The Lottery Winners Talk Their New Single, Their Upcoming EP and *That* Nickelback Cover | Interview

The Lottery Winners are back this week with new music and an interview!

The Lottery Winner’s new single ‘Bad Things’ follows last months release ‘Start Again’, both of which are taken from the bands upcoming EP.  ‘Bad Things’ features Sleeper’s lead singer Louise Werner and is slightly slower in tempo giving it a relaxed, dreamy vibe to soundtrack your week.    

We caught up with Thom Rylance (vocals/guitar) to discuss the new single, the upcoming EP and more!

EE: Could you say a few words to introduce yourself to our readers?

TR: “I’m Thom and I sing and play guitar in The Lottery Winners”

EE: How did you all meet and what inspired you to start making music?

TR: “I’ve always wanted to make music all my life, that’s the only thing that I was ever interested in. I’ve worked different jobs, like I worked at Claire’s accessories for a bit and also in a job centre, but I basically didn’t like waking up every day and I just wanted to do something that I enjoyed waking up for every day, because you’re only on this planet once. Even as a kid I always knew I wanted to be a Rockstar. The band met in a boring way really, we met in Leigh just out of Manchester and that’s where we formed the band. I got expelled from the school that I was at for being a lippy kid, and the person who was elected to show me around the new school was our guitarist Rob, so that’s how I met him. He was a bit nerdy in school so I had to have this secret relationship with him where we had to secretly meet in rehearsal rooms and play music together when nobody knew, it was an affair.”

EE: Can you describe your sound in three words?

TR: “Indie pop flop.”

EE:  It’s been almost a year since you unleashed self-titled debut album which hit number 23 on the official UK albums chart; how did you find the reception to it?

TR: “I thought it was incredible considering it was literally released into the mouth of the pandemic so we couldn’t get out and promo it or anything. The support for it was outstanding and really overwhelming, people are still buying it and listening to it all over the world which just blows my mind. When we get tagged by someone listening to it in Japan or something it really does blow my mind. It took 10 years to get that album out and even though it was such strange, terrible timing I’m still really proud of it.”

EE: And you’re set to release the ‘Start Again EP’ pretty soon, how did you find the writing and recording process this time around?

TR: “Everything switched; we would usually write songs and they’d come together in a rehearsal room, but that’s not the way it’s been over the past year. It’s been more online, writing parts and sending them over the internet, I’ve been quite prolific with song writing as well so it was a different way of writing, I don’t think necessarily it was a worse way, we just had to adapt.”

EE: Is there a specific theme you focused on whilst writing the EP or did each song come individually?

TR: “I actually wrote about 135 songs so it was just 8 of them, I wrote a lot when lockdown happened and they’re all good as well! There were a lot more bad ones that I wont even count. We did a lot of collaborations on the EP so I had people in mind like Frank Turner, Louise Werner and Miles Hunt and stuff so I kind of wrote the songs with those people in mind.”

EE: Who were your biggest influences writing the EP? (if you had any)

TR: “I’m constantly just absorbing everything that’s around me to be honest, my influences probably haven’t changed a lot. Bands like The Beach Boys, The Smiths, Arcade Fire, everything I suppose. I couldn’t really pinpoint a specific influence; inspiration comes in many guises.”

EE: This is maybe a difficult question, but do you have a favourite track off the EP?

TR: “I think ‘Start Again’ with Frank Turner is my favourite. The closing track of the EP is a song called ‘Days’ which I really like, it’s about time just passing you by and I really think it’s a nice song as well.”

EE: Tomorrow you’re set to release your new single ‘Bad Things’ where you were joined by Sleeper’s Louise Werner, what is the single written about?

TR: “It’s about a night out that I had in 2013 where I met someone then never saw them again. It tells the story of that night because its one that I’ll always remember.”

EE: Did you find it difficult recording and releasing music over lockdown?

TR: “We’ve been completely prolific over this time; we’ve released two albums, an EP, and just so many different collaborations and things. I was really worried that when the pandemic happened that the music industry would just close, but in a way its completely opened up because I feel like even though I haven’t been able to make any physical connections with anyone in this time, I’ve actually met so many people online and made friends online, so its not been difficult, just different.”

EE: You guys have been pretty outspoken on how you feel about the governments handling of the pandemic, and your track ‘An Open Letter To Creatives’ really moved me when I heard it for the first time. How do you manage stay positive during all of this?  

TR: “I think I’ve just distracted myself with goals and with creating things, I always just made sure I got up early every day and I didn’t really feel like going to bed until I made something; whether that was writing a song, or making a video, or writing a poem, or drawing a picture I just wanted to have brought something into the world every day. That’s the way that I got through it but it has been really difficult.”

EE: Personally, can you see a return to live music any time soon?

TR: “I just truly hope so, our tour has been rescheduled to September and it was supposed to happen in March last year, so I’m really just holding out all hope that it does happen.”

EE: What’s your opinion on socially distanced gigs?

TR: “We haven’t really done any, we’ve done a lot of live streams but no socially distanced ones. I think we just have to do whatever we need to do; I need live music and I want to go and see gigs so if it has to be that way then it’s better than nothing.”

EE: And what about virtual gigs? Do you see them as a viable way forward?

TR: “Honestly, no. I feel like they are maybe already starting to expire, people have started to be more innovative with them and you see all these 360 gigs and things like that but I think it is a limited platform and it’s never going to substitute being in a room with people, making that connection.”

EE: On a lighter note, you recently went viral on TikTok with the Sea Shanty version of Nickleback’s Rockstar, (which I am obsessed with) what inspired that? How was it working with Nickleback?

TR: “It was weird really, we’d just joined TikTok and thought we might as well, it seems like a thing. So, I was just on the phone to Rob talking about how sea shanties are a thing and we should do one. At the time I was literally doing some ironing and I had a playlist on Spotify called ‘bangers’, I looked down and the playlist and Nickelback – ‘Rockstar’ jumped out at me. I was singing the melody and thought it would actually work because it’s wordy enough, so Rob went away and did it (badly I have to say), then we got to the big version and uploaded it. I got a message almost immediately off Nickelback asking to do it together, it was just the weirdest thing to ever happen.”

EE: Who are some of your favourite up and coming artists to look out for at the moment?

TR: “I really love a band called The Hubbards from Hull, they’re really excellent. There’s a band from Wigan called Stanleys that are doing well, the first time I saw them they were supporting us in Liverpool, they were really young and I thought they were great, a really good sense of song writing and melody so I’m excited to see what they bring.”

EE: What is your dream UK venue to play a gig at?

TR: “We’ve got it booked in. It’s always been The Ritz in Manchester, that’s always been the place we wanted to play and we were supposed to do it last year but hopefully now it’ll be September. I just know that I’m going to be an absolute mess when it comes to actually standing on stage and saying ‘hello Manchester’, I will cry I know it”

EE: What would you say has been the high point of your career so far?

TR: “Honestly they come around so often that I’ve really had to make myself note it. There was a time when we were playing our first Glastonbury festival which was always a massive dream for us, and I was saying to our manager ‘what’s next?’ and he said ‘you’re at Glastonbury, just enjoy it’ and that gave me the epiphany that I needed to start enjoying the moments, Straight after Glastonbury we went on to support Tom Jones, did a stadium tour which was truly bizarre, then it was straight into Europe and we played in Switzerland, it was all rolling so I’m just proud of the band. That’s been the highlight; being in this band and being with my mates and making stuff happen.”

EE: And lastly, what do you hope to accomplish next as a band?

TR: “I think the world is so strange that its hard to plan for it. I never knew that Nickelback was going to be a thing, none of us knew that any of these collaborations were going to happen, but I think we’d like to release our next album later on this year and it would be absolutely amazing to tour it properly, and I want to go to America.”

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