On the first listen of Regressive Left‘s impassioned new single ‘Take The Hit’, it’d be easy to make the classic comparison to older art-rock and post-punk heavyweights like Talking Heads or Gang of Four. However, the trio are part of the vital experimental scene flourishing in London right now, slotting right in amongst a generation of bands that have been shaped by the untouchable Speedy Wunderground label and iconic venues like the Windmill (think Squid and Black Country, New Road.)
Having released their debut single ‘Eternal Returns’ last year, Regressive Left returned with ‘Take The Hit’ in March, attacking capitalism and neoliberalism to a backdrop of punchy rhythms and squealing guitars. With a Windmill headline planned for October, the band are now ready to hit the live circuit and make their own mark on the London scene.
Where do you guys draw most of your musical inspiration?
Our biggest shared inspiration is the recent London Jazz scene. The three of us followed it closely from when it started kicking off – I’d say it’s probably what started Regressive Left. That and being locked down. Obviously, we’re a ‘guitar band’, but that scene modernised a genre that was maybe beginning to feel a little corporate, a little removed from its roots, and at the same time they put their own distinct stamp on it – if we could replicate that even a little bit, I’d be very happy.
Then there’s the obvious stuff – DFA Records, Talking Heads, Liquid Liquid, ESG. A bit like the London Jazz scene, we’re reinterpreting American stuff as British. Even the Bowie we love is Young Americans Bowie. Musically and politically, we’re not very patriotic.
Your new single Take The Hit is very politically charged. Can you tell us a bit about where the impetus to write this song came from?
I was reading about the financial crisis. It was a book called Against Creativity. And just thinking about how no one actually responsible for the crisis faced any repercussions. There was just one guy from Credit Suisse that was sentenced as a token gesture in 2014. But normal people paid the price with austerity, and in this country, ‘the Left’ – if we can call them that – paid the political price. There’s a long tradition of mildly leftist/social democratic governments taking the hit for capitalism’s greatest failures. That’s why some people call the Labour Party capitalism’s B Team.
How do you three approach the song-writing process?
Usually I bring something to the band, the skeleton of a song, loops and basslines, and we just jam over it. Then we listen back to the jam and dissect it. Trying out different beats, different chords, different melodies, until it comes together.
How and where do you see yourselves within the current UK (and particularly London) music scene?
Honestly, we have no idea. We’re always listening to new bands and trying to compare ourselves against them, but it’s impossible to have an impartial view of your own music. It’s early days for us – everything so far has been half accidental so who knows what we’ll do next.
What are your hopes and aspirations as a band for the rest of 2021?
We’re talking about potential tour dates now, which sounds terrifying considering none of us have really left the house in a year. For me personally, I’d love to be able to meet all the people that have started working with us in an actual pub as opposed to over a laptop screen. Fingers crossed everyone gets vaccinated and we can start playing shows. All props to the NHS for picking up the government’s slack.