As psych-surfers Leeches release their singles collection Easy, we had a chat about musical influences, how they’re coping with lockdown and painting along with Bob Ross. At times like these it’s important to hold very serious conversations, and it’s highly likely that someone, somewhere is doing exactly that.
Leeches are Jack Pearce (bass/vocals), Ben Lowe (guitar/vocals) and Frank Waloszek (drums) and that much at least is true – probably. Here goes…
Hey, how are things with all of you – where have you been spending lockdown?
Jack: I’ve been in a shed in my parents garden keeping myself busy with my Only Fans account.
Ben: As I have not been able to drive my Porsche around the south of France lately, I have not been in the best mood.
Frank: I stay as far away from Jack and Ben as humanely possible, filthy cretins, they definitely have Coronavirus.
Your singles collection Easy was released last week, tell us about it…
Frank: Well actually… as far as I was concerned, it was supposed to be a Jazz Fusion album called Pints as an Act of Persistence but due to pressure from the record label, our manager, and Jack/Ben we had to scrap that idea and it became a heavy rock singles collection instead, but it’s still pretty good to be honest.
Jack: It was originally meant to be a pure Jazz Fusion piece but Frank insisted on making it more accessible, and kept threatening to leave the band so we settled on this.
Ben: It was always our (mine and Jack’s) dream to be the biggest band on Clarendon Road. Then Frank was enrolled as percussion I remember, and we moved on to Ascham Road. We progressed to barking on both these roads riff by delightful riff, singing and whistling as we strode. Alfie Tyson-Brown, a butcher by trade, took us under his meaty wings and turned our gaze to larger streets, upon which he showed us not only how to rock, but how to roll upon these new avenues, the likes of which we had never seen the like of which. Christian and Alex, the knights of Bristol at the time, the striders ahead, knew of even brighter pastures. We now want to bark on these roads when Boris says “Yeah alright”.
How difficult is it releasing music when you can’t get out to promote it?
Jack: It is hard to know how it will land and would be nice to tour it, but it means we can work on stuff like the music video and go through old unfinished tracks. Every artist is in the same boat though, it’s been amazing seeing how people have worked around it.
Frank: About as difficult as it was playing to a venue full of debauched wasters who had no recollection of the gig the following morning.
There’s a track called Bob Ross, have you ever tried to paint along with him?
Frank: Of course.
Jack: Wouldn’t dream of it.
Ben: Due to an ongoing court case, I’ve been advised to answer no comment to this question.
You’ve been with Leisure Records for a while now, how did you first start working with them?
Frank: It all happened so fast. I was auditioned for the band, and when we were certain it was going to work the next thing we were travelling up to Bristol and London, just all over the place really, networking with all these real characters, you know… and somehow they were making it all happen. It was greatly uplifting to discover such a conglomerate of proactive, cultured folk. Jack and Ben had already done most of the hard work when I joined the band. I was quite literally the leech.
Ben: Christian and Alex from Leisured Recordings threw big money on the table and my accountant told me this was my only option after what happened with the last label.
Jack: Please see Frank’s answer.
Musical influences – what are your earliest memories of listening to music as kids and which artists do you count as long term favourites?
Jack: When I was little, my folks would listen to Euphoria compilations and REM while we drove around, I think that had a big influence on me. That and getting into all forms of dance and psych-rock, Sabbath’s first two albums and early Chemical Brothers got a proper rinsing.
Frank: Anything that was on cassette cause it got played in the car. Devo was the first band I ever really ‘got into’. After that it was Weather Report.
Is 2020 the weirdest year ever and can you pick out some good bits amongst all the mayhem?
Frank: Yeah, it is the weirdest year. On the bright side – I think the impact of this Coronavirus has overtly exposed a lot of serious inadequacies and hypocrisy in politics and the economy on a global scale, to say the least. There’s nowhere to hide it; we have to pay up and counter-weigh all the broken aspects of the system to make things work and it shows. Hopefully it’ll ignite a change for the better. Because I think people everywhere are beyond fed up with all the horseshit – we all share that in common, albeit with different agendas.
Jack: Frank put it really nicely. It’s definitely a catalyst of a year, I just hope things pick up in the right direction.
And assuming things revert to normal at some stage, what’s next for Leeches?
Frank: Who knows… I mean, beyond getting around to making that Jazz Fusion album we never completed… I don’t know.
Jack: We will be going under the new name of Scalping.
Easy is out now via Leisure Records, you can buy it here and watch the video for All of the People below.
Interview by Siobhan
Band photo © Rowan Allen
8th July 2020