Josh, Dom, Henry and Joe are Larkins – a young guitar-pop band with a tidal swell of momentum behind them. Their sound has drawn frequent comparisons to the likes of The 1975 and Love Fame Tragedy with the Manchester Evening News tipping them as ‘Manchester’s next arena act’. We caught up with guitarist Dom ahead of their show at Also Known As in Banbury, to chart their meteoric rise from the small town of Glossop, to selling out Manchester’s 2,000-capacity Albert Hall.
How’s the tour been so far?
It's been mad – much better than we ever expected. Every night has been rammed. Southampton last night was unbelievable, Tunbridge Wells was absolute carnage – it went off.
For you guys, it must still just feel like mates playing music together – is it only when you look back that you see those big milestones?
Definitely – I think when things are happening you just go with the flow and don't realise what you're doing. But when we look back at stuff like Albert Hall, playing SXSW or getting our first play on Radio 1 and stuff like that, we definitely view them more now as milestones. You get a bit more proud of it, especially when you have time to just sit back and reflect after a show.
People seem to travel from quite far to come and see your shows.
Yeah! Last year we did quite a few dates in Germany, I think we were in Berlin at the time, and it was a pretty dead show – it wasn't packed out or anything – but we got talking to this couple afterwards who said they’d driven over from the Netherlands specifically to see us. They had ferried it over and driven across Europe so that was mad. Whenever we're at a show down south as well, we're like ‘oh you should come up to a Manchester show,’ and a lot of people do, so we get people coming up from like London and places like that.
There are a lot of comparisons floating around, about you and other artists. Do you have to make an effort to keep those names out of your head?
Definitely, everyone loves a comparison. We're obviously influenced by a lot of different styles of music, but we're always going in with complete open minds about what we want to do with a track. We know exactly how we want it to sound so we just go with the flow and make the most natural sound that we can. I don't think we ever try and imitate anyone in that way and we never try to make a ‘part two’ of something if you like. We always try to be as natural to what we listen to at that time and what we're inspired by.
You’ve described your track ‘Not Enough Love’ as a love letter to your hometown – what’s Glossop like, and is it easier to look back on it with affection now that you’ve left?
Glossop is an interesting little place; completely in its own little bubble in the countryside. If you were there you wouldn't know you were anywhere near a big city like Manchester, but a half an hour train journey out and its completely different. It’s very rural, a lot of farms and stuff like that, so in some ways it's amazing to grow up there because you have all these open spaces to explore and you can see a lot of the English countryside. It’s a pretty beautiful place but it's very much wrapped up in its own blanket – not very multicultural and there's not a lot going on in terms of music, so I think it was massive for us going into Manchester after we finished high school. That was a big deal for us. When we go back now though, you see a lot more of the positives about it, but it's lovely to be able to come back into Manchester and get the hustle and bustle of it. The track, ‘Not Enough Love’ did kind of stem from the times when we grew up there and the relationships which formed in that place, which are more important than they're made out to be, because they form you as a human.
Do you write in a collaborative way?
I think it is quite collaborative. Josh is the main lyrics man so he’ll come with the track lyrically with a chord base, I'll add the riff around it, and it sort of gets passed around and everyone fits their own parts and then the track then evolves to fit those parts. We work with people like Luke Fitton, who's a producer and songwriter – we worked with him on ‘Not Enough Love’. I think it’s important to get other people’s opinions to make different songs. One thing about our set is that we try and make it flow as much as possible and have more than one genre of music in there. We try and make as much sound as possible and have the ebbs and flows really prominent in there.
Do you remember the first time that you had your lyrics sung back to you?
Manchester has always been really good for that. It's been our hub for so long and we've only just started getting a little bit of recognition outside of there. Even when we were playing 300-cap venues in Manchester before playing in London, Leeds or anywhere like that, people were singing back to us even then. It’s always been really special for us to play those Manchester shows, which is why we try and take it up a notch every time we come back.
How does the band deal with the touring lifestyle?
Especially with this one, which is like 35 dates or something like that, we've made conscious decisions to look after ourselves. We're not drinking loads; we don't drink before a show or anything. Also, because you can lose your mind a little bit when you're travelling so much and not getting loads of sleep, it’s important to be there for each other because it can be quite an emotional rollercoaster. You're getting up so high every night and then coming right down, so it’s a constant flow of adrenaline, it’s mad.
Are you guys going home for Christmas?
Yeah 100% back to Glossop for a bit. I think we finish around the 21st of December, so it’s pretty late on but yeah, we'll be going home to spend a bit of time with the family.