Dead Naked Hippies frontwoman Lucy feels that music is playing a vital role in challenging views on diversity: “Our generation is really chipping away at changing perceptions of social norms. Music and its message are integral to this.” She sees these developments as a result of communicating properly, as well as supporting others: “This generation is very willing to discuss our feelings or lift each other up and that is a really special thing.” These principles are further echoed by the band within their live performances and recorded tracks: “music to us is a primal thing; we feel it is about togetherness and looking out for each other.” Lucy hopes to instill this lasting effect in their live audiences: “we want them to be lost and immersed in what they are seeing, as well as hearing. It would also be great if they were able to connect with what we are saying.”
The band strives to convey their personal experiences within their music in the hope that others who may need that connection can relate. It is their strong bond as a unit that allows them to do so successfully. “We spend as much time having conversations about what we’re going through or seeing and experiencing in life as we do actually writing and playing music. This definitely shapes our songs.” The process also involves immersing themselves in a range of music for inspiration; however, they are adamant they are not driven to create a specific genre: “We aim to stand for creating an organic representation of three young people’s experiences.”
Pursuing a career path within the music industry can bring uncertainty and lack of stability, so it is a learning curve for bands at Dead Naked Hippies’ level: “Navigating the music industry is difficult as there’s no right or wrong answer to how you do it and it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, I guess.” She also notes that juggling the day to day life and band balance can prove intense: “it is hard finding the time to make sure we’re looking after ourselves in among working hard at it, holding down our day jobs and looking after our health!” However, the band feel fortunate and happy to be part of a thriving local underground scene within Leeds: “we’ve had lots of brilliant experiences playing in and around Leeds. There is lots going on to support bands and artists here.” Lucy feels that bands and fans really support one another in their local scene and even notes the importance of one of the venues for them creatively: “We rehearse at Temple of Boom and have done since day one. It’s a very quirky and really important creative little home for us.”
With an array of gigs up and down the country, Dead Naked Hippies are not slackers when it comes to touring but do note that not every gig is always as expected: “every single gig is an experience for us – some amazing & some terrible. That’s the joy of being in a band. Sometimes you learn more and can take really valid lessons away from bad experiences.” Lucy enjoys building up a fanbase and constructing rapport with those on the scene: “It is the best! The people you meet and the conversations we’ve had with people we otherwise might not cross paths with usually.” Remaining mostly positive about touring, she ponders, “I guess the downside is when you get home in the small hours and have work that day.” When not out on the road or locked down in the studio recording material, the band all find downtime to practise hobbies they love – Lucy cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Jacob trying to do his best impression of Tony Hawk and Joe playing the daredevil at bouldering.
The bandmates are not short of opinions nor acknowledgement of social issues and hold a strong stance on the stigma surrounding mental health. Lucy admits to having her own struggles with mental health, saying that it is valuable to know others are in the same predicament: “there is still an unhealthy stigma attached to struggling mentally and this often makes people feel inadequate, weird and worthless.” Music allows Dead Naked Hippies to have a sense of purpose that benefits their mental health, as well as reach out to those in a similar place in their life: “playing music gives us a platform to help ourselves and others too.” Furthermore, the band want to challenge the ideas around gender in music. Although Lucy doesn’t feel she’s experienced negativity as a woman in a band, she is quick to note that comparisons to other bands with women can get tiresome: “It’s kind of looking at ‘girl’ as a genre, and it’s not and it shouldn’t be the case. A lot has to be said for the way we are on the inside.” As the lead in the band, Lucy is a raging force to be reckoned with, packing punches with her roaring vocals both live and on record, so it’s easy to see why she does not wish to be defined by her gender or perceived as a girl in a band. “Gender is to be embraced no matter how you identify, but it shouldn’t shape people’s perceptions of you. We think there’s a lot of power in that.”
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Image by Joe Collinson