After years of cutting their musical teeth as session and touring musicians for the likes of Beyonce and Mark Ronson, sisters Edie Langley and Gita Harcourt are finally stepping out of the shadows cast by pop’s biggest stars.
As I walk into what is possibly the fanciest restaurant in Kensal Rise, London, I’m greeted by the sight of two sisters sipping on their morning coffees, as an interesting array of jazz, soul and swing music, plays in the background.
The sisters in question, are Edie Langley and Gita Harcourt of London-based band, Lock, and within minutes of being in their presence, any preconceptions are banished.
Having worked and toured with the likes of Beyoncé, Kasabian, Carl Barât and Mark Ronson, for example, the pair would be forgiven for ever acting in an egotistical manner, but in fact, what’s instantly apparent when I meet them, is how lovely and utterly down to earth they both are. Hugs, handshakes and a quick friendly joke from the duo are all exchanged, and shortly after we sit down, the topic of how the duo came to form Lock is addressed.
“Lock just came about pretty naturally. I showed Edie some songs I had been working on,” Gita says warmly, before Edie takes over in consensual fashion stating, “I wanted to sing [on the tracks] and I was living in London, bored and I didn’t know what to do. So, I just wanted to be in a band desperately. Gita was writing songs, so I sung them.’’
Prior to becoming engulfed in Lock’s moody, yet melodic world of gritty, guitar-driven electropop music, Edie and Gita were initially in The Langley Sisters – a vintage, vocal harmony group that’s a farcry from the dark-sounding, soundtrack-esque offerings (‘The Everlasting Road’, ‘Click’, ‘The High Life’) they have come to be known for. But, on their latest single, ‘New York Vs Paris’ – a track which starts with a bewitching harmony before launching into a lyrical description of their love for the two cities – the duo channel their first musical project.
“With a lot of our songs, in The Langley Sisters, we did a lot of harmonies. But in this band we don’t do as much. But I think in ‘New York Vs Paris’ it was really nice to be able to sing in like three-part harmonies again,” says Edie.
Before long, I start to wonder why Lock’s third member – drummer Gabi Woo – has clearly decided against attending the interview. Edie jokingly announces “Gabi said she didn’t want to come to do the interview and wanted to watch Friends re-runs.’’ – it’s an acceptable excuse. But despite her absence today, Gita and Edie agree in stating that the band isn’t complete without her, and she’s just as passionate as the two sisters.
“She loves being in a band as much as us which is a big thing for us. We want it to be an equal thing, not just the two of us sisters and a session drummer,” proclaims Edie. ‘‘A guy called John J. Presley, who is a singer-songwriter, suggested her, and we hooked up and instantly loved her really,” Gita adds fondly.
“Unless you’re U2 or fucking White Snake, I don’t think there is a lot of money in it.”
Lock have had a hectic year. They’ve been dubbed as one of the Top 20 best new artists of 2017 by Radio X, played various festival dates, released latest single ‘New York vs Paris’, and supported the likes of The Libertines, Reverend And The Makers and more. As their recent successes suggest, Lock have proven that you can make it in an industry which is known to be extremely hard to break into – especially for female musicians. So, I wanted to hear about what female musicians or bands, Lock have been loving and listening to this year.
“I go through phases. But, I have The Distillers on repeat. I’m obsessed with Brody Dalle; she is literally my dream inspiration. But there are loads of amazing bands,’’ says Edie. Gita adds, “I tend to listen to bands from the past really. I love The Runaways and Cyndi Lauper – who is still around. Girl bands in general are killing it right now. Even a year ago, it was quite hard for women, but I think this year has seen a massive change in the industry. Frontwomen as well you know – like Ellie from Wolf Alice is doing amazing.’’
Most musicians who dream of ascending to fame and fortune in the music industry, an industry not too disimilar to the board game ‘Snakes and Ladders’, sadly have another thing coming if they think it is going to be an easy ride. But is there a certified way to make a sensible living out of being a musician? Gita and Edie are prime examples that it can work out.
“You can’t go into it thinking you’re going to make any money, for a start; unless you’re U2 or fucking White Snake or whatever. Unless you do massive successful tours I don’t think there is a lot of money in it. So, you just have to really love it. You’ve got to be really good at your instrument,” Gita passionately claims.
Edie carries on the conversation. “Be in the band you want to be in. So, if you want to be a session musician, be a session musician or if you want to be a rock guitarist, you know….just do it for the love of it and try to be in a cool band.’’
They aren’t wrong. Sadly, if you find yourself in a band that can’t sell tickets or make money from touring, then you’re likely going to struggle to find a decent income from doing what you love. In the 21st century, it is essential that new bands gather a strong online presence if they want people to take notice of their band, and both the Langley sisters think this is disgraceful.
“I hate to say it, if you’re like the young bands coming through today you have to be so savvy on social media, for example. It’s kind of depressing. I think a lot of A&R men won’t check your band out unless you’ve got so many followers, which is kind of vile really. They should come to your gig and check you out like they did in the 80s.”
As we approach the festive season and the end of 2017, it feels only right to ask Lock who their ideal Christmas line-up would be, if they had to record a classic Christmas single with anyone they like, dead or alive. Gita and Edie are hot off the mark and don’t hesitate in answering.
“Julia Davis! Oh my god, Julia Davis is just like my dream woman in life. Britney Spears! Cyndi Lauper or Josh Homme! And Westlife,’’ says Edie excitedly before Gita throws ‘‘Bill Murrary’’ into the mix.
Our time together concludes on both a high and light-hearted note, but not before Lock reveal how excited they are for the forthcoming year.
“We’ve got new management and we’re writing and we’re getting ‘Hey Compadre’, which is going to be our next single, as good as it can be, and that is exciting; we’re really excited to release that. We are going to be gigging a lot and so hopefully we will have a few tours and be playing all the big festivals on the main stage.”
If there are any bands that are going to have an exciting 2018, you can bet that Lock will be one of them.
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Volume Two Interview by Cameron Poole
Featured Images by Tasneem Hossain