Tuesday, January 31, 2023

INTERVIEW | 'Bigger and Better' - Loz Campbell Talks Guitars, New EP and UK Tour

Big sound, big energy, big riffs - that's Loz Campbell.

Hailing from Yorkshire, Loz may be the namesake but Loz Campbell is very much a band effort, she the compelling fiery frontwoman. 

The first couple of months of 2023 sees the release of a self-titled EP (out February 1st) and a debut headline UK tour, setting the stage for an exciting year. We were lucky to have the opportunity to chat with Loz about it! 


Let's kick things off by going back! What was your first guitar?

It wasn't anything majorly special. It was like a 3/4 nylon string green-y-black guitar. I've still got it sat in the corner of a room somewhere. I got it from Rock Factory in Castleford and I still, to this day, take my guitars [there] to be set up and whatnot. One of my guitars is there at the moment. I have a long relationship with the guys at Rock Factory.

That was your first, what are you currently playing?

My main one is Gibson, unfortunately that's the one that's been fixed at the minute - I'm gutted about that! Yeah, got a Gibson Les Paul from 1975, then I play a PRS SE Custom. I've just got myself a ESP SC-500...which kinda sounds a little bit like a motorbike!

What music were you into growing up? I'm guessing it was rock...

I remember getting a Nirvana CD for Christmas because I think back when I was about eleven, I don't think I had discovered Spotify - I don't think it was a thing! It was all CDs. Nirvana...Guns N' Roses, I was listening to from about the age of four...Nickelback, Soundgarden...they were the early things that I liked. It grew heavier throughout my teens, like Korn, System of a Down, that sort of stuff.

You're about to release your new EP, it drops February 1st! It's not your first release but, interestingly, you've decided to go down the self-titled route and subvert the tradition of having the debut be self-titled? Was there a reason a behind the decision to do so?

There is a reason behind it. The main reason, as a band we talked about it, is that a lot of people see Loz Campbell as [just] me. It's grown from me as as acoustic artist, and grown gradually into a band and now is a definite band. It's a band sound and a band image. 

What we've done is that the title of this [EP] is wiping the slate clean and gone 'right, this is Loz Campbell now'. People who might not know a lot about our band, might think 'oh, it's Loz and them behind her'. Actually what it is, is it's all of us. Take one of us out and it would not be the same. We all have massive respect for each other. There was talks to change the name [entirely] but we've built it up so much that it would not be beneficial to change it. So we've gone with the self-titling and see how that goes.

So you started out a solo artist? How did you eventually shift into the band life?

I've always, always wanted a band. I never wanted to be a singer, I wanted to play guitar. I always saw myself in a band. When I couldn't find a singer, people were like 'you can sing, you can do it yourself'.

When you start writing songs, you write lyrics for them and you become something. I've become a guitarist and [then] a singer naturally. It was not something I ever saw myself doing but it's what it has grown into. It was just finding the right people. It was finding people to begin with - when you're fifteen, who do you really know that wants to be out three or four times a week gigging? There was not, where I came from, a lot of younger people who are passionate enough to do that. I ended up playing with people who were older.

Now I've got guys and a girl around me and it's fab!

When you're writing a song what's your starting point? Guitars are a big part of your sound so do you think about the big riffs first? Or the lyrics? Is there a set pattern with your process?

There didn't use to be. It has become more of a thing now working with my producer. He's guided me into certain boxes which I do and don't follow. Structure wise, I follow his advice for structure and building up - we're known for the big choruses. I've always written riffs and things but it's building that finish of a riff up and up and up to a massive chorus that I have learned how to do better. With the last couple of songs, 'Bad Girl' and 'Beautiful Liar', that's really coming across as anthemic choruses, you know when that chorus hits. I do still start with a riff or a melody idea - I can't really pinpoint which one it is, as sometimes it's the other way round.

Going through your discography, I can't help but notice your music videos. They stand out and are great! I love a good music video, and i dislike how there's a little but of a shift away from them more and more these days. When it comes to your videos and making them, how hands on are you?

Thanks for recognising that, that means a lot. Especially 'Bad Girl', a lot of work went into that. It was kinda like a full script. 

It is a thing that's dying out, isn't it? MTV isn't so supportive, like it used to be, of rock and people generally don't go to it now, I guess. YouTube is still massive though, for a lot of bands sharing that they're going on tour or whatever, they do share the music video they just released. It does reach a wider audience and it helps people to attach what they're hearing - if they're streaming or buying CDs - it attaches that noise with what you might be like live or a little insight to the real you. 

I think it's really important. I am a visual person, I learn visually and I think you need to see that. I think it only benefits live performance. The 'Beautiful Liar' music video we did, it was all live performance and I wanted that to come across as this is what we're like live, and this is the energy we bring. 

I have an amazing team of videographers, Fly Girl Films, which includes my very close mates who I became friends with them through that. It was purely a business relationship to begin with but we became really, really close friends. Katie, Amy and Amiee, they treated me like a queen. I wrote a script and said 'this is what I want' and they just came up with good ideas to put into it. We are a real team when it comes to videos. I have a lot of ideas that I throw at them and they say 'like that, but we're doing this' or 'thought about this myself'. It is a real team effort! 

You're heading out on tour in just a few weeks on The Heartbreaker Tour, your first headline tour! What can fans expect at these Loz Campbell shows?

A bigger and better sound! We've been working really hard, a headline slot is...somewhat pressure. We've thought 'how can we now make this big?'. Last year was all about the new line-up and the energy. Now it's what can we do to make it headline, to make it big? We've really honed our sound.

What can you expect? New songs from the EP and just boatloads of energy - anyone that's came to our shows know that it's a wild ride. A lot of us are wireless in the band, we come out into the audience and have a move about. The legendary pyramid at the end of the set I'm sure will still be happening!

What I think is really cool about this tour is that it starts in Edinburgh at the same venue where just a few months ago, you were the support act for Richie Ramone! How cool is it to be coming back there and being the headliner?

It's really exciting! That gig was absolutely amazing. Edinburgh and London are two of my favourite places to play and we're doing both on the tour, which is cool! It is exciting. Anybody that came to the Richie show [should] mosey on down!

A new EP and a new tour, what a way to kick off 2023! What else is in store for Loz Campbell this year?

We've got some really cool stuff. We did HRH Festival in Leicester, and September we've got the New Wave of Classic Rock at KK's Steel Mill. And we've got a tour in March that I can't say anything about yet, and it's killing me! It's big - after the headline tour we will be announcing that!


Catch Loz Campbell on tour February 12th - 19th.

Tour dates and more information can be found here.

INTERVIEW | 'Songwriting Is The Ultimate Test of Vulnerability' - Samantha LaPorta

Songwriting is the ultimate test of vulnerability. That's what Samantha LaPorta believes, and it is something that shines though her mu...