Lazy Day's 'Letters' EP Is a Burst of Honest, Confident British Rock

Stream the London band's five track release here, ahead of its official drop this Friday 22 March.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
lazyday
Image via PR

Tilly Scantlebury has some things to say to some people. In fact, I’ll be exact: she’s got five things to say, to five different people. This is the concept that informs Letters, the new EP by Scantlebury’s band Lazy Day. Every track on the release functions as a sort of aural letter to someone in her life, carrying the simultaneous fragility and weight of true feelings scribbled down in biro, and stuffed in an envelope with a hasty kiss.

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As a whole entity, Letters is a flag stamped forcefully in the fertile ground of contemporary British rock – an exciting, cohesive statement of a self and its necessary relationships to others. And even though technically it’s out on Friday (22 March), on Lazy Day’s own label, Weird Cool Records, we’re streaming it below right now.

Over email, Tilly talks me through the process of constructing her letters; indeed the fact that this is what she was doing dawned on her late, as she worked on finishing the EP. “After everything was written and recorded, I realised the significance of each song being about a particular person and my relationship with them,” she tells me. “The idea of the EP being made up of letters works for me on another level too – letters are something that in the end you send off. Letters leave you because they're for other people, and that's what this EP feels like to me.”

It’s true that there’s an inherent generosity to Letters. Tilly’s songwriting style has a hooky momentum, and, as such, all five of these tracks are welcoming and accessible. The band know their way around an earworm – the first track on Letters, “Double j” has been popping wheelies around my head for weeks – but never sacrifice complex emotionality, as we hear on the bombastic “Mumma.”

On “Tell Me,” things are a little more subdued, as the pained, rich singing takes the lead (Tilly’s reedy voice is really reminiscent of Lindsay Jordan’s live vocal), and finisher “Mostly Me” is a crowd singalong in-waiting. With an arsenal of songs as ambitious as these up her sleeve, I’m curious as to what Tilly believes is most crucial to writing lines and melodies that people will remember, and hopefully love.

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“Even though I still write in my bedroom, I'm often thinking about what it might feel like to play live: like when I get to play the solo in “Double j” or sing the double chorus at the end of “Mumma” in a bit of a frenzy, or the really lonely and sad parts in 'Mostly Me' - I'm like, 'Ah yes, this is what it's all about,'” she says. “So the secret is that there's no secret other than to maybe love doing it."

Tilly also notes that her enthusiasm for playing with a full band (she’s joined in Lazy Day by Beni Evans on drums, Liam Hoflay on lead guitar and Kris Lavin on bass) has also changed the way she writes songs for the better. This emphasis on the communal seems to be a running thread through her endeavours: she makes music in Lazy Day alongside writing a PhD about representations of queer families and communities in art. This, as well as “thinking and living queerly” herself, informs much of Lazy Day.

“Being a member of the community means its important that I express myself authentically, whether it's talking about my queerness in interviews (like now!) or connecting with people at the shows, or even when I use gendered pronouns in my lyrics,” Tilly explains. “But more broadly I think the politics of being queer helps me to talk more openly about all the different relationships in my life.”

It’s important that perspectives like Tilly’s – as a queer woman – filter through in rock music, which can skew male and heteronormative. This is happening more and more (and should be normalised rather than sensationalised by the music press), but as we see over again, festival lineups exclude women and non binary people in favour of male-dominated acts, and the male-heavy coteries which gatekeep rock scenes can be alienating.

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So it’s especially exciting that Letters was recorded with the help of ReBalance, a campaign by Festival Republic and PRS Foundation which seeks to promote women and non-binary people in the music industry, by assisting female musicians with recording and production fees, and guaranteeing them spots on lineups – it’s heartening to see the results of this work manifest so brilliantly.

Of her involvement with ReBalance, Tilly says, “Lots of amazing stuff has happened because of ReBalance, but one of the best things was giving me the studio time working with Steph Marziano who produced three of the songs on the EP (“Double j,” “Mumma,” and “Tell Me.”) Working with Steph in such a tight and focused way gave me a big sense of purpose, and having ReBalance and Steph on my side made me feel a lot more confident about it all.”

This confidence is something that leaks out of the very pores of Letters: it’s an assured EP which knows how it feels, what it thinks, and who it’s talking to. If you’re to take anything away from listening to it, Tilly would like it to be this forthright attitude: “I mostly hope this EP makes people feel good,” she writes. “But I also hope it gives them a bit of confidence – to say what they want to say, to the people that they need to say it to.”

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Lazy Day tour the UK and Europe throughout 2019

26 Mar | Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
27 Mar | Leeds, UK @ Headrow House
28 Mar | London, UK @ Oslo
29 Mar | Bristol, UK @ Rough Trade
2 Apr | Hamburg, DE @ Turmzimmer
3 Apr | Berlin, DE @ Privatclub
4 Apr | Munich, DE @ Zehner
5 Apr | Dusseldorf, DE @ Zakk
6 Apr | Brussels, BE @ Volta Club
4 May | Liverpool, UK @ Sound City

Pre-order Letters here. You can find Lauren on Twitter.