It’s hard to be serious around Boy Names. Whether they’re bounding around on stage like a post-watershed jack-in-the-box or being exceptionally playful (not just with us but with each other), there’s an infectious charm about the upcoming London trio. Just look at the photo on the left. They’ll all happily huddle in a toilet cubicle and still look tastier than the kebab that probably got them there in the first place.
PressPLAY caught up with the group following their gig at The Good Ship in Kilburn – an energetic performance celebrating the release of their new EP, hitting our sweet spot with songs like Permanent Love and Fox Mobility. Lead singer Patrick Seeburn’s at times androgynous vocal is a homegrown stunner we haven’t heard in an age, and is ably backed up by Nudge Staaden and Eliot Stubbs (left and right in the photo), with producer Nick Trepka joining in on bass.
The moment we sit down, it’s clear we’re with that rare breed of modern band who really don’t take themselves too seriously (example: the brilliantly kitsch karaoke-video for Wanted Man). Which, of course, suits the PressPLAY style of interviewing just fine, as we talk George Michael, ‘dicktures’, and whether Nudge is actually a real name…
Start us off. One by one, we want to know who you are and why you do what you do.
E: Well, Nick and I grew up together, Nudge and I work together. We were in New York and we crashed a friend of mine’s baby shower, and I didn’t know Patrick at the time…
N: Patrick was my friend…
[PressPLAY has noted this slightly possessive comment and has decided that Nudge would be most likely to do a Geri Halliwell in this equation.]
E: I really wanted to do more music, and I can’t sing for shit.
Nick: I got a call from him and he said, I’ve found this singer called Patrick and he’s quite amazing. The band that he’s in isn’t doing justice to him.
[PressPLAY has now decided that Eliot is perhaps the Keisha Buchanan of this group, and will shamelessly poach from other groups.]
N: This was about a year ago.
Patrick: Well, I’ve known Nudge for about eight and a half years… We used to work in Sainsbury’s.
Which Sainsbury’s? This is important information.
P: Muswell Hill.
That’s not very ‘street’. But do continue…
P: For the past eight years, me and Nudge have been getting drunk and singing at parties.
N: Barbra Streisand. Brandy & Monica. We do a very good ‘The Boy is Mine’.
[PressPLAY would actually LOVE for them to do a cover version of this. Imagine a boy-girl take on it that transcends sexuality. We’re practically moist at the thought.]
P: We thought one day we might decide to do something with that. Nudge told me about Eliot a while ago, she said you should meet him and have a chat. It all sort of culminated when we were all at this baby shower in New York. Now don’t let the name fool you, it was a RIOT. It was crazy.
Is that where the band’s name comes from? A baby shower?
E: But Baby Shower would have been a shit name.
More importantly: where does the name Nudge come from?
N: Well my real name is Nadja…
[Knew it was too good to be true.]
N: I think it’s a horrible, horrible name. I’m part-Ukrainian, they pronounce the J there. So Nadja went to Nudge.
Patrick, did you have any training? Because your voice is incredible.
P: I sort of dabbled. I had lessons when I was about 15. I went to quite a rough comprehensive in Islington. When I was 18 I had Janet Edwards. That was for about a year. And that was about the rudiments of music, because I’m not a musician like these guys are… so she thought I should learn about that.
N: I used to give you singing lessons! Do you remember?
P: Nudge has had classical training!
N: I was going to be an opera singer when I was younger. But then I didn’t want to. I’ve done all sorts.
If we had one request – not taking anything away from Patrick – it’s that we want to hear more of you.
N: Awww. Well the more we sing together, we realise that there’s something there.
The songs of yours that we enjoy the most are definitely the ones with that dynamic.
P: That’s why Permanent Love, the newest one, I love because we’ve never sung that closely together. It’s one of my faves.
[This man has good taste.]
N: I think going forward, the more that we write, the more it’s going to be that kind of thing.
P: It’s just like being pissed in someone’s front room at three o’clock in the morning.
Of course. So you’ve only been going a year…
N: This is our seventh gig.
What’s the plan now?
P: We’ve got some nice gigs lined up. We’ve got the Shacklewell Arms, a night in September.
E: Nick is the missing link in the whole thing – he records everything we do.
Nick: This is genuinely one of the most exciting projects I’ve come across in recent years.
E: And he just finished working with Boy George!
Nick, do you only work with bands with the word ‘boy’ in the name?
Nick: Yes. I’m running to the end of my list now. It’s going to get more interesting when I start on girls.
There is a band called Girls Names…
Nudge: I KNOW! I tweeted them and they didn’t tweet me back! I said let’s talk. They didn’t fucking tweet me back!
[Clearly this is a touchy subject. Girls Names – tweet them, please. We’re worried what might happen otherwise.]
So what do you do when you’re not Boy Naming?
N: We work for a large record company. In the catalogue department. Selling people stuff they’ve already got.
P: I’m a nurse. I’ve had three hours sleep.
Do you sing to your patients?
P: No! But not for lack of trying.
[Personally, we would enjoy this form of convalescence on many levels.]
Watching your first video, Wanted Man, it looks like you don’t take yourselves too seriously…
E: I don’t think we could do something like that and NOT. These guys seem much more natural at this whole thing than I am! But what’s the point if you’re not having fun, right? Oh, and that is my front room.
[youtube id=”D_0KX6Dm-GM” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Where are you in terms of management, label, etc?
E: We have a manager, but we’re all just feeling our way through it at the moment.
You’ve got one EP out. Is there another coming up?
P: Yeah! There’s a lot of writing happening right now…
N: We’ve got a couple of new songs, and another three-tracker ready for September-October.
E: We’ve been doing a lot of recording right now. There’ll maybe be another video.
Right, generic question: who are you influenced by?
P: I think we all have very different music taste, the things we listen to on our own. The one thing that links it is it’s all quality.
E: It’s very stupid but we like all sorts of music.
P: But as soon as we do something we kinda know whether it’s going to work or not…
E: It’s quite interesting that we’ve automatically started doing this slightly fun thing… It’s this weird kind of R&B pop.
We like to call it soulful pop. There are parts of it that reminded us of Rhye.
N: Soul-pop. That’s what we are.
On a more salacious note: who do you absolutely hate? Which comparison would you be really offended by?
E: We’re not a mean-spirited band…
P: I don’t like people that aren’t friendly…
[There we go.]
E: I feel like I’m constantly saying that people are shit. But I can’t think of anyone who’s shit right now. Nudge plays a lot of music in the office. Bloody Rinse FM…
Rinse FM is GREAT.
E: Well she’s Rinse, he’s Magic, and I’m… I don’t know what.
If you could pick any act to support, who would it be?
E: George Michael. He would be a good one. If you could compare us to George Michael we’d like that. Although in my first band I opened for T’Pau… That was in Bradford!
P: I quite like a Canadian band at the moment called Hooded Fang, but there’s no way in the world that would ever happen. But I haven’t listened to anyone recently that I’ve thought I could see it happening.
We reckon you’re quite likely to support George Michael if you send him an email titled ‘Boy Names’.
P: Yes. With dick pics. Dicktures!
[We’ve never heard that term before but we’re keeping it.]
N: Oh, and we’d have never have said Girls Aloud.
Favourite Girls Aloud song?
P: Ooh. Hard one. Call the Shots.
N: Call the Shots.
E: This is the bit where I can’t join in…
[We’re not sure we like Eliot any more.]
E: I like Sound of the Underground.
[All is forgiven.]
Boy Names – Wanted Man EP is available now. You can grab yourself a copy here.