I’m hanging around in London’s legendary venue Nambucca for This Feeling’s Big in 2018 show. I’ve just finished talking to Anteros (link at bottom) and managed to get some lunch before I find Calva Louise setting up their soundcheck. I always find it interesting to watch soundcheck, particularly with a band like this. Once they step off the stage and pack up their stuff we walk down to the green room – basically a glorified cellar.
For anyone unaware, Calva Louise are the three-piece of indie darlings from London who’ve been tearing up the indie scene lately. With two singles released, you might think it’ll be hard to really get into them. You’d be wrong. Their debut single ‘I’m Gonna Do Well’ is a masterpiece of modern grungy indie rock filled with pure power. The follow-up single ‘Getting Closer’ takes a funkier look into indie rock but with a mighty precision that can only be performed by this group.
“If you think about it, we don’t know, death could be harder than life,” says Jess, the bands’ guitarist and lead singer.
Somehow before we’ve gone into details about the band, we’ve stumbled onto some sort of conversation about death. Jess seemed like a big advocate for living life without regrets, but she didn’t half make it sound morbid by accident. We finally manage to start talking about Calva Louise and conversations about death died down.
“Today is exciting. It’s our first gig of the year and we’ve been informed its sold out which is mental,” says Ben, the band’s drummer.
Like many of the bands as these shows this group in particular have garnered a small following and with so much potential its clear to see why they’e chosen as ones to watch in the year to come. This doesn’t stop it from being a shock for the band though: “Its always a surprise, like ‘oh yeah people are coming to our shows,” says Jess.
Bassist, Alizon adds: “You never know what to expect when you do a show, you know we just do us. We’re always grateful to anyone that shows up.”
With such good reception to the previous two singles and a growing fanbase, Calva Louise are well on their way to being what could be described as successful, depending on your definition of success.
“It’s always amazing when we’re playing and we recognise people in the crowd that have been at a previous show you know like ‘oh you came back!’ which I guess means they liked us,” says Ben laughing.
“There was a cool coincidence when a friend of ours was in an Uber and heard our track so she recorded it and sent it to Margo the producer, who then sent it to us, and we were amazed like ‘we’re on radio 1!’ and the same night we were played on Radio X. We never thought that would happen. Especially not yet,” explains Jess.
I asked the band if they listened in: “We don’t really have a good enough car to get the radio!” Laughs Ben. At this point Lucie Barat, the first act of the night, walks in and we have a quick chat with her before getting back to the interview.
There are many things you can say about Calva Louise, one of those being that they gig almost constantly. With this night up and coming, Jess tells me about their future plans for gigs: “We’re supporting Tigercub at Scala and then going on tour with Spring King. Later on in the year we also have a tour with This Feeling.”
Like me, you’re probably hooked on Calva Louise’s music by now, if not then go listen right now and come back to this after. Now, you’re probably pining after new music from them. With ‘Getting Closer’ released in November it’s been a little while and fans are absolutely itching to hear new material outside of gigs.
“We’ve recorded two tracks that just haven’t been mixed, one we’re playing tonight called ‘Outrageous’ and the other is ‘Wondertale’. It’s quite like ‘I’m Gonna Do Well’ like grungy and urgh. We also have a video coming for ‘I’m Gonna Do Well’ but I guess it’s under the radar.” says Jess excitedly.
Ben manages to jump in with the very valid point: “well not under the radar anymore.”
Jess reacts with: “No well, we haven’t had anyone ask us so there’s been no reason to talk about it yet.”
Take it from me, after hearing ‘Outrageous’ at the show, we’ve all got something to be extremely excited about. At this point we move onto far more casual chatting at this point speaking about various musical interests, different news in the music world and I got to ask them my two favourite questions.
“If you had to choose an ultimate outfit for on stage what would it be?”
Jess: “Velvet everything.”
Alizon: “A big shiny pink costume, pink and glitter.”
Ben: “I’d like to see how far through a set we could get in inflatable T-Rex costumes, I don’t think we’d get through one song but worth it.”
And finally, the question that stumps everyone for at least a few hours: “What’s the best first song on a first album?”
With discussions of Refused’s “Shape of Punk to Come” and other tracks, the band eventually got back to me with a combo of Pixies “Bone Machine” and The Strokes “Is This It”. Two extremely good choices.
This powerhouse of a three-piece went on to perform an absolutely incredible set, one guy told me he travelled three hours just for Calva Louise. The unheard material is amazing, the previous releases sound incredible live, and the band are one of the most on point groups I’ve seen. Extremely entertaining, great music, and interesting conversations about death. Thanks Calva Louise!
At This Feelings Big In 2018 line up, we also interviewed Anteros! Check out the full interview here.