“London is very like that,” says frontman Finn Sedas, “but you’ve got to expect it. Friends of ours in La Faro (N Ireland rockers) said that when they tour the UK, the gigs start off great in Scotland and the north of England and gradually get worse and full of posers as you get closer to London. There’s so much variables they expect of bands there, and most of them have nothing to do with music.”
2011 sees Ladydoll back in the studio writing and recording the follow-up to last year’s The Knifethrower and His Wife with record companies sniffing around for the demos. Things were looking good for the band after legendary UK indie Fierce Panda got in touch and wanted to see them play, but the label’s boss subseqently took a step back from the business and left Ladydoll in limbo.
“Fierce Panda had put out the first singles from people like Placebo and Coldplay,” says drummer Eoin Ryan, “and it was great to get some recognition from them, but in the end it was a near miss. It might be better for us though, as the new material is more ‘us’ and I think this album is going to be a lot more representative of the band.”
This is not to disparage The Knifethrower and His Wife. Even on a first listen the songwriting quality is there and production-wise it’s a cut above most Irish albums. However, Finn says that they’ve moved away from the ‘buzz-saw guitars’ towards a more piano-led direction and while the songs still pack a punch when necessary, there’s less reliance on distortion in favour of melody.
“I think a lot of people heard the (Smashing) Pumpkins or Placebo on the first album,” says Finn, “and we want to get away from that a bit. The first four songs are nearly done and there’s a lot of interest in hearing them. I don’t want to say anything just yet because of what happened last time, but to have people interested in hearing your music before its finished is a good thing. There’s people who want to have a bit of a say in what happens with the rest of the album, which is something you have to allow for I suppose.”
Following sessions with RTÉ and a nomination for the IMTV video awards last year, expectations have been raised as far as Ladydoll are concerned, with many in the industry keeping a watchful eye on them.
The band also now have an eye on Europe for the coming album and utilising some of Finn’s contacts in France (he was born in Paris to Portugese and Irish parents, exotic or what?). Eoin feels their music and attitude might be a little better suited for continental purposes regardless.
“We’re not intersted in being clones of a million other bands or wearing skinny jeans,” he says in his machine gun patter. “London seemed as if it was full of bands who were just like the last one. Original music seems to get more of a response in Europe and for some reason in France lyrics make a huge difference to peoples’ perceptions of a song. A lot more than they do in the UK or Ireland.”
“The main thing with the new album will be to concentrate on good songwriting,” says Finn. “Good songwriting is ultimately always recognised, it doesn’t matter what is in fashion or what isn’t. Look at the likes of Portishead or PJ Harvey. They just put out good music and don’t really care about image. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Ladydoll are keen to hit the road and cite hardworking bands such as And So I Watch You From Afar as being inspirational and something to emulate in 2011. Some more awards ceremonies would be nice too, as Eoin talks about hanging out with The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon at the IMTV Awards. “He was smoking a pipe,” says Eoin. “There’s not many musicians could get away with smoking a pipe.”