“We did a video shoot last night ’til like 7 in the morning,” Josh Noble explains wearily. It’s all-go for Manchester’s Larkins, following the release of their ‘Hit and Run’ EP, and the announcement of their biggest UK tour yet (initially April, now December, ‘FYI’). The video is for their next release ‘Are We Having Any Fun Yet?’, and it’s set to be one of their most ambitious to date.
For Larkins, the band is about a lot more than creative output. With a sense of community brewing, there’s a real excitement surrounding the upcoming set of dates; and not just because they’ll be playing some of their biggest venues yet.
“On the last tour, for the first time, a lot of people were coming to shows,” Josh explains, revealing a collection of group chats the band have with fans on Instagram. “We’d have five group chats with 50 people in each, so a tribe of like 250 people who would come to shows together, talk every single day, support each other, back each other up and the point of it was that it was backed up by the band. It was some way that they could latch onto the band in a very community-style way.”
Josh compares this sense of unity to Glossop, the small town just outside of Manchester that Larkins have come from. “You’d think [it] would have some sort of sense of community, but it really, really didn’t,” he reveals. “And then moving to Manchester as well, it was really obvious to see these cultural and political divides. I’ve never felt a sense of community in my whole life, except for on the last tour. Something clicked, and this group of people surrounding the band was just beautiful.”
“I’d love to think that our music is what sets us apart, but the sense of community is really special,” Josh says earnestly.
Fast forward a year and the group chats are still very much alive and well. “People are making them from different shows and venues, people will come to shows and hold their phones up to show which group chats they’re in. It’s sickeningly modern, but at the same time, so old school,” he laughs.
Now they have a full EP out in the world too, choosing to release each track as a standalone single beforehand. “The EP is a statement of the stage that we’re at, but we know where we wanna go, and hopefully, this shows where we wanna go.”
For Josh, ‘Make You Better’ is his proudest track from the collection. “It felt super bold to release a track like that at this stage in our career. I think people just want bangers,” he says, cringing a bit. “I hate that word,” he laughs. “It was really honest. I felt very vulnerable, it felt very bare and very naked,” he comments, explains that they’d “finished a lot of it in LA, I’d experienced a sound of somewhere different to Manchester for once which was really nice. It was the first time I’d been properly involved in the production as well.”
Production is something that Larkins have started to focus on a lot. With their own studio in Manchester, Josh has even started helping other bands too. “It’s something that I’ve really liked doing, it allows us to explore that side of music a lot earlier, so now we send quite robust demos,” he explains. “Me and Dom [Want, guitars] are obsessed, sometimes you can base a song entirely around production.”
It’s not just production they’re looking to step up either, as talk circles back around to the mammoth upcoming tour, Josh is quick to recognise that it’ll be different to the last run of dates. “A lot of shows sold out on the last tour, although they weren’t massive, they were complete house party raves,” he explains excitedly. “I remember watching Foals when I was a kid and thinking, ‘I want that atmosphere’. We played tiny venues, and it was just fucking nuts,” he says, adding: “This time, they’re a lot bigger.”
Taken from the May issue of Dork – pick up your copy below. Larkins tour the UK from 1st December, and take part in Dork’s online festival Homeschool from 8th-10th May, visit homeschoolfest.com for more info.
Words: Samantha Daly