Playing House‘s wonky, hook-packed art-pop is a wonderful thing. East London trio Mel Patman, Killian McCorley and Izzy Cox are dab hands at dreaming up fidgety guitar-led gems and their most recent EP ‘Jocelyn’ is a stellar introduction, channelling late noughties indie with subtle nods to the likes of Talking Heads and Orange Juice. Ahead of gracing our night with Lost In The Manor at The Finsbury this Friday, we caught up with Playing House to get to know them a little better.
Your EP ‘Jocelyn’ is incredible. How did each of the tracks come about?
“As our second EP, we really wanted to see what we could do with our sound and the opportunity to work with one of our dream producers Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet) was just such a perfect fit. He really got what we wanted to do on this record and what we make as a band. We both love experimenting with pop music, so it was basically weeks of playing around with giant synths and talking.
‘Jocelyn’ was written when we were all going through some pretty rough times personally. I’d just lost someone in my family who I was really close to and I was going through a really fucking shit break up, similar things were also happening for the others at exactly the same time, all the while coinciding with so many new things happening to us as a band like going on tour together, making bigger records, playing to more people etc. It made us question everything around us and our identity and there were many nights of us sleeping on each other’s sofas/hanging out to get through it. It really got us thinking about loss/connection in all its forms, I guess, and how the impact of that never really changes. So we made a kind of euphoric break up record, not just with partners/people we’d lost but with ourselves I guess too. Each track speaks of periods in our lives so, ‘Jelly Legs’ was teenage us, ‘Missing’ was pretty accurate to the present and last track ‘Penmere’ was really us trying to move forward and be cool with it.”
How did Playing House start out?
“We’re all essentially writers, that’s our favourite thing to do. We all used to hang out writing songs together and experimenting with vibes and sounds and then we realised that as a three together we might actually have a sound/identity that feels quite unique. Our friend really believed in us and put on a big show for us to headline/launch, which we sold out and from there we just went for it. We’re all very sure about what we’re doing and very close to each other and we’re not really fussed about changing our sound or doing anything that isn’t right for us. I think that translates to people.”
What inspired your name?
“A lot of our songs talk about childhood, psychology, loss and all the anxious/fiddly/flawed bits of being a person. They’re a mix of quite difficult things that we’ve been through with the more mundane/strange things that we go through every day. It’s about people trying to be functioning/successful/whatever we’re all supposed to be whilst essentially being a wobbly mess.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“We’re really lucky to be coming up at a time when the scene is starting to get more varied and really honest, a lot of bands are just making whatever they want now and it gives us space to do that and make strange pop music that doesn’t necessarily fit in with what’s been happening the last couple of years. Methyl Ethel’s new record is insane so we’re big fans of them, and then Talking Heads, Passion Pit, Orange Juice, XTC, Everything Everything, Bowie are all huge influences on our sound.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
“Playing with Catholic Action at The Old Blue Last just after their single had been on BBC Radio 1 was insane, so sweaty. They’re great. Little Grim are our buddies and we love them, Palm Honey are great, Screaming Peaches are probably our favourite band in London.”
And finally, what does 2017 hold for Playing House?
“We had just finished touring ‘Jocelyn’ when we got invited to play the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds this August. BBC Introducing, especially BBC Introducing Norfolk (Izzy’s home town) and Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music) have hugely got behind the band in 2017, which has just been amazing. We’ll be playing Reading on the 26th August and Leeds on the 27th August at 6:30pm. It will be our biggest ever gig and is such a great way to celebrate the record. We’ll then be heading straight into the studio, as we’ve been working on a lot of stuff and making a lot of plans whilst promoting the record. 2018 is going to be pretty exciting. We might do a special show in London before the end of the year too.”