Interview: Loz Campbell

West Yorkshire-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, front-woman, biker, Loz Campbell has just released her belting new single ‘Bad Girl’, and Wakefield’s finest was on hand to talk to us about the single as well as what fans can expect once the live dates kick back in very shortly. Connect with Loz, below…

New single ‘Bad Girl’ is a bit of a banger, isn’t it! It also seems quite a personal song, you are not singing about a fictional character, you are singing about yourself…

Yes, it’s literally “I’m a bad girl”, not “she’s a bad girl”! But I always write like that, a lot of my songs are how I feel at that time. But as you said, how I put it across is quite personal because the emphasis is on me, and I quite like that because it is very much in your face.

Definitely, with a lyric like “please don’t make my heart crack”, that’s you talking about yourself…

It’s the alter-ego of myself, it’s the “stage” Loz, and that section you’ve mentioned; “please don’t make my heart crack”, that’s the “real” me saying I’m not hard and tough all the time…

As fans of music, we often build up an image in our head of what a musician is like based on their stage persona, but very often in real life, they are nothing like that person offstage…

Yes, totally, it’s acting really, a lot of people that I’ve spoken to say that I leave my ego onstage, and sometimes that is hard because it’s like a little suit of armour that you put on and sometimes you don’t want to take it off.

To be honest, coming from Wakefield you would probably get slapped if you behaved like a rockstar offstage!

[Laughs] Yes! Well, there are many a story of me nearly being decked on a night out in Wakefield…so, yes! Maybe I need to learn to step out of it a bit more!

Maybe, yes! Now, the video for ‘Bad Girl’ has quite a cool concept, who came up with the concept?

The initial storyboard was my idea but I do work very closely with Fly Girl Films and we had numerous meetings before we shot the video. I put some of my ideas to them, and they suggested some things, for example, the kissing scene; we had to be really careful how we put that across because it could have been too much and put across the wrong sort of message. But I think that during moments like that, I have them there to guide me. They are some of my closest friends, and we have done five or six videos together now, I talk to them on a daily basis and I totally trust their ideas. Even on the day of filming we were still bouncing ideas back and forth, I thought it would be a really cool idea if we had people standing around like a bar scene, or a car meet kind of thing, and Amy actually climbed up on top of these ladders and shot from the ceiling to actually get everyone in. I’ve just actually put a behind-the-scenes video out to show how the whole thing was made, so check it out!

One of the overriding positive aspects about coming out of the lockdown is that artists such as yourself are back providing work to other artists; video creators, make-up artists, etc, and on your website, you have a really cool custom-designed t-shirt for sale…it must be quite pleasing that you can finally help other creative artists out like this again?

Totally, and I want to give a shout-out to the lady that designed that shirt, she’s called Rosie and it’s been years since she did the last cartoon version of me, so like you said…it’s lovely to get back working with other people again. Everybody is just…buzzing to be back out there, to be honest with you. And I think that we will forever value what we do because I think that a lot of us [musicians] were getting tired, and I was often saying that the music scene could do with a bit of a reset, well, we just got it! And I take my hat off to all the bands that made it through this because it is difficult.

‘Bad Girl’ comes a year or so after ‘What Are You Doing It For’, and prior to that was ‘Back Biting The Bullet’, in what areas do you see growth in yourself as an artist over the years? For instance, do you see growth in your songwriting? Your playing?

Yes, 100%. I think when you are talking about ‘Back Biting The Bullet’, you can hear things – and I do this sometimes, play songs back-to-back so that I can hear things because sometimes when you are playing, it’s quite hard for you to hear it – that if I was to record that song today, then there are things that I would do differently because of the experience that I now have. I was probably about eighteen years old when I recorded that one, so now that I have a few more years’ experience under my belt…I reckon that could be even beefier than it is now. There is definitely growth between those three, my producer said when we were recording ‘Bad Girl’; “You are playing stuff that would have had you tearing your hair out years ago, and you’ve just done it”…and that’s just down to maturity. I used to be a bit of a stress head, the pressure is on you once that red light goes on in the studio and you are thinking…” Christ, this is costing me a fortune so I need to get this right”. It is a lot of pressure, especially in your teenage years. But now I feel that I am more comfortable, and I feel that I’ve grown technically, and I want to continue to do that. You can never stop learning. Be more technical. Both myself and Tom [Tom Kirby], the drummer – he’s quite technical – want to get more technical and we sometimes say “ What will be playing by the time that we are thirty?!” It’s exciting to think about what we will be playing.

How long have you, Tom, and Steve [Steve Pickles, bass] been together as a trio?

Tom has been with me for just over two years now. Covid hit when we had done maybe ten shows together? But Steve has only been with us since November 2021, so he’s fairly new, and we have Alice [Alice ABomb] joining us on rhythm guitar for some of the live dates…so she will add a bit of oomph!

Two guitarists on stage always make for a bigger sound, have you tried out any of the set with two guitarists?

We have had a few rehearsals, and some of the older songs, for example, ‘Plenty Of Fools’, there is not much guitar on that, so some of the times we have written new parts, or Alice is just backing me up as I go into a solo. The newer tracks; ‘Bullet’, ‘What Are You Doing It For’, ‘Bad Girl’, there are layers of guitar there and I’ve said to Alice “I can never play this bit live because I don’t have somebody else with me”, but now that I have her, I can say “You do that bit, and I’ll do this”, and like I said, it will add a bit of beef! And it will be fun as well having another girl on the road.

I’ll tell you something: you have to work really hard as a trio! You have to work hard to fill the sound, and there is no hiding because if I drop out for whatever reason, it is literally just bass and drums. No place to hide. But, yeah, I’m hoping that this will make us bigger and better!

Have the rehearsals produced any new music?

Alice is based down south so it’s just been video calls at the moment, but we are going into the studio in a matter of weeks so we will all be together then. But, saying that, usually I do all the writing and then take it to Tom and we glue some stuff together…so, we have some songs that are part way there.

The next headline gig is at Zeros Bar in Stalybridge, on April 23rd…

We love that venue…it has an orangutan sitting on the side of the stage! And it dresses up as well! We played there at Halloween and he had his outfit on. We’ve got Fox Palmer supporting us on that one. So it’s going to be a good one.

There might not be any orangutans featuring on the co-headline tour with Firekind scheduled for this summer, but what can anyone savvy enough to buy a ticket expect from the gigs?

First of all, can we just say that all of us that are going on that tour are very good-looking people, I will say that! So you are going to get a little bit of eye candy! [laughs]…I’m joking, right!

FirekindIt’s true though! Those Firekind boys are good-looking fellas!

Yep! Totally look like they have just walked off a catwalk! [laughs] Looks aside, let’s move on as it’s all about the music! First of all, when I first saw Firekind’s set I was blown away by the guitar sound. The wailing in between the songs…I just love that! So I am really looking forward to catching Firekind myself. Personally, for us, it’s going to be a totally brand new set. We have really worked hard to make it bigger and better, really in-your-face, and also we will have Alice with us so that will be something new for anyone who has seen us before. She’ll be running around like a maniac because she plays wireless and likes to play on top of bars, so yeah, a bit of in-your-face rock n’ roll.

If rock n’ roll is not in-your-face, is it really rock n’ roll?! Going back to the beginning; what made you first pick up the guitar?

It had been building for a while because, at the time, I was playing the flute…and listening to grunge music. I used to go to a music school and I would go into the orchestra room on a Saturday morning and right next door…there was the guitar ensemble. I used to peek through the glass in the door and think…” Oh, that sounds really good, I wish I could join in”…and one day I think I just walked into the room and the lovely Miss Webster – shout-out because she was an awesome guitar teacher – was just sitting there with her long curly hair all the way down and I just said, “ Please can I join your class!”. There was a certain passion in that guitar room, and people really enjoyed it, whereas the orchestra room was very strict and that’s not really me…I don’t like following rules! Strangely enough, from there, I started playing grunge music and then got into classical music through that group! I’ve got a lot to thank that music school for.

So you are a guitarist that sings, rather than a singer that also plays the guitar?

Correct! It was always about playing the guitar…I never wanted to sing!

Fender or Gibson? Or is it neither and go with something else?

Right, okay! So this is something that I have been contemplating: “What guitar should I take on tour?” At the minute I am using my Gibson, and my PRS…but, for the tour, I was thinking that I might as well bring all three out with me…so you probably will see Gibson, PRS, and Fender. Can’t leave one behind!

While we are on the subject of guitars – and some guitarists have refused to answer this question and pleaded the Fifth instead – what famous guitarist do you just not get?

Oh dear God!

Some of the answers have been: Brian May, David Gilmour, and the number one choice seems to be John Frusciante of the Chilli Peppers…

Really? I’m not going to say him purely because some of the things that he does are quite technical. Some of them do get your fingers in a bit of a twist, so I wouldn’t like to say him…but I understand why people have chosen him because he’s not like a shredder or anything like that. He’s definitely come up with some funky stuff and you can’t deny that. This is a very unpopular opinion, but I am not a fan of Queen. So, yeah, I know that you’ve said his name already but I’m going to have to go with Brian May! I’m sorry, I’m really sorry!

You are not the only one to pick Brian May so panic over…

Thank God for that!

Lastly, where does your love of motorbikes come from?

My family are bikers so I’ve always been around bikes since my early teens. When you are younger, people always ask you if you are going to get your own bike one day…and that just plants the seed. You come of age, take the test, and all of a sudden you have your own bike. I love it…there is a certain sense of freedom, and when I’m on the bike I don’t think about anything else….because if you do, you are either going to crash or end up doing something silly. It’s probably the only thing in my life that I get a total release from doing because even with music you are onstage thinking “ Oh my God, THAT bit is coming up” or “ Christ, I hope that I haven’t kicked my pedal over to the other side of the stage”. Everything goes through your brain…” Have I remembered the lyrics?”, whereas with the bike it is a total reset.

 

Interview – Dave

All Loz images – Ron Blackham – Blackham Images

Firekind live image – Rob Wilkins

Connect with Loz, here.

Firekind & Loz Campbell co-headline tour dates:

July 3 – Glasgow – Nice N Sleazy

July 4 – Newcastle – Trillians*

July 5 – Liverpool – Jacaranda Club

July 6 – York – Victoria Vaults**

July 7 – Chesterfield – County Music Bar

July 8 – Birmingham – Asylum 2

 

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