Introducing Interview: LIINES

Having supported Desperate Journalist and Nelson Can on tour last year, Manchester trio (and GIHE faves) LIINES have fast been gaining attention from the likes of John Kennedy, The Quietus and BBC Introducing, as well as earning the title of ‘Ones To Watch 2018’ from yours truly.

Now, having cemented our love of them by blowing us away with their riotous, impassioned energy at The Finsbury a couple of months back, the trio are set to release their debut album next month, and have just shared another immense blast of post-punk perfection with new single ‘Cold’.

We caught up with Leila O’Sullivan and Zoe McVeigh from the band to find out more…

Hi LIINES, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what you do?
Zoe: Hello! We are LIINES from Manchester. I’m Zoe and I sing and play guitar, and also in the band are Tamsin who plays bass and Leila who plays drums.

How did you all initially get together and start creating music?
Zoe: LIINES was formed in 2014. We were originally a band called (hooker) and decided to change our name when our sound and style of music was going from something a bit more grungy to a more sparse, post-punk sound. Our original bassist, Steph sadly had to leave last year which was really sad as we’ve played together for so many years. But we invited Tamsin to join – thankfully she said yes – and she’s been a great addition to the band and to our live shows!

Your new album Stop – Start is out next month, can you tell us a bit about it? Are there any themes running throughout it?
Leila: That’s right! It’s our debut album and one we’ve been working on for a few years. We’ve been playing some of the songs since the start of LIINES and it’s taken time to save up and record the album. To finally get it ready for release and see it out there on 4th May will be a very proud moment for us. Finishing the album was also something we were able to do before Steph left, so it’s got a lot of meaning for us and we’re really proud of the final product.
Zoe: In terms of themes, the theme lyrically is about relationships and loss. I find this the easiest thing to talk about as it’s something I feel I can articulate well and sing about passionately as I’ve experienced it – as many of us have. We also chose this particular set of songs to represent us in our first album as they have a strong musical theme running through of being sparse yet still powerful. We always think a lot about creating an atmosphere and how we structure our songs to give an impact. We’re really excited to hear people’s reaction to Stop-Start.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Sleater Kinney and Savages, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Zoe: These are amazing comparisons – Sleater-Kinney especially. I think other influences are bands like The Pixies, Nirvana and Joy Division – bands who aren’t afraid of creating space in their music and a having vulnerability in the lyrics. I don’t think we can hide from the songs and they’re quite exposing and that’s what I hope creates our intense live shows and how much you feel from us performing them. There’s no acting. It’s all real.

You’ve previously wowed us with the immense seething force of your live show at The Finsbury, but would you say there’s been a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight for you?
Leila: It’s hard to pinpoint specific gigs as there’s always something memorable from any gig we do. Some of our most special gigs have been festivals in Europe – we’ve played to packed crowds who turn up because they trust the promoters. We’ve played a few packed rooms to people who don’t know who the hell we are but have welcomed us and get into the music from the first notes. One night in particular we played the night of a film festival in Linz to 400 people – not numbers we are used to playing to! – and near the end of a brilliant gigs ever Zoe raised her beer, said “Prost!” and the whole room screamed “Prost!” back – it was electric!
Zoe: We’ve already had some amazing gigs this year – absolutely including our headline gig for Get In Her Ears – but selling out the Manchester date of our tour last month was an amazing feeling and made for a pretty special night.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see much live music?
Leila: Manchester has an amazing music scene – we are spoilt by some incredible small to massive venues all putting on music most nights of the week. Though it’s also devastating to see some legendary venues lost to developers, which I know is happening all over the place. It’s also the variety of stuff going on that impresses me. We try to go to as many gigs as we can – from new music to coming through to touring bands and I can’t see that changing any time soon!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new upcoming bands/artists who you’d recommend we check out?
Zoe: One of the best things we love about gigging is who we get to play with! In the last 6 month we’ve supported two amazing bands – Nelson Can and Desperate Journalist. We also played with Sink Ya Teeth at Loud Women Fest last year, who were brilliant (and we play with them again next month!). And then I saw Kin play recently and she blew me away. Specific songs I’d recommend are: Nelson Can – Break Down Your Walls , Kin – Killed Off My Unicorn So I Can Pay Off The LoanDesperate Journalist – HollowSink Ya Teeth – If You See Me

And how do you feel the industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Leila: There are so many bands, and new ones I hear about every single day, it blows your mind and makes you wonder how any band can make it today. We were playing as LIINES for a while and struggling to get any attention or make any impact, even though we were playing some pretty decent gigs. So, we took a step back and made some plans about how we were going to approach the following 12-18 months and that was when we started to get noticed by a few blogs, websites and even radio. It wasn’t anything too difficult, but it was the basis for the last few years and it’s really put us in a good place as we release our album. So, definitely, it’s crowded and sometimes feels like it’s hard to get noticed, but get your music out there and do it in a way that makes it hard not to be noticed. I think it’s hard being ignored, and we’ve been disappointed when we’ve not heard back from some places or DJs, but you need to carry on – writing, gigging and releasing – and enjoy making music!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for LIINES?
Leila: We have some pretty special gigs coming up in the next few weeks – we’re playing The Membranes all-dayer at The Ritz in Manchester, alongside Sink Ya Teeth which will be the biggest venue we’ve played in! Then we have some festival appearances and more gigs to be announced to promote our album. We’re hoping to make it back to Europe for a tour in autumn too, as we’ve done quite a few gigs over there and have been waiting until our album was out to go back. We’ve already started to write and play some new songs, and we’re going to keep on at that for the rest of the year as we don’t want to wait another few years before our next album!

Thanks so much for answering our questions!
Leila: Thanks so much for having us and to Mari and all the GIHE team for supporting LIINES over the last few years and for all you do to champion women in music!

Stop – Start, the debut album from LIINES, is out 4th May via Reckless Yes Records. Catch LIINES live at the following dates:

5th May The Ritz, Manchester (The Membranes & Friends festival)
25th May Dot to Dot Festival, Manchester
18th August Some Weird Sin Festival, London
14th September Head for the Hills Festival, Ramsbottom
+ more TBA

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