Hull might not be the natural place that springs to mind when you picture the UK’s flourishing underground scene, but post-punk four-piece Lumer think that’s where you’re going wrong. Part of a growing movement coming out of this year’s official city of culture, Lumer are following in the footsteps of local examples Vulgarians and LIFE in breaking out into the national consciousness, using their frantic and dark sound to showcase of the vital and diverse rock music coming from the city right now.
Below, we catch up with guitarist Ben Evans to find out more about the band, their new single Gruel, and what they have lined up for next.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
”[We’re] made up of Alex Evans, Ben Jackson, Jacob Wardle and Thom Foster. Alex handles bass and vocals, Ben plays guitar, Jacob hits the drums and Thom’s on the synth.”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
“Myself (Ben), Jacob and Thom have been friends for years through school, though we never played music together. It wasn’t until Jacob and I started college, and we met Alex, [that] we started jamming as a means to dodge lessons. Before long we had a band. Funnily enough it was Thom who booked us for our first gig, he joined us on the keys about 8 months later.”
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
“We all have really varied music tastes, which has influenced us all differently. From the start one band we were all really into was Eagulls, as well as a lot of local influences such as Vulgarians, Cannibal Animal and No Nothings (Hull has a great, often overlooked alternative scene). As we developed we started getting into more post-punk and gothic bands, such as Joy Division and Bauhaus as well as more contemporary bands like Preoccupations, Protomartyr, Bad Breeding and Metz.”
You’re from Hull. Can you tell us a little about the underground music scene in your city at the moment?
“The underground scene is really kicking off in Hull at the minute, with bands like Vulgarians and LIFE killing it across the country, leading the way for a lot of really strong bands coming out Hull. With regular gigs at The Adelphi and also The Sesh, which is a weekly band night every Tuesday, there’s a really strong platform for bands in Hull to work from, as well as bands from out of town coming in to play shows and seeing first-hand how strong the scene is.”
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
“Dark. Aggressive. Loud.”
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
“I’m not too sure how ‘special’ we are really, we all listen to such varied music which forms a bit of a genre melting pot which has become our sound. I think what has [helped] us the most, though, is our collective desire and drive to push ourselves. There isn’t really a day [that] goes by that we aren’t trying book tour dates or studio time. If [we’re] not booking for ourselves, then we’ll be planning shows that we promote in Hull under [the name] Too Fast Promo.”
What’s the story behind the new single Gruel?
“Gruel was a long process. [It] was written around a bit of an odd time as a band and is rather a long story. It started being written a long time ago before being scrapped not that long after. Then one week when Alex was on holiday, me and Jake got in our practice room every day just trying to write, bearing in mind our practice space at the time was a really damp, badly-lit basement in a warehouse in Hull. We ended up rewriting Gruel from its previous form. We then played it as it was for a month or so. We came close to breaking up, as Alex has decided to go to university, but we got through the back of that and resulted in adding Thom to the band, adding a great new dimension to our sound. By this time we had been kicked out of [the] practice room for holding a DIY show in there. We moved into a new room with Vulgarians and rewrote Gruel once more. This is as Gruel is now; it’s a product of both our surroundings and also the amount of change that the band was going through at the time. It was sort of a turning point for us as a band and our sound.”
What drew you to the themes you cover in the song?
“Alex’s lyrics are all very personal and to be completely honest I’m not sure what caused him to write the lyrics around the themes covered.”
The video’s pretty dark. What’s going on, and how did you come up with the concept? How much is it meant to bring to mind Don’t Look Now?!
“I haven’t actually seen Don’t Look Now, but now I really want to see it. But we always thought the song is the kind of song that should be in a horror movie, it just sounds evil, and from first mentioning a music video we were all on the same page that we wanted to go for a horror movie-esque style.”
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from filming the video?
“Probably the funniest thing to happen was watching Ben (the actor in the video) who’s our close friend, fall flat on his face on camera whilst filming a shot when he tripped over a piece of wood, not the most exciting story but it was fucking hilarious.”
Is there any other new music to look forward to?
“Our next single, Homicide, is set to be released in the coming months, [and was] recorded alongside Gruel at The Nave with Alex Greaves.”
What do you hope people will take away from the single, and your music in general?
“I think collectively we just want to write interesting music, and put on a show in our live performances, give people a real spectacle, and when listening to us on record we want to give people the feeling we get when we hear the bands we love.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
“I’d say the highlight was playing Radio One’s Big Weekend, it was something that around a year-and-a-half ago when we formed we never could have imagined. It was an incredible experience and one I’m sure we’ll all hold close as our first and hopefully not last major festival. But other than that, when Thom joined. He’s just great.”
Do you have any summer dates/tour lined up?
12 Jul: The Washington, Sheffield, UK
13 Jul: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, UK
14 Jul: Globe, Brighton, UK
15 Jul: Strong Island Records Beach Ball at the Wave Maiden, Portsmouth, UK
20 Jul: Fuel Café, Manchester, UK
21 Jul: Rough Trade, Nottingham, UK
22 Jul: Shacklewell Arms, London, UK
23 Jul: Tramlines Festival, Sheffield, UK
5 Aug: BBC Introducing stage at the Humberside Street Sesh, Hull, UK
8 Aug: Huw Stephens presents at The Social, London, UK
What do you have planned for next?
“We’re planning for a tour in October, and hoping to get back in the studio soon.”