don’t want to be comfortable, it’s not me. I gave Laurie a birthday card with ‘Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone’ on it. I don’t have the card but I got the message.
CRC: What inspired your new single NO WRONG NO RIGHT?
Jolyon: We needed this track, it really came together, all the harmonies, wonky bass line etc. It’s about walking your path, and being yourself through all the struggles, doing your thing, accepting it. I think we sort of inspired the song with our process. is that narcissistic?!
Laurie: To add to this, I became obsessed with the Luca Guadagnino series ‘We Are Who We Are’ and in turn obsessed with Blood Orange. I started to imagine how I could write a song that could soundtrack a series like this. As Jolyon mentioned earlier we used TV and film for reference a lot, they give you a real insight into life being soundtracked. We all have our own soundtracks to our lives and we really wanted to make emotional music that people could really take into their lives/homes and their most personal moments. I pondered my angst and applied my experience to some chords. Then with Jolyon we took it to where it is.
CRC: Could you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Where do you begin?
Laurie: The first batch of songs generally started with a rough acoustic track with lyrics I’d take to Jolyon then we’d dissect and re-write it together. Then as time has gone on we have approached tracks in all different kinds of ways. Separately, together in a room, mashing two ideas together, remixing our own songs. It’s been liberating having a producer as a bandmate and making the tracks as we write. Coming from a ‘traditional’ band background this has been revolutionary for the workflow. It allows us to be extra creative, there are no boundaries.
Jolyon: Lyrics aside, we normally have a beat going, and it just suddenly sticks. All the songs have a symbiotic relationship between how they sound/were written and the feeling they have. One of our favourite songs on the mixtape can’t really be performed how it’s recorded, it’s really just a collage of sounds that have been edited together. But some songs are more simple.
CRC: The honesty of your lyrics is truly inspiring; we live in a society where many of us have feelings of inadequacy and suffer from anxiety. What advice would you give your fans about managing these feelings?
Laurie: Thank you, honesty is the essence of this project. Putting my true self on the page and living with any discomfort. Living in the moment is one of the quickest and best ways to make any of life’s problems bearable.
Jolyon: Yeah, information overload. Both from outside and within. If you’re able, find something that you can be 100% involved in, even if it’s for 1 second. We’re back into skateboarding at the moment, you really can’t be thinking about the future mid kickflip! It’s a vehicle to the now; it works.
CRC: As men, it can sometimes be hard to know what to do with these feelings and how to voice them. How do you both manage your mental health and keep the feelings of self-doubt at bay?
Jolyon: Working on it one day at a time. I have a cat, she just wanders about all day and seems very happy, I don’t know if she knows what a male or female is, but likely not. I know I’m not a cat, and I know I have practical matters that need addressing. But other than that I think we can all be a little bit more cat. We’re lucky in that we have music in our lives. Music really brings people together, I know there is progress to be made in terms of equality etc, but with the deeper feeling of the music, the real feeling, transcends all of this.
Laurie: I’ve been working really hard on my mental health. I’ve been in therapy for the past 6 months. I think reframing things is the most important thing we can do. Feelings should be accepted, self-doubt is a real and important feeling. Accepting it and pushing through the feeling is important. Keeping feelings at bay would then suggest there is something wrong with those feelings. They’re all completely natural. The first step we can all take is owning these feelings and attempting honesty with ourselves and others. I flit between inflated confidence and crippling self-doubt at least 6 or 7 times a day. It’s a reality we like to try and hide for all sorts of motives such as maintaining some kind of effortless ‘cool’. The truth, on the other hand, is we all experience these things. Connecting and relating to each other would help share the burden and make our experience in life a lot better. I think we will get there, we all just need to put the work in.
CRC: What can we expect from LPTH in the future?
Jolyon: More of the above.
CRC: I read that you are scared of balloons Jolyon, have you conquered this fear yet?
Jolyon: [Laughs] Don’t use the ‘B-word’ I like what they represent, they’re kind of innocent and fun. But when they go “POP” it’s too much, I’m not into it. I’m conquering the fear by slowing downtime to a point where the shock factor is reduced.
And finally, what’s your favourite F Word?
Jolyon: ‘Forward’ keep moving.