We Chat to the Cost of Loving Ahead of Beat the Streets

Interview: Gemma Cockrell
Friday 12 January 2024
reading time: min, words

One of the most exciting up-and-coming bands from Nottingham right now, The Cost of Loving have made a mark with their recent singles Esports Player, Strings (Attached) and Remorse Code. We chat to them ahead of their appearance at Beat The Streets festival at the end of this month...

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Reflecting on 2023, how was the year for you guys? What were the highlights?
Yeah, it was a good year overall. One of the highlights was opening The Bodega bar at Dot to Dot in May. With us being the first act of the day, we had a big crowd and people were queueing down the street. I think it was mainly their thirst for beer, but I like to tell myself it was a reaction to our first single, Strings (Attached). Joe was actually really ill with flu that day, but he soldiered through!

Another highlight was making a music video for Esports Player with our very talented friend, Sam Lindley. I think the production value is really high, owed largely to Sam’s knowledge of lighting. And, considering it was a DIY effort in the evenings after our day jobs, we’re really proud of it. We only put it out in December, so I’d encourage people to check it out on YouTube.

The first major event on the Nottingham calendar is Beat The Streets which you are performing at. What have you got planned for your set there?
I’d love to say we have a ticker tape explosion planned or something else showstopping to get people to watch our set, but I think it’ll be pretty standard indie festival fare. For those that aren’t familiar with our music, they can expect to hear seven synthpop songs with electronic drums performed semi-proficiently with cool detachment… or awkwardness.

You have just recently released a new single Esports Player, and you also released two other singles in 2023, Remorse Code and Strings (Attached). Should fans expect to hear these performed live at the festival? And will you be performing any unreleased songs?
Yeah, those songs will all feature in our set at Beat The Streets. We’ll also be playing one or two new songs for the first time, which is exciting. We’ve been trying to build a live set that’s more influenced by dance music, as we’ve found that those up-tempo grooves are more immediate for the crowd. I watched Confidence Man at Rock City in 2022 which gave me a bit more impetus in that direction… though we won’t ever be that flamboyant! My favourite album of last year was Mid Air by Romy as well, so yeah, the new songs are in that dance/electronic vein.

Will you be releasing more singles this year? Do you have plans for an EP or album in the works?
Yeah, absolutely. We have one single already recorded and we’re heading up to Merseyside to record another couple of tracks this February. We’ve found that promoting one song at a time tends to work best for streaming and radio as an unsigned band.

Recording an album is an ultimate dream of ours, but it’s expensive. I think it’s important to time it for when you have a big enough audience to digest your music, along with a decent support network for promoting and touring. Otherwise, you risk throwing too much of your art into the cloud at once. I unashamedly crave the validation of a bigger audience. 

Is this your first time playing Beat The Streets? If you’ve played it before, what memories do you have of previous years? If you haven’t, how does it feel to be performing at the festival for the first time?
We’ve played Beat The Streets in previous bands, but this will be the first time performing as The Cost of Loving.

With the weather turning cold, and following the Christmas festivities, it’s a poignant time of year to think about those who sleep rough. So, in that sense, it feels important to be part of the event and contribute to raising money to help Framework.

From a band perspective, it’s one of the staple events in Nottingham alongside Dot To Dot and Hockley Hustle. These festivals give artists a platform to reach new fans and network with each other, so it always feels brilliant to be part of the day. 

Which other artists are you excited to see perform on the day?
There are a lot of artists I’d like to watch. I guess a lot will depend on who we clash with and the timing of us transporting our equipment in and out on the day. Our bassist Tony is playing in another band called Rad Pitt, so hopefully we don’t clash with them! 

One of his bandmates from Rad Pitt is also playing in Victory Lap, so those two are on our watchlist. We’re also good mates with the Rain Age as well, very different vibes to us but they’ve been honing a cracking live sound in the last twelve months. 

But yeah, in general I’m looking forward to seeing some new artists and put a face to some names I’ve seen on posters over the last couple of years!

You’ve had consistent support from BBC Introducing and BBC Radio Nottingham since you started releasing music. How important is that for a relatively new band?
I think BBC Introducing is still one of the main gateways to the music industry, and that local DJ support can pave the way to national airplay and festival slots, so I think it’s very important. That, along with gaining editorial support on Spotify and Apple Music, is always a target when we release a song.

We’re really grateful for Dean Jackson’s support. He’s selected all our singles so far for daytime plays on BBC Nottingham and Leicester to help push it to a wider audience, so I think he’s doing all he can to help us. I don’t envy his position though, there are so many artists sending in music, and you can’t please everyone!

I think more opportunities need to be created in the industry to help unsigned bands from provincial cities and ordinary backgrounds get noticed, then there would be less pressure on people like Dean to make people’s dreams come true. A&Rs leaving Central London would be a start!

I love the band’s name. What is the story behind it, how did you come up with it?
I’m a big fan of The Style Council and they have an album called The Cost of Loving, so that’s where the phrase first came to me. I always appreciate lyrics and titles involving wordplay, probably because I was a fan of rap music in my teens. ‘The cost of living’ has been a media buzz phrase in the last year or so, but aside from that I like the meaning of the pun. Our music nods (sort of ironically) towards new romantic bands. I read it as an anti-austerity phrase, and a criticism of our current, loveless government… so it works with our politics as well!

You’ve got a show coming up in London just after Beat The Streets as well, on 3 February. How are you feeling ahead of that one, particularly with the show being outside of your hometown? What’s it like performing outside of Nottingham?
We almost see Nottingham and London as both being hometown shows in the sense that we have quite a lot of friends in both cities, so tend to get a good crowd. It’s always exciting to drive down there and experience the bright lights though.

I think London has a culture of creative opportunity, and because of that I always feel that other bands on the bill are supportive as opposed to being competitive, and the crowd is very open-minded artistically… there’s less bemusement there about our laptop and drum track!

We can also fit our entire setup into the boot of one car now, so it’s relatively cheap for us to play out-of-town shows… A definite goal for 2024 is to play some other cities where we don’t know anyone to grow our fanbase.

Do you have anything else coming up in 2024 that you want to shout about?
I think it will be more of the same gradual growth. We’ll have three or four more singles coming out, which we may look to compile into an EP later in the year. 

We’ve also just had some T-shirts printed which are available at our live shows and on Bandcamp. We were inspired by Easy Life being sued by EasyJet, so we’ve doctored the Lacoste logo in the hope of a PR-boosting lawsuit. We’re very pleased with them, so check them out… Merch seems more lucrative than music these days, so maybe this year we’ll start selling T-shirts on Etsy instead!

You can buy tickets for Beat the Streets in support of Framework here


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