LDN Meets… The 139

They have a broad music range taste between them, but the Bristol band agree on one thing: they love indie-rock, and have entered the music-scene with style with their second single ‘Feeling Blue’. Comprised of George Baynes (rhythm guitar), Tom Smee (lead guitar and vocalist), Danny Hammond (drums), and Ben Eve (bass), LDN talked to Ben about the band’s formation, their BBC Radio reception and their hopes and dreams for the future.

Words: Andrea Naess

How did all of you meet, and why did you decide to start a band?

Ben: “George, Tom and I originally met as part as a different band about three years ago. George put out a call for musicians on Facebook that Tom and I responded to. It was a different style of music at that time, more poppy and with synths, and we spent some time preparing our existing music ready for shows. However, following having a variety of drummers and finding Danny, we all decided to rename and start fresh with new music written more collaboratively.”

You just released your debut single ‘Feeling Blue’ and got stunning reviews from BBC Radio. Do you feel like you must pinch yourself in the arm sometimes, to know this is actually happening?

Ben: “We’ve all had previous music projects and I have to admit that a goal of mine has always been to have music I’ve been a part of covered by BBC Introducing. It was amazing to have ‘Feeling Blue’ aired on Introducing in the west a couple weeks ago, and great to also be recognised in our hometown of Bristol on BBC Upload. Even simple things like having coverage from music blogs and getting friends to come to a show are still incredible for us.”

Have you always been interested in music?

Ben: “I started playing guitar in year three, when I was about 7-8 years old. I think it’s very similar for the others. When we’re not at work or focused on band work, we’re often going to shows in Bristol or just listening and sharing music with each other. We’ve got a broad range between us, so it’s interesting to have a night in listening to Night Café, then KAYTRANADA, then Ross from Friends, then Stevie Wonder… it all just gets a bit weird! To clarify, we don’t write music like KAYTRANADA or Ross from Friends!”

You are a relatively new band, formed in 2020. How has the music scene welcomed you?

Ben: “I’m hoping with open arms! Joking aside, we’ve met some great people over the last year or so who are embedded in the Bristol scene [can they name one or two, maybe supportive bands, rehearsal spaces or venues or record shops?] and providing us with good opportunities. Some of the shows I’ve played over the last couple months have been the best shows I’ve played in my life and being purists, we believe that’s due to our music being interesting, unique and enjoyable to listen to.”

Your newest single, ‘Feeling Blue’ was released March 4 and was a part of last week’s New Music Friday. What was the inspiration?

Ben: “The song, as you would imagine from the title, is about those blue days of sorrow. While it’s posed as losing someone you love, ‘Feeling Blue’ is actually more about the repair that happens afterwards and learning to be by yourself again. And the song is inspired by exactly that, moving on and dealing with those ‘blue’ days.”

You are, as yet, unsigned. How did you put the song, and the release, together?

Ben: “‘Feeling Blue’ is a self-release. The song started from a chord progression and set of lyrics put together by Tom. From there, George and myself worked on the track to bring our respective parts. Finally, in rehearsals, Danny added his drums. The track was self-funded and self-produced with Patrick Phillips, an engineer and producer who works at Real World studios.”

What are your future hopes and plans for the band?

Ben: “More tracks! ‘Feeling Blue’ was recorded at the same time as [debut single] ‘The Past 6 Months’, and we were so pleased with the outcome of those, working with Patrick Phillips. So, our plans are to go back into the studio in late April to record another couple of tracks in a space we’re now familiar with. The tracks are likely to be a little bit different in tone to ‘Feeling Blue’, but we’re really happy with how they’re shaping out, and I think the studio will perfect them. Following April, more shows, probably another release in summer-ish and we’ll keep going from there.”

Out of all the gigs you have played, which one stands out?

Ben: “I think everybody would agree that supporting China Bears at Crofters Rights in February was just incredible. I’ve known the band for years and watched them grow, so to be given the chance to support them on their tour was perfect. Such sweet guys as well, humble and modest. Crofters as a venue is somewhere we’ve all been multiple times in the past as well, for shows and nights out. Great sound, great atmosphere and our 30-minute slot just flew by.”

How has it been to perform and write music during a pandemic?

Ben: “I think it’s allowed us time to experiment with not just what we want to write, but how we want to write it. Recently, we’ve realised that we all need to have an equal say on songs, as it was far too easy in lockdown to come up with an idea, spend a day writing the parts and then bring it up at practice. We’re now trying our best to share ideas as soon as they happen and avoid writing further parts to each song. By bringing the initial idea to practice, it’s really opened up our discussions on songwriting and allowed for lots more ideas to be brought to the table. Appreciate that’s not really the original question but to sum up, not really anything negative from the pandemic apart from not being able to play shows. Just space to learn.”

Listen to ‘Feeling Blue’ here: