“Bruce Springsteen does jangle pop”: Interview with Her’s

Hailing from Barrow-in-Furness and Norway respectively, Stephen Fitzpatrick (vocals and guitar) and Audun Laading (bass and backing vocals) bonded over their shared love for jangle pop, Twin Peaks and Vaporwave memes while studying in Liverpool. Jamie Haworth caught up with the affable duo over Skype ahead of their gig at Yellow Arch Studios this month.

Look at this technology — it’s like 2005!

Our meeting rooms are full, so apologies for the stock room scenery. How are you doing?
Audun: Good thanks. I’m in the south of France at the minute, visiting my nan in the countryside.

Oh, nice! You’re both having a bit of a break before the UK tour starts, then?
Ste: Basically, yeah. I’m actually in Norway at the moment… my girlfriend is Norwegian, so I’m spending a fair bit of time here.
Audun: I haven’t seen Ste in ages. He spends more time in Norway than I do!

How’s your Norwegian, Ste?
Ste: It’s pretty terrible, actually. I can’t really speak any, bar a few basic pleasantries.

You two met while studying in Liverpool. Was there a clear vision for Her’s right from the start, based on shared musical interests?
Audun: I think we held off from making a band for a long time, precisely to find that common ground. We played together for a while – in a band with Brad Stank, funnily enough – but took our time working out what Her’s would sound like.

It feels like visual artwork is important to Her’s, especially on new album Invitation to Her’s. Your style seems thoughtfully curated.
Ste: Definitely. I think everything we do has to have an important visual alongside it, from single artwork to musical videos. The aesthetic of the band is something that we put a lot of thought into.

Invitation to Her’s celebrates its 80s influences, but also imaginatively combines them with new sounds too. You hear Ariel Pink and maybe Kurt Vile on ‘What Once Was’.
Ste: Yeah, yeah. A lot of Ariel Pink, definitely. We were into the latest MGMT album. [Looks to Audun] What else?
Audun: We were making our way through Paul McCartney solo catalogue too. I feel like, as you said, for every song there’s a lot of retro throwback in there; you pick and choose what you’d like to emulate, put them together… and make your own salad out of it.

Strong analogy.
Audun: We’d think of it as: Paul McCartney collaborating with Ariel Pink, or Bruce Springsteen getting together with The Cure… that kind of approach.

What songs do you think capture that idea most effectively on Invitation to Her’s?
Ste: I think ‘Mannie’s Smile’. Like Audun was saying, we were going for a “Bruce Springsteen does jangle pop” thing there. The song we wish Springsteen had made in the 80s!
Audun: I really like ‘Don’t Think it Over’ personally. It was great fun to record and I love playing the bassline live, but it was also a bit of a departure from what we usually do. We’d been looking to explore an R&B kind of beat, not solely relying on reverb and chords for everything.

Is that the direction you see Her’s future music going in?
Audun: We’ve been talking about that a lot, but it’s hard to know really; the songs have to make themselves.
Ste: Yeah, depending on how you’re feeling and what’s exciting you idea-wise at the time. I’m very excited to get back to demo-ing!

Her’s play Yellow Arch Studios on 16 February. Head to yellowarch.com for tickets.

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