Ever since their first release in 2014, Whitley Bay’s own four-piece indie band, Lisbon, have gained a never ending growth of popularity and are set to take 2016 by storm. Their winter tour will be taking them from Brighton to Aberdeen, and everywhere in between. As a taster for their Southampton Joiners gig on the 26th January, I was able to catch up with front man, Matty Varty to hear the story so far.

How did you guys meet and what’s your story so far?

Me and the guys have known each other since we were four years old, so we are pretty close. We started playing music in sixth form; gigging for about a year. Our first single, Blue Love (below), was released on January 2014. Since then, we gained a lot more attention.

How did you come up with the name for your band?

There are two versions of this story. For the most part, it came about because we were young and were not really sure what to call ourselves. But as our band has developed and since our debut Ep “Life is Good” was released, the name has evolved to literally mean: “Life Is Good”. The “L” stands for “life”, the “is” stands for exactly what it says, and the “bon” is French for good. So yeah, it kind of worked out in the end.

What was the first album you listened to?

That’s a difficult one to remember… I’d have to say, it was probably “Songs about Jane” by Maroon 5. But my Dad used to play a lot of Coldplay in the car, particularly, “A Rush of Blood to The Head”, so that sticks heavily in my mind. Oh, and “Inside In/Inside Out by The Kooks, that’s a great album.

Aside from music, do you have any non-musical influences?

A lot of our songs revolve around popular culture. We’ve written songs on Grand Theft Auto and Game of thrones. I love films, and with media being all around us, naturally it makes great song material.

What are your practice sessions like?

We used to have a practice room in Whitley Bay that we had free reign over, so we would go and jam three of five times a week. Unfortunately, that got bought out not so long ago, which means we have to travel further and pay more for our practice sessions.

Where do you find you work the best?

Aside from writing songs together in each other’s houses, I’d say we are most comfortable playing in the studio. Everyone – me, the band, the producers – we are all on the same wave length, so it can turn into a lot of fun. Besides, its best to play and listen to our selves back to know we are on the right track

Do you ever fall out?

Ha, yeah, all the time. There’s no bad blood though, just little things. We are snapping at each other one minute, and hugging each other the next.

What have you got planned for 2016?

We’ve got four more singles lined up: three that were recorded in Stockport, and the last one which was recorded at Abbey Road. We haven’t decided whether to release an EP, or go for an album. There are no plans as of yet. We are just hoping to build up a calendar of support tours and maybe hit some of the major festivals.

What’s the best thing about growing up in Whitley Bay? Has growing up there had an influence on any of your music?

I’d have to say, without a doubt, it is the seaside. I never realised it before, but I think the majority of our songs contain the word ‘ocean’. That’s one thing I’ll look forward to after touring: going back to the fresh, sea air.

You’re now mates with Little Comets – how did that happen?

We’ve been massive fans since day one. At thirteen we were sneaking into all of their gigs. It wasn’t until last March that we were offered to support them at one of their gigs. Its one thing meeting your idols, but its another being able to work alongside them! Since then, we’ve managed to keep in touch.

You’ve been getting a bit of national radio airplay; can you remember the first time you heard yourself on the radio? How does it feel?

It was weird. It was 11:30 at night, and everyone texting was texting us. Fearne Cotton also played us at one point, that was pretty cool.

What’s the best bit about touring?

Apart from the gigs, its just amazing to spend time with your mates every single day. I guess it’s a kind of dream, drinking beer, playing music.

And the worst?

Probably the long drives. Say you’re traveling from Brighton, back all the way up north at seven in the morning; its just not fun.

Finally, tell me what music you are currently listening to?

Its difficult whilst touring, but Foals new(ish) album “What Went Down” has been playing a lot, and the new Tame Impala album has been in the car for months.

Lisbon are set to release their new single ‘Vice’ on the 26th February, but be sure to look out for them on their current tour.  

They play The Joiners in Southampton on 26th January, supported by The Amazonsdetails here.

Originally written by: Amy Burchill