‘We lived together, we worked together, we partied together’ - Liverpool’s Outfit talk bonding, playing and new LP Slowness…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 8 Jun 2015
  • min read
Two albums in, debut Performance and ace follow up Slowness (due for release on 14 June via Memphis Industries), and Liverpool band Outfit are showing off stadium-sized sounding ambitions.

Despite various members being scattered across different countries and cities, the band have battled against geography to make music together.

Their hard work is paying off with their new music beautifully intertwining weird ambience, electronic bleeps and anthemic choruses. Tapping the likes of Talk Talk and producer Nicolas Jaar for inspiration, excitingly the band believe their best work is yet to come.

Check them out live over the summer and find out from frontman Andrew Hunt what lies at their beating musical heart in our below interview...

What made you want to start making music?

I remember when I was about eight or so, some people came to school and played percussion instruments, giving us a demo in our assembly.

They had marimbas, vibraphones, that kind of thing. I remember realising while watching that they obviously did it a lot and looked like they were having loads of fun. I also realised that they had more or less dedicated their lives to doing something they loved and at that age it seemed like a magical life, an exciting alternative to the normal trajectory that school is all about.

How did Outfit first get together?

We lived together, we worked together, we partied together - it happened the way it always happens.

What was the band’s big break?

Just a series of medium size breaks really. Our big break is probably still to come.

Slowness is your new, second record - what did you aim to achieve with the album? And how does it differ from your debut? In the press, there’s much made of the record being made between New York, London and Liverpool. What did this distance add to the songs?

It made it difficult, which meant we had to really commit to making it happen, and make sure that every song counted. It’s a pretty anguished record really, very much born out of our various personal situations at the time. As a band, we can’t lie, our music is always reflecting our lives.

How does the creative process work with the band? How has it evolved from the release of Performance?

We limited ourselves a lot this time, stuck to a much smaller pallet of sounds and tried to say more with less. I wrote lots of songs in New York and a few in Liverpool and we locked ourselves away and tried to make our own little world for the songs to live in. In some ways it was a much more collaborative album, each player contributed a lot of personality to the arrangements. I think the songs I wrote were more focused than on Performance and less overtly influenced by the outside world. We trusted our intuition more on this album.

Where do you look for musical inspiration? Any particular artists or bands?

On this album we ended up being more influenced by ideas and writing than specific bands. The album is named after a short novel by Milan Kundera and the instrumental on the album, Wind or Vertigo is stolen from an Italo Calvino chapter name. That said I think for a while we’ve been trying to become more concise and coherent with our work, both musically and emotionally. Bands like Talk Talk and Portishead have managed to keep making big ambitious sounding music without losing sight of the details which make something feel really personal.

Where do you record? Do you have a dedicated studio?

We’re lucky enough to have our own dedicated studio space. We’ve actually just moved it to a pretty dilapidated old warehouse in Liverpool docks. We reinvested most of the money from our first album into developing our studio so that we can all have access to a good quality recording environment, to make Outfit sustainable but also to allow us all to do other things too.

Who would you love to work with? 

I’m not keen to collaborate much more than we already have. Being in a band is a huge process of give and take. Even if there’s a leader, it’s still a conversation between musicians and sometimes there are turbulent creative forces which are difficult to navigate. We get on very well, but I think five people is a lot of collaboration. It might be nice to work with a producer for our next record though, we’ve always done everything ourselves and we’ve learnt a great, perhaps enough to let someone else finally help us!

You played gigs at the likes of with Everything Everything as well as the 6 Music Festival and Festival No. 6 - how important is playing live to the band?

It’s a very separate part. When it’s good, it’s good, but it’s difficult and requires a lot of energy and spirit. Sometimes it’s hard to all be on the same page with that. I like being onstage and showing off, but I’m addicted to the permanence of the musical object and recorded sound. When I think of the best times we’ve had as a band they are always on the road or onstage though.

Have you any tips of advice you could give new bands that you’ve picked up?

Be open minded and listen to other people talk about their projects and ways of working but trust your gut and only make music you love. It needs to be satisfying for you even if it sells no copies and everyone hates it.

What does the future have in store?

Just shows until the end of the year. Then another album? I think our biggest and best music is yet to come. We’re ambitious and always want more and to be better so the next one will be that.

Find Outfit on Facebook.

Outfit’s live dates are below

18 June - The Kazimier, Liverpool
19 June - Best Kept Secret, Netherlands
17 July - Latitude Festival, Beccles
08 Sep - Louisiana, Bristol
09 Sep - The Hope, Brighton
10 Sep - Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
11 Sep - Bodega, Nottingham
14 Sep - Pop up du label, Paris (France)
15 Sep - Paradiso, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
17 Sep - Berghain Kantine, Berlin (Germany)
18 Sep - Kleiner Donner, Hamburg
19 Sep - Incubate Festival, Utrecht
20 Sep - Witloof Bar, Brussels
21 Sep - Electrowerkz, London