This week sees Legss release their new EP, Fester; three long years after they captured our hearts with the piquant lyricism and unhinged highs of their sophomore EP Doomswayers.
This new collection of tracks are the sound of a band who have remained patient in the face of national hype – taking their time to establish what it is that they want to do with their sound and returning in a blaze of glory. Early teaser ‘The Landlord’ revisits the suffocatingly ramshackle delivery of Legss’ older cuts, while Fester‘s titular track offers a taste of the EP’s more expansive elements; with loud-quiet dynamics facing off against one another between meandering currents of sparse instrumentation.
We spoke with the quartet before they took to the stage at the fabled Lexington in north London in celebration of Fester‘s imminent release.
How have the last 3 years looked for Legss?
Like an overly-dressed man in work clothes, sweating after cycling, standing at a self-checkout service with his helmet still on, waiting for someone to come and verify his age for a mid-range bottle of IPA, unsure of where to look, but not altogether unhappy.
The new EP opens with swelling, atmospheric chords on ‘Motto’, is that a string section? Or reverb-heavy guitar notes?
A mix of both and more. We wanted to bookend the EP with something ambient, almost to cosset the listener for what is within, like the soft outer of a peach, just on the turn, shielding something inedible.
What informed the shifts into post-rock on the new EP?
I’d say we’ve always had elements of post-rock, but specifically on this EP we wanted to push our dynamics further; make the heavier bits heavier and the lighter bits lighter. Stark dynamics and clean guitars interrupted by self-aware distortion feels like standard post-rock tropes, and so it wasn’t really intentional, but our approach to writing this time seemed to mirror those styles a lot more than before.
London, or at least the idiosyncrasies of living in the capital, feels like an ongoing presence throughout your lyrics in both old and new tracks. Is this a conscious influence when you’re writing?
On [debut EP] Doomswayers it was very conscious. Lyrically, I wanted to come up with a new voice, or new narratives, for a city already dying under the weight of the millions of words written about it. I felt there was something new to say about the changing face of the city. On this EP I haven’t had the same impulse, or I’ve realised I’m not the person to be writing those new words about the city, so I’ve sort of reverted to letting the melody lead in terms of inspiration, though there is obviously a lot of London still in there because that’s where I live.
The new EP is more textured and musically ambitious than previous releases; has there been a change in process that you adopt to put these tracks together?
Yes, the process has been the main thing that has changed. Unlike before, with these songs we chipped away at them bit by bit, recording demos more regularly, which meant we had more time to play about and question what sort of music we wanted to write not only now but in the future. This led to more introspective, vulnerable songwriting, and an emotionally richer sound. Our Louis was producing it all in his bedroom, building a wider sonic world for the project, until we met Balázs Altsach who co-produced, engineered and mixed the whole thing. Balázs gave the music what it deserved and we couldn’t have
done it without him.
How do the Legss that are releasing Fester differ from the band who put out the Doomswayers EP in 2020?
Honestly, mostly unchanged. Even though we have proper jobs now, and state51 have come on board, we still have the same energy and belief that we had, and we feel that’s only getting stronger with the new songs we’re writing.
photo credit: The Reids