Back in 2010, Daniel Mawyer was writing some songs, and asked a couple of friends to back him up and play some of those tunes. The drummer had only gigged in metal bands, the bassist had never played bass in his life and the later addition of a keyboard player only happened because she had learned to play one Yann Tiersen song by memory. As Daniel says ‘It took a while to get going.’ But La Bête Blooms, the post punk band from Hull formed, and after a few changes in line up (now Daniel Mawer and Rebecca Hopkins on vocals/guitar, James Coggin playing drums, Jack Gallagher on bass, and Louisa Robinson as keyboardist), and ‘a more focused idea of what we wanted to sound like, we’re here in 2014 and we’ve never been happier.’
Wishing I Could Kill is the latest single, available as a free download on Adult Teeth, and it’s a dreamy, reverb drenched introduction to the five piece.
The name, French for ‘the beast blooms’ came from the typical teenage thing scribbled words in a notebook, and resonated for Daniel. ‘I felt it summed up a lot about me at the time, and although it occasionally makes me cringe, I’m still really fond of the band name.’ He jokes that it is not always the easiest name to communicate though. ‘It is a bit of a pain to spell La Bête Blooms out to someone at a bar who wants to know what our bands called. ‘WHAT? LA WHAT BOOMS?!’’
Hull doesn’t have the reputation of being a particularly inspiring place, but La Bête Blooms are evidence that exceptions to that rule to exist. For Daniel, it’s about opportunities. ‘In the past, I don’t think opportunities have been available for many Hull bands to make a name for themselves, to be able to release music to a mass audience or create pieces of art that can leave a lasting impression. That’s a real shame, because the country’s missing out on some beautiful art and music. Recently, we became City of Culture 2017, which may have baffled some because of Hull’s bad rep but anyone who lives here knows we deserve it.’ There are at least six festivals taking place each year, with the band’s favourite being the Humber Street Sesh – a festival run by local artists, promoters and businesses, and hosts 180 local acts in venues along the marina, with a pop up cinema, street theatre, a silent disco, and live art for £3. Daniel may have a point when he says that ‘It’s I think you’d struggle to find anywhere in England that offers the same.’
He believes that the perhaps lack of a musical legacy in Hull offers freedom for performers. ‘What’s happening musically in our city differs from what you’ll hear on the radio or read in the music press. We have some fantastic talent that follows it’s own path. It could be thought that there’s no point following trends from where we’re from, because whatever we do largely goes unnoticed by the music industry.’ But hard work is paying off, and a number of bands are finding airplay and recognition outside of the northern city.
There are certainly some revivalist aspects to the band’s sound, and they all agree that The Pixies are an influence. Awash with distortion, jangling melodies and a little shoegaze, the sounds on their stereo are evident, but not overly cloying – they take without replicating, which is a skill few manage. This might be due to the writing process.
‘Perhaps because I’m so useless at playing guitar, I couldn’t copy a sound or band even if I wanted to. As a band we work hard but I’m personally very lazy and hardly ever sit to write, I rarely ever pick up a guitar unless we have a gig! But every so often I’ll take influence from something random on TV, some music in the background or some topic of conversation and run to a guitar and strum a song about what I’ve seen or heard. Then weeks will pass until I bring it to the rest of the guys who are all into completely different music to me. They’ll end up changing the song to something a million miles away from the original influence. I suppose that’s why it’s easy for us not to sound like a copy band!’
Their self titled EP is released in October, and the process has been a learning curve for the band, having previously only ever recorded mixed and mastered a track in one day. They recorded the skeletons of the songs in Hull before going to Cottage Road Studio in Leeds to finish recording and mix the E.P with Matt Peel. They were drawn to Peel because ‘We liked the energy he captured on other bands releases and wanted to emulate that with ours.’
The summer holds the same as it does for many musicians – festivals, gigs, and more hard work. ‘After that, who knows? As long as we’re busy playing gigs, recording and releasing things, we’re happy.’