Exposure: Louise Against the Elements
Louise Against the Elements - Deja Vu
They may have already supported Duffy, but Louise Against the Elements aren't quite comparable to the uncomfortable squeak of the Welsh pixie. Instead it's the raw garage power of Courtney Love and fellow Glaswegian, Shirley Manson, that drives a band making a noise in as sassy and sexy way as possible. And though The Elements keep it altogether with homebrewed blues, it's front-woman Louise Reed whose prowl and purr gives this band an appeal beyond their peers. She may well turn out to be Glasgow's very own Debbie Harry, and she was all ours for Exposure.
How did you guys get together?
I've been singing in Glasgow for two or three years now, and I knew the guys from singing at nights like Sleazy's and Liquid Ship. You tend to see the same faces at these sort of things. They were a band that were in dire need of a singer, and I was a singer in dire need of a band, so we were made for each other! A couple of the guys were at Glasgow art school at the time, and they also recognised me because I did some nude modelling for the life drawing class. A bit embarrassing, but it certainly broke the ice. And no, I don't do that any more!
Female-fronted punk rock seems the obvious way to describe yourselves, but what do you make of your music?
The whole punk energy thing has been a surprise to us. It's just kind of developed through the natural excitement we build up at gigs: we have ragged edges and no fancy bits, and we just like to sound pretty garage-y. But I would say that we're making no-nonsense pop music first and foremost. Madonna is my idol there! Punk these days is just Iggy Pop selling car insurance, isnt it?
Glasgow's music scene seems incredibly vibrant at the moment. Are you guys finding it hard to stand out?
Oh definitely. There's just so many bands out there. Healthy competition is good, and you have to just hope that good music and charisma will stand out. Otherwise you're just relying on the novelty factor: like Lady GaGa straddling a paddling pool!
How communal is the music scene in Glasgow? And is it something you're proud to be part of?
It's so communal it's a bit of a free for all. There's never been an easier time to get involved in things. We've been lucky to play with a lot of bands with female members, like Zoey Van Goey, Pooch, Miss The Occupier and Popup, so we're proud to feel like part of another Glasgow clique.
You were pretty impressive when I saw you at King Tut's. What do you want a live show to achieve?
Just to be immediate and get a reaction. If I'm dancing and enjoying it, then I hope that others will too. Nothing beats a sweaty room with good loud music. Lately we've even been getting some audience participation: we have a big drum solo on Fortune Man that we all help out on, and we find the audience like to join in as well, so we encourage them by dishing out tambourines and cowbells so it turns into a mass drum orgy. We're kind of like the Pied Pipers of the Glasgow music scene!
What's the plan for the rest of 2009?
Our single Baby Blue, on Metropolicana, should be coming out in the next couple of months. That's quite exciting. Beyond that, we're just slowly moving up the food chain: getting in peoples' faces and getting noticed.
Are there dreams for the future?
Quit the day job and then start living out some rock'n'roll cliches. I want to have a cartoon series about me and maybe some Louise Against The Elements action figures. Then I want a rooftop concert before the band dissolves in a mess of legal disputes and musical differences.
What's been the best moment for LATE so far?
Meeting Terry Reid backstage at the ABC. He's one of my heroes and I think he was a bit taken aback because I was gibbering like a moron! But when we took to the stage we saw him dancing around down the front, bopping to Deja Vu. Vindicated! To be honest though, there's not much about being in a band thats not pretty good.
What's the nicest thing anyone's ever said about your music?
Someone said our live set sounded like a Greatest Hits set, which sums up how we want to sound. Every song can be a favourite for us on any given night. We don't aim to write b-sides or album tracks. Every time we choose a setlist, its like Sophie's Choice!
In five words, why should people listen to Louise Against the Elements?
We'll love you right back.
Louise Against the Elements play Glasgow, ABC 2 on May 28 and Glasgow, The V Club on Jun 4