Interview with Holly Ross from The Lovely Eggs

Based in Lancaster, Holly Ross and David Blackwell form the genre encompassing duo, The Lovely Eggs. From psychedelic to punk rock, The Lovely Eggs have incorporated elements from a range of musical categories to generate an eclectic environment of electrifying energy. On May 17th, their 7th studio album “Eggsistentialism” will be released followed by a 10 date tour across the UK. I had a chat with Holly Ross from the duo and we spoke about everything including these upcoming events and what life is like fighting for a cause you are passionate about.

I started by asking her about the upcoming studio record and asked her whether the approach to this one was different to the others. Holly began by saying, “I don’t think the approach has changed at all. I think we’re always trying to experiment and cover new ground, and we’re always trying to do something that’s new to us, that interests us. We never really like to make two records that sound the same, or that are coming from the same place“. She continued with, “I guess the approach to making the last three albums have changed because we were working with a producer now, Dave Fridmann, whereas before we just produced everything ourselves“. Aside from working with a new producer Holly said, “we still do everything the way we did our first album, which was just trying to be consumed in the music writing process, and let ourselves be surrounded and come up with different ideas, not be afraid to dive into unknown territory.

Almost all of” the songs on the upcoming album were written spontaneously. This includes ‘Memory Man‘ with its lyrics being written while Holly was in her car. She said “I feel like I’m a little bit of a receiver” and that she is “like a walkie talkie that’s been left on. Any ideas come through, I’m like ‘that’s an idea!’, they come through generally in life“. Holly continued on saying that for her, “it’s rare to sit down with a pen and go ‘okay I’m going to write a song now’, it never happens like that. A song just gets in your head and you just write it down really“.

Continuing on with the album, we discussed how “Eggsistentialism” has been described as “a hopeful record survival“. I was interested to know if Holly thought there was a song that summarised this description and she said “I think ‘I am Gaia’, maybe, the final track will sum that up“. In response to it being hopeful and with depictions of survival, Holly told me how “it’s been a pretty tough year which has embodied itself in our fight for the Lancaster Music Co-Op” which she said was “a music community rehearsal room and recording studio that me and David [Blackwell] are involved in“. She told me that “David has worked there for many years. Its non-profit and it’s just really cheap to use and hire“.

At times, in the last year, it almost felt like it was a fight to the death, we feel like it almost nearly killed us.”

The fight for the Lancaster Music Co-Op began because they “got evicted by the council from it five years ago and we’ve been trying to fight that, and secure our future there“. She added that the council “have not been great, to be fair. We’ve felt gaslit at times by the whole experience“. When I asked if this was still an ongoing fight, she said “yes and no. Until it’s back open, it’s not safe“. However there is progress as the duo are “managing a £1 million building project,” as “part of a team“. Holly further added that they are “bringing the building back to life under our own steam, which takes so much energy“.

We spoke about how important it is “not to let the Co-Op go,” and how “if we let that go, we let everything go because you let what it stands for go“. You also “let the working class musicians in Lancaster go by not having that resource,” and “the young punks who want somewhere to rehearse“. Holly expressed that the “sub-culture in Lancaster” is “so important to preserve” as well as “the independent free culture that, you know, the suits don’t like it but we’re here anyway“. On the topic of preservation, she added, “when you’re fighting to preserve something that’s really important to you, it does take it out of you“. Holly also pointed out that the previously mentioned track ‘I am Gaia‘, “reflects just being a woman and having a lot of shit on your plate really, and having to deal with that and fight for a right to survival but never giving in“.

That’s why we say it’s a hopeful record because despite having to walk through the shit, we will never give in. We’re hopefully walking in the right direction“. Holly explained that even though “the Co-op isn’t a music venue“, she emphasised that it is a “rehearsal space for bands, and a recording studio or bands“. If it “isn’t in Lancaster, there’s nowhere for bands to rehearse in the city“. Culturally, this would massively impact Lancaster and “the city’s music scene goes, alternative culture goes, the sub-culture goes“. Subsequently, Holly added that without the Co-op, “you’re just left with a music scene” that is “culturally evacuate“. She continued stating, “you’ve just got a bunch of middle-aged men who can afford to live in big houses who can afford to play in local pubs and stuff“. There was emphasis on giving “access to those spaces to young people, to people who are on low incomes, so they get out there and form a rock and roll band“.

Fighting so hard for a cause like this takes its toll, something Holly and David know all too well. “At times, in the last year, it almost felt like it was a fight to the death, we feel like it almost nearly killed us. The amount of work that it took, and the psychological pressure that we felt trying to save it, it’s much more hard than it never needed to have been. But that’s Lancaster City Council for you“.

I pointed out that barely any towns or cities have easily accessible spaces for bands or artists to just jam out. “That’s exactly it,” Holly agreed, “when I first started, I was in a band when I was 15. I first went to the Music Co-op and I din’t have a clue about music… I didn’t really know much about amps or dum kits, and I certainly didn’t own my own amp, you know?” She explained that in the Co-Op, “you can hire a drum kit for a couple of quid, and you can hire an amp for a quid, and things like that are accessible for people. We’re really passionate about that, because we don’t come from a background of wealth, but we managed to pay the bills and live a life where we’re full-time working musicians“. Holly said that through this resource, they were able to “become a band. We want that to be for other people as well in the future“.

In addition to the Music Co-Op, The Lovely Eggs was born through “experimentation in sound and having no rules” as well as trial and error. Holly said that “when we were first starting, we just wanted to be really experimental so I guess we were looking to bands like Red Krayola and stuff like that“. The Lovely Eggs are “certainly not conventional,” but they’ve “always loved bands like The Velvet Underground who were coming from the potentially more art side of it, which is not just about the sound, but it’s also about the visuals and everything. That’s always been really important to us as a band, how the records look as well as they sound“.

However, while ever band will have been inspired and/or influenced by other creatives, Holly said “I think it’s really important, actually, to try and stand on your own and not be too influenced by other people, because you’ll just sound like them otherwise“. She pointed out that “the world has already got those in it…those great bands. I think it’s fine to be inspired by them but not to try and create music like them“. Other bands that the duo are into include “Sonic Youth, we really like a lot of psychedelic music. We like a lot of heavy music, we like Black Sabbath. Does that come out in The Lovely Eggs’ sound? I don’t know, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t“.

Quickly returning to “Eggsistentialism” and the tracklist, I asked Holly if there were any songs she was especially excited for people to listen to and/or hear live. “It will be interesting to play” one of their recent singles “called ‘Nothing, Everything’. It’s the longest song we’ve ever written…it’s 7 minutes and 2 seconds long. We’re pretty excited to be playing that live and we’re quite interested to see what people think of it because it’s…not a new sound for us at all but I guess it sounds different to our other stuff. It’s a song that we’re really into and we really like“.

Scotland and our culture concluded the interview. We spoke about the live dates and any she was particularly excited to visit or re-visit. She said that “Edinburgh and Glasgow are always brilliant, we love it.” Previously, The Lovely Eggs “played Stereo a couple of times. Then we played the Mash House a couple of times in Edinburgh, the last two or three times we played Mash House. It’s a different venue this time in both cities“. This is partially because “they’re the first dates on the tour,” and “we love Scotland, it’s got a big place in my heart“.

Holly mentioned that her “dad was Scottish, so I always love going back“. When I asked where about he was from in Scotland, she said “a really little area, Newtongrange was the town he was from, it’s near Dalkeith outside Edinburgh“. Reminiscing, she reflected that she “used to go every school holiday. My dad used to drag me up to Dalkeith and I loved it!” Holly further added, “him, my mum and me would all go on holiday to sunny Scotland every year. I love the people…I’m still in touch with all of my dad’s friends. My dad sadly died 25 years ago but I’m still in touch with all of my dad’s old friends.” She emphasised that “it’s really important to me, they’re like family to me up there. I think when Scots come to England…they’re really proud of their culture and rightly so. I find that my Dad brought me up to be a proud Scotswoman. Even though I live in England, I’m fiercely Scottish which is weird“.

Absolutely check out The Lovely Eggs‘ tour dates for a show in a city near you. With music covering a wide range of styles and incorporating different inspirations, there’s bound to be a song for everyone. Check out the Instagram post below for more information.