Interview: Lo-Ego Frontman Martin Collins

Interview: Jem Shaw
Saturday 24 July 2004
reading time: min, words

"I keep getting told I do stupid things with my eyeballs. I was described as `bug-eyed' by some journalist"


I met up with Martin Collins, frontman of Nottingham band Lo-Ego, for a swift lunch and a chat at one of Nottingham's fashionable Waterfront pubs. This is what he, after quickly scoffing a barbecue chicken baguette, had to say for himself... 

How long have you been together and how did you get started - where did it all begin for Lo Ego?
Lo Ego was formed about 2 years ago, or that's when we did our first gig. I used to be in a band called Sunbourne Court which was, well, we were... I call it experimental. Well we were basically crap. We had about fifty songs and didn't know where any of them should end (laughs). We learned a lot but, well, that ended and Lo Ego began. Shortly after we formed we got a new drummer, Jack. Some other dude was drumming before him.

Was Jack's arrival a pivotal moment for the band?
Well when Jack got involved it was clear he was technically brilliant but he'd never played in a band before so, well, once we'd got it through his skull that he needed to, like hit hard and actually rock out a bit on stage, he made a huge difference, yeah. He can play anything now so he's the dog's balls. Especially since his hair's got really long.

Has Stefan's shorter hair made any difference to his guitar playing?
Ha ha! Yeah the hair thing for Stefan, erm, short is working best I think. Its kind of an anti-Samson effect or something. Stefan is kind of the icing on the cake musically, then sometimes he's the solid rock backbone of the band. He's just a really good guitarist in my opinion, and in the opinion of others.

You recently tore up your old songbook and started afresh. The new material is very different, what brought about the change?
We'd been doing the old stuff for quite a while, and had been generating a bit of interest around Notts with those songs. We just kind of stopped and began thinking about what we really, actually wanted to be doing. So we looked quite harshly at our set and decided that a lot of the songs were either too long or didn't have enough going on within them or whatever. We were listening to Led Zeppelin and The Mars Volta and stuff and, actually, seeing The Mars Volta live was really inspiring. We just decided that rather than just try to write nice little songs we'd start making music we really like. Perhaps you might think it selfish, but there's so much more feeling - if you're writing lyrics with real meaning then to sing them properly you have to put them to the music you like best. They should do each other justice.

People are liking it...
Yeah, we're getting a lot more, well, noticed. I suppose we used to get a lot of support from mates and that was great. Now people are coming to see us because they've heard about us and that's better! The press interest is great. We have huge aspirations and its nice that people are impressed by the music.

Who's responsible for writing these new songs?
Well we all write stuff together but a lot of the new stuff comes from Stephen. Creatively he's really just exploded recently and we have to just let him lead the way, but everyone's still involved to some extent.

Have you ever injured yourself onstage, or maybe had a seizure which has gone unnoticed?
Ha ha! No, but I keep getting told I do stupid things with my eyeballs or something. I was described as `bug-eyed' by some journalist and all my mates now take the mickey out of me for that. I don't know, I just get into it, especially recently with the new songs and gigging a lot more, something's clicked. We just love playing the music and I just feel we could play anywhere and with anyone.

And why shouldn't you. What's coming up for Lo Ego? Are we going to get a record to review?
Well there's a hell of a lot of new material to come, we're going to get a mini album out in the summer which will pretty much be the set you've heard us playing recently. Then we'll start gigging with more new stuff and work from there. Playing the songs live really helps develop them. Erm... we'd quite like to get signed, hopefully!

(At this point a waitress arrives and tries to give us two tuna baguettes which we neither ordered nor desired, it starts spitting with rain and we both declare it the ideal time to end the interview.)

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