At the end of 2014, Nottingham’s Lacey found themselves onstage in their hometown’s arena, opening up for James Blunt. Don’t hold that against them, though – the four-piece’s anthemic alternative rock much more resembles Jimmy Eat World than You’re Beautiful, but it wasn’t an opportunity they were going to pass up.
“To James Blunt’s credit,” chuckles singer and bassist Graham ‘Graz’ Turner, “he offered this fantastic thing where in every city he played on his UK tour, he got a local act to open for him. Which I think is absolutely brilliant. So we just thought, ‘Why not?’, put our material forward to the local paper and got shortlisted with four other bands. The five acts were taken to the JB, as his friends call him, and he picked us for whatever. We weren’t exactly going to say no to playing an arena. I appreciate there’s a stigma attached to James Blunt, but at the end of the day you can’t turn that down.”
The band formed in 2011 after the members decided they weren’t much cop at five-a-side football and should try being in a band instead. It was a wise decision, as much has happened Lacey in the months following that gig. The quartet – completed by guitarists Josh Lewin and Pete Maksymiw and drummer David Pearson – not only released their debut album, Under The Brightest Lights, in April 2015, but have already finished its follow-up EP, I Don’t Owe The World A Thing, and will support Bowling For Soup in the UK next month. It’s impressive momentum for a new band, and something they largely put down to their fanbase – they raised the funds to make the full-length through an inventive PledgeMusic campaign that got donors as involved in the album-making process as possible.
“We didn’t pull any punches,” says Turner. “We came straight out and said ‘We need your help. We can’t do this without you.’ The people who come see us week in week out are the reason we do this, and so we needed to get the people funding us as involved as possible in the album. People came down to the studio, people played on the album and came down for video hangs. We even sold a couple of dates with me. It was very much a conscious decision to put products on there so that people could come down and see the thing they were helping to create. We got one guy playing drums and another lad playing guitar – he rang out a chord on one of the last songs. With them putting so much into it, we needed to give something back. I really enjoyed it and the response that we had was incredible.”
As much of a boost as that was, and as compelling as record as it is, Lacey’s four members have already shifted their full attention to I Don’t Owe The World A Thing. It’s easy to hear why – its five emotive, anthemic songs are full of power and passion, heart and soul and could easily fill large arenas. That’s not to say they compromised themselves to achieve that sound. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“We made a conscious decision to write what we wanted to write – rather than what we felt we should be writing,” says Turner. “We wanted to get the sense that it was real, and I definitely feel like we captured that in these five tracks. We wanted to make sure that the next thing we put out was what we wanted to put out and how we wanted to sound. We’re happy with the album and we’re all really proud of it, but this EP is more what Lacey is about and what we want to be doing. When you believe in something that you’re writing, I think the results speak for themselves.”
I Don’t Owe The World A Thing will be released on February 5. For more tour dates, visit their Facebook page.