The Lock and Keys are a 3 piece rock band from the Leeds area of Yorkshire. Taking musical cues from modern punk rock and turn of the century emo, but trying to retain an honest and authentic British (Yorkshire) twang to their sound and lyrical subject matter.
Consisting of singer/guitarist Niall, drummer Stuart and bassist Rik, they were originally a 4 piece with Niall’s wife, Liena playing keyboards and providing backing vocals but due to pregnancy and work commitments, she stopped performing with them.
The band members are all early/mid thirties and been playing and touring in bands for at least 15 years, with a combined back catalogue of over 20 releases on various UK indepentant labels and tours that had taken them to every corner of Britain and many countries across Europe.
Already having the experience of cutting their teeth and learning the ropes, they were able to jump a few rungs on the ladder and use some of the contacts and friendships from previous bands they had played in before.
Forming in 2008, they quickly released a 4 track demo and promptly set off touring with Alexisonfire side project the Black Lungs. With gigs and tours coming thick and fast they had a very busy first year. The following couple of years saw them release an EP and debut album ‘late nights, good friends’, and perform alongside what looks like a list of a who’s who of US punk and indie rock before Liena had to leave the band to concentrate on more important aspects of adult life.
Recently they have just recorded and released a new mini album ‘Songs of Hope, Songs of Despair’. Their first as a 3 piece, showing a rawer sound but losing none of the hooks and pop edge to the songwriting. We can confirm it is a corker and has been playing in our car for weeks. Find it here
We also, caught up with their lead singer and guitarist Niall at The Volksworld Show, and asked him a few questions about the band.
We know you got to support one of your big influences The Get Up Kids last year, how the hell was it?
Get up kids was a great show. We had kind of been off the map for a while and not really done many high profiles shows so it was nice to play to a sold out room again. They’re definitely one of my major influences and I’ve seen them play quite a lot since about 1999. They seem to be back on form and had a great set list for this tour. James Dwees the keyboard player and main man in Reggie and the Full Effect was really nice and very complementary about us. I have to admit tho, playing a bigger support slot is never the most fun show for me. I feel much more at home with a packed and sweaty small room show, playing on the floor rather than a stage, people in your face, amps cranked up and just a vocal PA. Always the most fun shows!
Who did you guys listen to growing up?
I guess bands who’ve influenced The Lock and Keys more directly are The Loved Ones, The Get Up Kids, Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, Saves the Day, Samiam, The Hold Steady, Say Anything, Texas is The Reason, Grade. The list is endless, when I was 13-14 and Green Day released Dookie it really opened my eyes to that new wave of punk that was bursting through, got me in to Rancid and other bands from that era. Then I discovered heavier stuff and more emotional music that was more underground I suppose. Bands like At The Drive In, and Boysetsfire got me into Botch and Coalesce. Stuff that was really heavy but intelligent, and still had links to the Emo and punk scenes. Then stuff like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and early Fall Out Boy that was far more mainstream was coming out and I kinda found them a guilty pleasure, more pop rock than what I had been listening too but I guess kind of influenced by what I had been listening to earlier aswell.
How did you form?
We formed by being friends who had played in separate bands who regularly played together. The Leeds punk scene was just a huge melting pot of amazing bands with very varied styles at the time. Stu was playing in ..and none of them knew they were robots (emo Rock) and Send More Paramedics (zombie thrash), Rik was playing in a band called Errander (chaotic metal) and I was doing a band called d-rail ( metal/hardcore )
We were all friends and had regularly toured together. Stu and I did a short lived emo Rock band called the Minor Fall. We really gelled and found we were on the same page when writing stuff. I was starting to sing a bit more and fancied doing something a bit more Pop song structured as every band I’d been in before was very linear and technical.
We asked Rik, as he was just a hell of a bass player and thought if the band was only gonna have one guitar he’d really fill it out and bring something else melodically. My wife (to be at that point) Liena had a background in piano and bands who were kind of the early focus of this band were Motion City Soundtrack, The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary.
How has the transition been from 4 piece to 3 piece?
Obviously when Liena had to leave the band due to work commitments and being pregnant the sound of the band was going to change. Losing the female backing vocals and keyboards meant we had a hole to fill sonically so guitars have to get louder and I had to rethink how I was going to use my vocals dynamically. It was fairly organic though as we had quite often had to practise and write as a 3 piece and done a few shows that way.
Favourite current album?
Current albums I’m really enjoying are from The Menzingers, Modern Baseball and a new discovery to me is a band called ‘Dikembe’
Favourite bands to play with?
Great Bands we are lucky enough to play with regularly from Britain are Cordell, Above Them, Dynamite Dynamite and Track and Field. The UK punk scene is really booming and there are awesome bands from all over the country getting themselves out there and playing week in week out at small venues.
Aims for the future?
Future plans are really just whatever happens, happens. We all have morgages to pay, full time jobs and family’s so the band is a hobby nowadays and not a major focus in life. We write songs really quickly so we’ll keep putting out releases regularly and gigging as much as we can and as much as we get offered. We get together to practise every week which is always a great hang out, we talk shit and take the piss and bang out a few tunes. Just like we have done for the last 8-9 years in this band and individually done since our early teens. I imagine we’ll carry on doing this as it’s pretty much all we know haha!
What are your tour riders, or what would your ultimate ones be?
Tour riders usually consist of just beer if your even lucky enough to get one. I’d always opt for some nice IPA or craft beer, but in reality your more likely to get Fosters or Carling…. Grim!
Food wise, we’re all vegitarians so tend to hunt out done good veggie food places in which ever town your playing in. It used to be options of margerita pizza or chips, but even most backwards places have good veggie options nowadays!