Live At Leeds In The Park: Molly Payton: “No cheese toasties available? Instant red flag”

Set to play Dork's back-to-back stages at Live At Leeds In The Park this weekend, we grabbed Molly Payton for a quick catch up.
Photo credit: Lewis Vorn

With festival season finally starting to rev its engine, four days off at the start of June feel like a real gift after two disrupted years of pandemic sponsored chaos – and if there’s one place you can bet we’re eager to get back to, it’s Live at Leeds.

But this year, there’s a difference. The knock to the calendar caused by a worldwide shutdown has allowed the traditional inner-city new music extravaganza to make some changes. That long-established multi-venue blowout – usually held over the May bank holiday – has moved to October after last year’s successful return in a later slot. That earlier slot in the calendar hasn’t been abandoned though. With a little shift back into a traditionally sunnier month, 2022 will see the first edition of Live at Leeds: In The Park, taking place at Temple Newsam. The original home of Leeds Festival, and current location for the northern leg of Slam Dunk, it’ll welcome some exciting names this Saturday, 4th June.

From Bombay Bicycle Club and The Vaccines to Sports Team, Holly Humberstone, Easy Life, Arlo Parks, Alfie Templeman and Lauran Hibberd, it’s a bit of an indie pilgrimage. But that’s not all. We’ve got our own stage featuring some exciting new talent, and a brilliant little twist.

Dork’s tent will feature not one, but two stages. Running back-to-back, there’ll always be something happening – no long gaps or waiting around for us.  With The Mysterines, Kid Kapichi, ADMT, Coach Party, Courting, Finn Askew, Kynsy, Lime Garden, L’objectif, Molly Payton, Porij, Sfven and Zuzu, it’s gonna be brilliant.

In the build-up, we grabbed hold a few of the acts playing to judge their mood ahead of the big day. Molly Payton definitely has her priorities right. Bring on the cheese toasties.

Hi Molly, how’s it going? Are we interrupting anything fun?
Hey! Things are going pretty good. I played a gig last night, and I’m feeling pretty dusty this morning, so I suspect I won’t be doing anything too fun today.

It’s been a few months since you released your mini-album, what are you on with at the moment? Is new music coming soon?
New music is most definitely coming soon; I’ve been writing madly since ‘Slack’ came out, and I’m pretty sure it’s my best stuff yet. We had some hold ups industry side, which is why it’s taken so long to put something out, but that’s all sorted now, and I’m ready to go!

You’re playing Dork’s stage at Live At Leeds: In The Park – are you going to be around all day?
We’ll be staying for the day for sure.

Are there any other acts you’re looking forward to seeing, or catching up with?
Will definitely have to see The Vaccines, also Arlo Parks and Lime Garden. I saw Lime Garden at The Great Escape last week, and they were awesome. I was hammered and exhausted and wearing the wrong shoes, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again under better circumstances.

What are the key ingredients for a good festival, do you think?
A good range of bands for all different moods is important; you need acts you can jump around and scream to and then acts that you can lie on the grass and cry to a bit as you recover the next day. A good age range is great, if there isn’t a couple in their 60s in front of you who have obviously just done coke for the first time since their kids left for uni, and a barely-18-year-old next to them who’s on his second beer and about to throw up, then is it even a festival? The other key element to a good festival in my book is the food. No cheese toasties available? Instant red flag. If I’m drunk and hungry (drungry) at 10pm on Day 3 of a festival and I don’t get my kebab/burger/pizza fixing, I will throw the toys out of the cot.

How do you prepare for spending so long on the road and in muddy fields?
I have a really awesome band that makes touring very easy. My boyfriend is my drummer, so I have hugs available at all time. My guitarist and bassist are awesome and were probably touring before I even left primary school, so they’re really patient and easygoing. I think the trick is to not party too much. I want to be doing this for my whole life, so I can’t be drinking a bottle of whisky every night and ordering pizza at two in the morning. The new rock and roll is eating your daily fruit and veg and trying to work in some exercise every few days. I sound like my mother.

If you were to book your own all-dayer, who would you want on the bill?
Big thief and Pinegrove for sure. They’re my two favourite bands at the moment, and I love them to bits. I love Fontaines D.C., and IDLES is always fun. Black Midi, this band called Keg I saw at TGE who were easily the best gig I’ve ever been to. Alex G, slow pulp, Three Quarter Marathon, The Smashing Pumpkins, blink-182 and Elton John. I know I probably forgot some of my faves, but that’s who comes to mind off the top of my head.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your Yorkshire pudding making skills?
0 at making them, 10 at consuming them.

What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you at a festival?
I was at Green Man in Wales, and I’d had a huge night and lost my friends somewhere around 2am. I was exhausted and went and sat down next to a bonfire to recover, and a chick leans over with a mug full of hot chocolate and Baileys for me because I ‘looked like I needed it’. Was a small moment, but that was my first ever festival, so it’s stuck in my brain.

And what’s the worst?
The same weekend at Green Man, my best mate Sof and I had brought a 10-man tent just in case any of our friends who were heading back that night changed their minds and needed somewhere to crash. We arrived at the festival very late and went straight to our stage to line-check and do our set, and afterwards, it started to rain lightly. We made the executive decision to go have a ‘couple beers’, and suddenly it was 11pm, pitch black and pouring with rain. Sof and I spent an hour heroically trying to set this monster of a tent up in a pool of mud and tears. At one point, I went and sat in our van and left her out there on her own for ten minutes which is probably my worst moment as a friend (sorry, Sof, love you). Finally, this older couple who were in a tent next to us took pity and offered us a spare tent they’d set up for their friends who hadn’t shown up. They even cooked us a big breakfast next morning. True heroes.

What else have you got coming up over the summer?
I have some music coming out!! I’m playing a few festivals and gigs here and there, Live at Leeds, All Together Now, and Boardmasters, to name a few. I’m also heading back to NZ/AUS for a secret, very exciting something that will be announced soon.

Live At Leeds In The Park takes place this Saturday, 4th June at Temple Newsham, Leeds. You can grab tickets here.

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