‘I guess you could say the band is like a big collective spiegel im spiegel of the individual shit we have going on.’ Says Jonny of South London trio Happyness. What would you make of Jonny Allan, Benji Compston and Ashley Cooper’s personal psyches then, listening to the frantic fuzz of Whole New Shape, the choking Montreal Rock Band, lush and wholesome laziness of It’s On You and folky romance of Weird Little Birthday Girl?
With a slacker tone and laid back teenage vibe, there’s nothing forced about Weird Little Birthdays, the album that is being re released on Moshi Moshi on March 12th. Having only formed in 2013, the whole process has been rather organic. ‘We started writing and recording the album before we actually had a band name, so it all started as a pretty lazily natural thing. It was always our intention to turn it into a band and do something with it, but initially we were just enjoying writing the songs and putting them in orders.’
Comparisons have been made to such sparkling and frivolous sounding bands such as Sparklehore, Yo La Tengo and Wilco, but their favourites include The Clean, Pere Ubu, Frederick Loewe, and Ought among others. A shared taste in music amongst the three guys can help and hinder the creative process, but they are ‘quite conscious of our collective taste in music and try not to let it influence us too much. Similar taste doesn’t always mean we get into the same music at the same time – often it does, but it fluctuates. Which is healthy probably.’
Being on Moshi Moshi is definitely a positive – but like all genuine artists, they don’t see success changing them. ‘It’s nice to be paid to make records and have a good time. I don’t think we’re expecting it to really have an effect on our music. As far as career goes – we’re gonna be able to release Weird Little Birthday outside of the UK, which we just couldn’t do before. That’s positive for us.’ It is a very serious record, inspired by one particularly memorable annual celebration. ‘The weirdest birthday I ever went to was probably when I was younger and my friends little brother was eaten by a pygmy hippopotamus at London Zoo.’ Xxxx reveals of the album’s influences.
I think he may have been joking.
Touring with Slow Club and Jaws over the next few months gives them the opportunity to see people getting into the band and into the record. Which is what they want. ‘If that continues we will continue to be happy.’