The Lounge Society

The Lounge Society: 'I think everyone naturally does write about politics.'

M Magazine chats to The Lounge Society about youth, politics, hometowns and their debut album Tired of Liberty.

Liam Konemann
  • By Liam Konemann
  • 25 Aug 2022
  • min read

It seems lazy to comment on The Lounge Society’s youth. Lazier still to start proceedings with it. Yes, the band are young. And then what?

But The Lounge Society’s age is relevant. Their debut album, Tired of Liberty, is a youth’s eye view on the state of the world, taking in politics and place and adolescence against a backdrop of riotous post-punk. The band are more than aware that their age plays a part in the way that their work sounds, and rather than shrug it off or deny it, they’ve decided to lean in.

‘It’s a youthful, urgent, hopeful album, and that’s quite important,’ says guitarist Hani Paskin-Hussain. ‘We were very aware of it not sounding like a fourth album. All the best debut albums have that thing in common, which is an urgency and a chaos. I think we achieved that. I hope we did, anyway.’

‘It’s frustrating, that mentality of ‘good for their age’. Although they’re probably right, I think that’s a dangerous thought process.'

In some cases, the mention of a band’s youth can feel patronising. It seems to be a pat on the head, almost as if to say ‘isn’t that cute?’ Because of that perception, a lot of young bands prefer to distance themselves from the very thing that sets them apart. That’s not the case for The Lounge Society. 

‘Actually, we’re quite proud of being a 19-year-old band doing what we’re doing,’ Hani says. ‘I think it’s quite important. I don’t want to be a 30-year-old, I want to be what I am now.’

All that being said, there is one thing about conversations around their age that bothers him. While some bands will ask – understandably – why they can’t simply be seen as ‘good’ rather than ‘good for their age’, Hani takes a different view on the sentiment.  ‘It’s frustrating, that mentality of ‘good for their age’. Although they’re probably right, I think that’s a dangerous thought process. You can’t think like that, otherwise you stop. You’ve got to keep trying to do better,’ he says.

If The Lounge Society want to keep developing, then Tired of Liberty is a strong foundation to build on. Lyrically, the album’s messaging digs deep, whether that be shining a light on humanity and mental distress with the emotionally charged No Driver, or examining the foundations of power on tracks like Blood Money and Generation Game‘I think everyone naturally does write about politics, it’s just whether they want to admit it or not. Because everything’s political really, isn’t it?’ says Hani.

The way that The Lounge Society deal with the political has changed since they first started releasing music. An early single, Burn the Heather, was a direct hit against grouse hunting and the associated practice of burning back heather on the Yorkshire moors to drive out the birds.  As time has gone on, though, the band have opted for a more understated approach, addressing a sweep of political and social topics from a more oblique angle. 

Burn the Heather was a quite a direct jab at a specific topic, but that’s quite an old track. We used to want to focus on one specific topic and make it really clear. Burn the Heather and Generation Game both have explicit lyrics in the literal sense. Now, we don’t feel the need to point everything out as much,’ says Hani. ‘I think we feel comfortable enough to write about what we want to write about, and if people can work it out that’s great, but if they can’t it’s also fine.’

‘Lyrically, that’s quite a nice position to be in. When you start out, you want to ruffle some feathers. I don’t think we need to do that anymore, because we’ve already done that,’ he adds.

This development is especially interesting given that Generation Game – the Lounge Society’s first ever single - is the final track on Tired of Liberty. Since it was first released in 2020 as part of Speedy Wunderground’s single series, the track has had a refresh. It’s still recognisably the same song, but the texture has changed. ‘I’m quite proud of that as our first single, because it was a weird first single. ‘It’s like five and a half minutes and it’s talking about all sorts of very intense politics. Referring back to Nazis is quite intense,’ Hani laughs. ‘If something else was our first single, like Burn the Heather, I don’t know that it would have had the same impact. People were talking about it, so I’m quite glad that was the way it was.’

By using the song to close the album, the band have captured managed to show the full spectrum of their progression so far. The re-recorded version blends into the rest of the record, acting as a bridge between then and now. It also signposts the way forward – closing out the era of adolescence and signalling that this is only the beginning. 

‘If we’d stuck the single version on it might have felt a bit weird, because we sound younger,’ says Hani. ‘I can hear that when I listen back to it, which is not a bad thing. But I think sonically, it wouldn’t have worked on the album. The song itself feels appropriate. I think it’s quite fitting, having the first thing we released be the last track on the album. It feels full circle.’

Tired of Liberty does tend to move in cycles, washing in and out as the band played around with the sound. During recording they moved closer to and further away from the microphones, expanding the sound as they went along and hewing to a 1960s, psychedelic style. 

Some of the band’s influences on the album, like the Velvet Underground, immediately bring to mind a particular time and place. In a similar way, through tracks like Burn the Heather and lyrical references to growing up in a Northern town, The Lounge Society have come to be associated with the North West. It’s something they’re passionate about.

'Our philosophy is never give up, never get tired of liberty.'

‘When it came to writing the album, we were in our accommodation in London drinking and finishing the lyrics, at like two in the morning the day before recording, and we found ourselves all four of us wanting to talk about where we live,’ says Hani. ‘It is a beautiful town, and it does have a lot of problems, but we’ll always be quite defensive. I can say that it’s shit at times, but if someone else said that I’d probably be quite offended. But you want to get out and live your life, and that’s a relatable feeling all across the world.’

The Lounge Society are pre-occupied with thoughts of freedom, it seems. Their debut album is wrapped up in it, from the title down. 
‘It relates to our concern that there are powers in the world trying to make people tired of liberty, and trying to impress this feeling of giving up,’ says Hani. ‘Our philosophy is never give up, never get tired of liberty. And that’s really what the album is.’