Lostboy in Lockdown: Sheffield band on their upcoming EP and tour
Lostboy are an indie rock band composed of four secondary school friends: Max Clutterbuck (singer/songwriter), Jack Berry (lead guitar), Henry Robinson (bass) and Ethan Reeves (drums). They may be spread across the country at present due to lockdown, but they are itching to return to Sheffield, the birthplace of lostboy. With a latest single release, upcoming EP and UK tour in September all on their way, 2021 is looking very promising for the band.
It’s an evening Zoom interview. I’m joined by a smiley Max Clutterbuck and ask him the icebreaker question: “What have you been up to in lockdown?”
“Obviously like never drinking, never smoking, never getting up to no good – I’ve been as good as gold,” he replies while rolling a cigarette.
That said, the band has been extremely busy in lockdown despite the chaos year of 2020: their latest single, ‘Bad News’, released last month, announced the release of an upcoming lostboy EP. “It’s going to be coming later this year – a lot sooner than people think. The EP is a body of work that we’re really proud of,” Max explains. I push further to get the exact date of the release, but the twenty-three-year-old doesn’t budge. However, he is happy to give me an inside scope into some of the songs that will feature on the EP.
We start with the title track and latest single release ‘Bad News’, which tells a relatable story of life in lockdown. “It’s all about how we all felt inundated by this wave of negativity in the press. I personally felt like they were doing all these government updates and they didn’t necessarily have anything new or positive to say.” The song’s music video or “mockumentary”, as Max labels it, also takes inspiration from the daily Covid-19 briefings and conveys the reality of being bored and dejected in lockdown – hearing nothing but bad news.
Since the release of the single in late February, Bad News has reached over 14,000 streams on Spotify alone. Max tells me how the single differs from songs he would normally compose for lostboy. “Lots of my songs in the past were written about relationship problems. Because I found myself between relationships and that wasn’t the focus of what was going on, it was refreshing for me to write a song about something I hadn’t written about.”
“Seeing the positive feedback and loving the fact that people can listen to something that sounds so positive about something so negative just made me feel really good about the song. It is probably why it is doing quite well.”
Max mentions two other song titles, ‘Fix’ and ‘Selfish’, which will both feature on the upcoming EP. ‘Fix’, like ‘Bad News’, is focused on the emotions of lockdown. “This song is all about the way people have been viewing themselves in a more negative light because people have been spending more time with themselves. This is something I personally found I struggled with, because you weren’t seeing anyone for months on ends. You had no one to turn to or look at other than yourself.
“It’s called ‘Fix’ because it’s all about the fact that there it is not necessarily something you need to fix, but needing to learn to live with something a bit better.”
The story behind track ‘Selfish’ is inspired by lostboy’s bass player, Henry. Max explains further: “I wrote it about my bass player who dropped out of university early because he got bogged down with his mental health. I went to him at the time and said I want to write a song about this. I wanted to make something that made him feel so terrible at the time into a song, so that when we played it together, it made us all feel good. People may listen to it and be like, yeah, I get what they’re getting at with it and then the people that don’t understand it will just hear a song that they might like. To be honest, ‘Selfish’ is the one track on the EP that we are a bit apprehensive of how it is going to go down because it is so important to us.”
People have been viewing themselves in a more negative light because people have been spending more time with themselves. This is something I personally found I struggled with, because you weren’t seeing anyone for months on ends. You had no one to turn to or look at other than yourself
But, surely recording an EP in a global pandemic has its challenges? Max tells me how lostboy actually took a massive leap of faith with the new EP and used the gap between the first and second lockdown to record it. “The whole thing was done in a week. We had to go with the flow and it made the music more exciting.”
I also ask Max about his inspiration for new songs, especially during the confinements of lockdown. He tells me: “As a writer, songs don’t tend to be premeditated. I’ll have a feeling about something or something will annoy me or make me really happy and I’ll write a song about it. Writing for me is a cathartic. I couldn’t tell you what song I was going to write today and I couldn’t tell you what I was going to write tomorrow” he laughs, “because I haven’t got a clue.”
Finally, I ask lostboy about their upcoming September shows, and in particular the Sheffield tour stop at the Sidney and Matilda venue, Rivelin Works. Max expresses his anticipation on behalf of the band: “We cannot wait to play in Sheffield again. As a place that I’m not based all of the time, I miss the place, I miss it like hell.” Alongside their gig in The Steel City, lostboy are to perform in Bristol on 17 September and Manchester on 8 October. People that attend the shows in September should expect to hear a combination of new tracks off the EP and other popular lostboy tunes.
As our Zoom call comes to a natural close, I ask lostboy one more question: “Where will you be on the June 21, 2021 when lockdown supposedly ends?” There is no doubt in Max’s answer: he’ll be celebrating in Sheffield. “I’ll be in West Street Live at 2pm in the afternoon, getting the Cocoa Milkos down me and probably end up in The Leadmill – it’s normally how things go. I’ll probably roll in at 7am, ready to do the same thing the next day.”