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February 25, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Lost Fingers: An Interview with the Lookie Loos

Tim Steers & William Page from the Lookie Loos (conducted before Bodega show, 9th February with Family Cactus and Pyramid Scheme)

It’s been an exciting few months for Hamilton pop-rock four-piece the Lookie Loos. From opening for the Veils at a couple of shows in November to playing a slot on the local stage at the Big Day Out, these guys are taking every opportunity and running with it. Salient music co-editor Tom Baragwanath caught up with Tim (vocals, guitars) and William (drums) for a brief word before a recent gig at the newly-refurbished Bodega.

Where are you from, and how did you come to be playing music with your current lineup?

Tim: Basically I came here from England to study music, and I met Alex (Mustard), our bass player, in the course that I was doing. He happened to be studying sport, but he’s a great bass player, so we started writing together. We’ve been through a few different line ups, we got William (Page, drums) and Dan (Reese, guitar) on board in March last year, and then it just turned into this really exciting project.

I’ve heard that Alex, your bass player, lost a couple of fingers a while back. What happened there?

Tim: It’s a good story, actually. Nobody really knows about it besides us, so nobody really asks. We were recording the EP (Timing Is Everything), and we got to the point where we’d done bass and drums, and about a week after that, while we were putting some shows together, Alex lost his finger in an accident at work. He was working at a carpentry place to make a bit of cash while we were recording the EP, and ended up losing two fingers off his left hand. So now he’s only got three fingers, but the most amazing thing is, he just plays with two. From there we employed a couple of friends to help us out while we were still playing shows. Luckily Alex got the all-clear, and now he’s just playing using two fingers. He’s still getting ACC, which is great. He lends us money now and then.

You recently played a slot on the local stage at the Big Day Out, how was that?

Tim: Really good, actually. It was amazing.

William: We couldn’t have asked for better. The band played sweet, the crowd fed off the energy, it was brilliant.

Tim: When we took to the stage, there were maybe three or four hundred people in the front row, and we knew most of them from Hamilton. We had a half hour slot, and by the end of the half hour the whole courtyard was just full of people watching us. It was great. They were coming out of the Boiler Room sweating like crazy, and just listened to us for a while.

How did the opportunity to play a Big Day Out slot come about?

Tim: Well we released the EP on November 2nd, and two weeks before that I’d emailed the Veils, because the Coshercots had pulled out of supporting them in Wellington. I just said, ‘look we know the Coshercots, they’re good guys, we play similar stuff, do you mind if we jump on, we’ll play for free’, and they had us open for them in Auckland and Wellington. Two days after the Wellington show the organisers gave us a call and offered us a spot at the Big Day Out. We said yeah, alright. It was amazing.

What were some of the major obstacles you encountered during the formation of the band?

Tim: When we first started, me and Alex were just looking around for people. We didn’t know how big the band was going to end up. We were just looking for people to join. It’s funny, within the space of a week, we managed to find William, and Dan followed soon after. I met him at a house party, we had a sweet guitar battle.

Did you have an idea of what you wanted to sound like before you finalised the current line-up? Were there any bands you wanted to emulate?

Tim: From my point of view, I’ve had a good grounding in songwriting from growing up with a lot of English music, listening to a lot of Paul Weller, and a lot of other brit-pop bands, stuff like that. It was good to be able to come over here and be around Alex and Dan who had listened to a lot more varied music, not just brit-pop.

William: My Mum brought me up on Reggae, you know, uncle Bob, UB40, and my old man brought me up on the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks, the Clash, a lot of punk. I didn’t really get into it until I was a teenager, though. Ultimately, mother and father know best.

What’s the next step for the Lookie Loos?

Tim: Well, we’re keen to record a video, then get a single out. We’re probably heading to Oz in June. We’ll head to Melbourne, then Sydney. At the end of the day we’re tossing up whether or not we can pull off an album yet. We’re keen to do it really soon, though.

William: We need to use the momentum we’ve got at the moment. Why stop? When we started the band we went from walking to jogging to running, and now we’re just sprinting, deciding what to do to stop us from tripping up.

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