Learning their craft while at university Desensitised have been a familiar sight on the underground circuit for some time now. More recently they’ve taken a noticeable step up which will culminate with their first full album release later this year. Gary Trueman spoke to the Libby, Charlotte and Claire about being taken seriously as a band, avoiding the Pledge Music debacle and which one would get eaten first if they were trapped on a desert island.
Tell us a bit about the origins of Desensitised.
Charlotte: “It was 2011 when we first officially started playing together. This was when we were teenagers. Libby was playing acoustic guitar and I was singing and we knew Claire played drums and wanted her to join us. At first she was reluctant, but we got her to join. We did used to have some boys in the band, but we don’t like boys so we got rid of them haha. They left, the abandoned us, and we had to rebuild ourselves.”
So how long have you been a three piece?
Charlotte: “We were a five piece for a good few years. We’ve been a three piece since about 2013. We went through a strange patch where we were trying to rediscover ourselves. I used to just sing in the band. I never used to play an instrument. I’d taught myself guitar but didn’t play it live much. I just used it to write songs. I’ve had to teach myself bass. Libby used to teach me and get frustrated with me because it just wouldn’t get it.”
Libby: “Charlotte’s got a thing where she won’t listen to the end of the sentence then do it wrong 20 times.”
Charlotte: “This was when we were all in Uni and we didn’t have driving licences or money. It was difficult to get to gigs.”
Libby: “We’ve got this ethos whereby if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. So it was like Charlotte your hands are free you’re going to have to learn bass now.”
Charlotte: “The last couple of years is where we’ve started to get our act together and have progressed more.”
So have you noticed people taking you more seriously in the last couple of years?
Charlotte: “This year, because we’ve taken ourselves more seriously. In terms of song writing I think we’ve finally found who we are as a band. Before we were just trying out different things. I think that now we feel confident in ourselves we feel the songs that will be on the new album are really strong.
Libby: “We’ve always believed in what we were doing, and we’ve always taken ourselves seriously, but sometimes you just amble along until you really know what you’re doing. We’re still learning too, because we have to do all of the jobs, the merchandise, setting up a website, running profit margins, t-shirt designs. We’re doing it all ourselves whilst trying to write songs and going to work full time to pay for recording and everything. We’re still ambling along but now we’ve got a vision and we’ve got a purpose. Now we can drive and we’ve got a bit of money from our jobs to get us to that place people are starting to notice that we’re investing more time into it, and it’s starting to pay off. It’s nice to see people sit up and listen. I think once the album is out it will continue to grow.”
So, the new album will be coming out soon. Does it have a title? Is it recorded? Is it mastered?
Charlotte: “It’s fully recorded and will be going to be mastered at the end of February. The release date is May 18th. The new album is called Sister Psychosis, and we’re really excited about it. We’ve been working very hard over the past couple of months planning everything for it. We’re going to be releasing another single before the album is released and there will be more music videos. We’ve got a lot of plans in terms of promoting the album.”
There has been quite a lot of controversy recently about Pledge Music. Are you going to do any kind of crowd funding and if so how?
Charlotte: “Our original plan was Pledge Music and we were going to get the ball rolling and then this happened.”
Libby: “We saw our friends The Kut, Hands Off Gretel and Tokyo Taboo seemed to be having a really good response to Pledge Music, it seemed to be the platform to use. And now we feel we’ve dodged this bullet.”
Charlotte: “We actually read each others tarot cards a few days before it happened and mine said you wil avoid being deceived. So the plan now is we’re going to do it all ourselves DIY. We’ve revamped our website to make it look a bit more polished and we’re going to set up our album campaign page on there. We’re going to build the buzz up on it and hope that people want to hear the album.”
You said you all have driving licences now so how does travelling to gigs work. Do you have the same person driving while someone else covers another aspect of live shows?
Libby: “You do not want Charlotte to be driving.”
Charlotte: “I have driven to a fair few gigs.”
Libby: “There was nearly a temper tantrum and tears when she had to go to Derby one time. Charlotte is slow and angry and a nightmare to be in a car with. She’s in a huff being a sat nav. I drive most of the time and Claire does her bit as well, but Charlotte isn’t even any good as a sat nav. We just bicker.
Charlotte: “We’re like an old married couple that bicker all the time. She’s been my best friend since primary school so….”
Libby: “We just have to shout at each other. It is funny. We do it for our own entertainment really.”
Charlotte: “It makes other people uncomfortable because they don’t realise that it’s just a joke.”
Do you argue over what music gets played in the car as well?
Libby: “Charlotte takes over everything all of the time for ever and ever amen. When she comes to my house she opens the fridge, puts the TV on. When we go to our friend Andy’s house after practice she just takes over his laptop. With our music taste we like similar things but I like it a bit heavier or pop punk and Charlotte likes old fashioned rock and roll.”
Claire: “I’ll either go heavier like Five Finger Death Punch or indie music like Arctic Monkeys.”
Imagine your new album is out and you’re doing really well. You can choose any band to play a 3000 capacity venue with. Who would you choose?
Libby: “I can’t pick just one. I would pick Blink 182, Green Day and Halestorm.”
Claire: “Pendulum and Arctic Monkeys.”
Charlotte: “I’m going to be a bit more obscure. I really love a band called Honeyblood from Scotland. I adore Honeyblood, and Deep Valley as well.”
If you ended up trapped on a desert island which band member would you eat first and why?
Libby: “Charlotte hasn’t got much meat on her. What if we all chopped a bit off and shared it?”
Charlotte: “I’m not chopping owt off, you guys can contribute to that.”
Claire: “Charlotte would be the last one standing and would just brutally kill everyone.”
Charlotte: “I’d just go into the sea and kill a shark. I don’t think I could eat Libby or Claire. I’d rather starve.
Interview and photos by Gary Trueman