Interview: Lorna

Friday 27 May 2005
reading time: min, words

"I've never felt we fit into the music scene in Nottingham, we are kind of odd bods playing this odd quiet experimental music"

When Lorna released their first EP Never Grow Old in March 2000 on Nottingham independent label Intromit Records the head of Heavenly Recordings (Jeff Barrett) signed them to a publishing deal through EMI Music. 

The band are Sharon Cohen (vocals, piano), Mark Rolfe (vocals, guitar), Andrew Bullock (bass guitar) and Matt Harrison (flute, guitar). Their debut album, This Time, Each Year was released by the Spanish label Pause Music and received immense critical acclaim, being marked for Album Of The Year by many Spanish radio stations. In fact they're quite big in Canada and a few other countries as well, yet relatively unknown in their home town. Hopefully their set at LeftLion Presents can go some way to changing that...

Where does the name 'Lorna' come from?
Mark: There’s various stories, lies, but at the end of the day it was just a pretty name. When I formed the band I was a huge fan of the band “Luna” and wanted to steal their name so this seemed like the next best thing.

If you had to, how would you describe your sound?
Matt: I suppose I’d say that we make organic, mellow pop. At times the music is lush, others sparse. I hate to pigeonhole bands as I think you tend to disappoint or put off as many people as you attract. The other problem is that naming bands we’re influenced by doesn’t always help as many people don’t know them either!

Have you all been in bands previously?
Mark: Yes, I was in a lot of noisy indie rock bands in the past, none of which really amounted to anything.But I had a wonderful time with an immense bunch of guys. I spent most of the 90’s in a band called Sugar and Lust, which was kind of Teenage Fanclub inspired melodic west coast stuff. I was also a founder member of The Chemistry Experiment.
Sharon: I used to be involved in a project called Callisto with a very close friend of mine. We had an album released back in the days, but it stayed a bedroom project and never developed into any live shows.
Matt: I was in a couple of covers bands back home in Wigan some years back, and then I joined Saint Joan through the Nottingham acoustic scene. I met Mark through a Nottingham musicians discussion list on the net.

What's your favourite album of 2005 so far?
Mark: Bright Eyes “It’s morning, I’m wide awake” (phenomenal talent).
Matt: ‘Digital Ash in a Digital Urn’ (also Bright Eyes) is the winner so far.
Sharon: “Give up” by The Postal Service (well, I discovered it in 2005).

Tell me about the songs on Static Patterns and Souvenirs.
Mark: I’m very proud that Matt came up with a superb pop song on this album. We’ve always needed one and "He dreams of Spaceships" is it. When I wrote the first songs for the album I was heavily into the likes of Yo La Tengo, Sparklehorse, American Analog Set, Calexico. Lyrically we write honest striking lyrics usually about love, life and loss.
I’m not really into the so called great lyric writers like Morrissey or anything, I hate all that self repugnance gibberish, my favourite lyric writer of all time is Neil Young. He's honest, raw and emotive. My personal favourites (on the new album) are "Understanding Heavy Metal parts I and II", "Remarkable things". These were executed according to our focus and plan.

You have a large, and faithful, following in Spain. How do audiences there differ those in the UK?
Mark: For a start they exist, and in numbers too. That’s always a start! They are really receptive and treat us personally like some kind of superstars (which we most certainly are not). We used to spend at least 30 minutes there each night signing albums before a performance.
Matt: They listen too, and they aren’t just at the gig to be seen drinking the right beer in the right venue. Their friendliness and genuine interest after each gig was simply overwhelming.

What's your opinion of celebrities being treated like royalty?
Matt: We live in a society where completely average randoms can become household names overnight just by being slightly controversial whilst locked in a house. It’s worrying what rubbish the public will watch and obsess about these days and how the people who actually do do useful things go unnoticed and unrewarded.
Mark: I don’t understand what a celebrity is anymore. I can see why people like George Gershwin and Elvis Presley could be treated like royalty, but not the likes of “Jordan and Peter”. Nowadays the trend is to be a celebrity without actually having a talent or have worked hard to develop or invent something.

What are your favourite hangouts in Nottingham?
Sharon: National Ice Arena, Fopp, DNA, Lace Market, Red Hot Buffet Shack, Gap, Hockley, The Traveller's Rest
Mark: National Ice Arena, Red Hot Buffet Shack, Rajah, Kings, Siam Thai, Mayfair, Mandarin, Chutney Jacks, 4550 miles from Delhi, Any vintage music shops
Matt: Rajah in Sherwood, 4550 Miles from Delhi, V1, Selectadisc, Fopp and Schuh (due to my trainer addiction).

Are you looking forward to playing at The Malt Cross?
Sharon: Yes, very much so. I've only just been to the venue for the first time the other day. It looks awesome, very chilled out and atmospheric. I'm sure it will be a great gig.
Mark: I am, but there’s always the worry it’s our first show in a year and it will be all brand new material. I’ve never felt we fit into the music scene in Nottingham, we are kind of odd bods playing this odd quiet experimental music. We’ve never sold many records in England, but this time around we have great distribution with Shellshocked and a magnificent press agent who’s successfully managed the campaigns of the likes of Ryan Adams and Iron and Wine so I think we might be on the right track finally. But it’s our home town, so we are always excited.
Matt: Yeah, definitely. It’s one of the few local venues I’ve yet to play. I was last there to see the Bee Hatchers, so it’s been a while! There are a few pre-gig butterflies, but that’s just because it’s new material. I can’t wait really…

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.