If you’ve found your way onto a sticky club floor lately, it’s likely you’re already familiar with LOWES – if you’re not yet acquainted with the three faces behind the music, you’ll probably recognise one of their various dance collaborations which have seen them touch hands with some of the biggest names in the business. The band may have now made their presence known, but their beginning was far away from these dizzying heights.
Now seven years deep into their journey, vocalist Evie Plumb and producers/multi-instrumentalists Jamie Walker and Luke Paget first started messing around with demos before they’d even come up with a name for themselves; the success of ‘Awake At Night’ soon spurred on a bit of forward action. “We weren’t even a band yet, we had a SoundCloud account and we were writing just for the sake of writing,” Evie recalls. “We put that song out expecting nothing more than our mums sharing it with each other, but we woke up the next day to an inbox full of industry people. Absolute lunacy. We very rapidly started taking things a bit more seriously.”
12 months, a record deal and a published track later, LOWES were well on their way – but they still hadn’t established a fan base to call their own. After touring the country with peers and making many a festival appearance, this Lancaster trio are now about to embark on their first ever run of headline shows. As the singer puts it herself, “this debut tour is a big moment for us. We’re finally at the point where we can carry an audience on our own without needing those big collab names bolstering us up. This is the first time that we’re hitting the road as our own thing.”
Although COVID temporarily put a stopper on the live translation of their studio successes, Jamie shares that, “putting material out under our own name and our name alone feels like a fresh start. We’re starting to find our own way and it’s a really enjoyable and exciting process.” Working with high-profile artists can certainly help to establish a name, but for self-development purposes, it’s also necessary to be able to reign it in and focus eyes inward. “When those opportunities came up, it was a springboard to bring awareness to the band but it turned into a year and a half long chapter of relentless collaboration,” Evie admits. “We went with the tide when the momentum was building, but coming back to our own stuff has always been in our minds and felt natural and comforting, doing stuff that’s totally us and totally un-compromised.”
Subfocus x Lowes – Don’t Want To Come Down
“It has been a bit of a journey discovering what the LOWES sound is,” Jamie adds, and that much is clear by now; the trio have dropped clubby tunes like ‘Lucid Love’, piano ballads à la ‘Where Did You Go?’ and pop-oriented tracks like ‘Late Night Visions’ – they’re clearly open to genre-hopping. “I don’t think we 100% know what it is,” he continues, “but that’s a good thing. We have a few underlying principles within our writing like big, anthemic sounds and high energy, but it’s best to not overthink it.”
Far from getting lost in the process, LOWES have developed a few methods of finding and defining their own success. The band know they’ve got a great tune when it, “gives me the feels even after 20 million listens,” Evie declares. “After recording, producing and mixing, if it still gives you that excitement and tingle of possibility… it should never become passive to you, it’s got to consistently stir some sort of emotion.”
That indefinable but ever sought after feeling is one that tends to make itself known early in the process, Jamie thinks: “when the skeleton of the lyrics, melodies and overall arrangements are there, you can pretty quickly tell if it works or not. The deeper you get the more easily you can lose sight of that. You can over listen to something and second guess yourself, but that special feeling early on is what’s important to remind yourself of.”
LOWES – Game of Love
So, you’ve got a banging dancefloor filler – now you’ve got to play it live. Translating this style of music, often infused with unnatural, dynamic electronic textures, to the stage is going to be a challenge, but one that pays off if you nail it and deliver that energy to your audience.
“I love dance music but perhaps my one peeve with it is that at a gig, I want something to watch,” Evie notes, clearly craving that element of human connection. “The level of risk that comes with a live performance just isn’t there as much with a DJ set alone. To deliver the sonic and put on a show has been our goal from day one so I’m often dancing around at the front like an idiot, trying to lead the way, rile a crowd up and get them involved – if you don’t, no one else will loosen up enough to have a good time.”
It’s even easier to hop on board and have an impromptu boogie when the spirit in the room feels familiar, intuitive and unforced; for LOWES, hitting the road with their best pals is a key factor in enabling that spontaneity. Not only are Evie, Jamie and Luke close mates themselves – after ten years, there’s not much they don’t know about each other – they also make sure to tap their friends in behind the scenes.
“Our touring party is quite special in that we’ve all been friends and worked together through various different projects,” Jamie elaborates. “We have a strong community of people that we trust and it feels like a group of friends hitting the road. It’s important to us to build a comradery where people will go above and beyond, which only happens when individuals care in a personal way.”
That visible chemistry inevitably helps purvey the meanings of Evie’s words as well as emphasise the lively production of the show, and the LOWES discography clearly possesses the power to hit more profoundly than your average club hit. Recent single ‘Bloodstream’ is one example, balancing light against darkness to unveil an intriguing contrast bubbling under the surface.
“It parallels addiction and the physical manifestations of being perpetually drawn towards something,” Evie reveals of the lyrical underbelly. “You can quite easily become addicted to something, or usually someone, that isn’t good for you. It might still give you a buzz, it isn’t always 100% bad, but it’s vital to be aware when that’s happening to you because it can make you feel completely powerless.”
LOWES – Bloodstream
Such a strong message is bound to have a positive impact on a younger demographic, but Jamie is quick to clarify that sometimes a lack of specifics can inspire a perception of self-discovery which will only increase a song’s potency: “it’s great to create a story or conjure up some imagery in lyrics and be clear in that way, but when its open to interpretation and every listener can find their own meaning in it, that’s when a song can provide broader and deeper appeal. You don’t want to be overtly literal all the time and spell out every emotion, experiencing it in the moment can be even more powerful.”
With an audience that’s growing by the day, LOWES have hope that other groups of mates can find inspiration to accomplish the same feats they’ve achieved, stating that a little bit of confidence can go a long way. “Back yourself,” Jamie commands. “Signed bands, unsigned band, anyone making music – there’s always going to be opinions coming in from other people. At the end of the day, you are the best judge of your own output. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed too much, believe in your own ability and decisions. Go with your gut.” Evie continues the hype train: “be creatively fearless, never be afraid to get things wrong. Trust that everyone doing a job in the industry has had to learn to do that, so you can learn to do it as well. Not that you should do everything yourself, but don’t take what people can do at face value.”
Although they have may wished to hear this encouragement themselves, LOWES have come to learn that there’s no hidden life hack that will provide the answers, you have to find the lessons in music – and indeed life – yourself. “If anyone ever tells you that you have to do x, y and z to become successful… it doesn’t work like that. If we all knew how to write the perfect song and run the perfect social media campaign, we’d all be playing Wembley. That’s the cool thing about music, you can’t foresee or plan for every aspect of it.”
Ideas, strategies and plans are constantly changing, but LOWES are adamant that their new longer form project will drop in the imminent future. “It’s sonically cohesive with a couple of curveballs – more high energy, big choruses, and a few twists and turns along the way,” Evie teases. “We’ve already released two songs this year which are set to feature on the EP, and there’s a live favourite called ‘Contagious’ which will be coming soon too.” Get down to a show and preview what is soon to come.
You can see LOWES in Newcastle on June 23rd at Zerox.
Tickets available here on shingigs.co.uk