NME Festival blog: Stats make absurdist funk-pop perfect for fans of LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads


Sometimes a song comes across the NME desks that unites the office like nothing else can. A couple years ago, it was the rush of Artificial Pleasure’s ‘Make It Worth Your While’, then soon after, producer Bullion came ashore with his nautical hit ‘Blue Pedro’, which playfully chops up the theme tune of a certain BBC children’s show. In between the bickering, we rallied around those songs in the best of times and the worst of times. ‘Blue Pedro’ now regularly finishes with a round of applause.

Stats’ ‘Lose It’ is the latest to fill that void. It’s a thumping and addictive pop hit that builds to a staggering height, with a infectious chorus and a killer synth line for the finale. If you dig LCD Soundsystem rave-indebted moments, and the absurdist lyricism of Talking Heads’ David Byrne, you need to hear it immediately.

Thankfully, there’s so much more where that comes from. ‘Other People’s Lives’, the band’s debut album out February 15th, is full of them. From the tongue-in-cheek ‘Raft’ or the cult-like feel to ‘Rhythm Of The Heart’, it’s a groove-laden affair.

We caught up with Ed Seed, the band’s founder, to talk about how touring with Dua Lipa, record, and, er, The Beano influenced their debut album.

NME: How did you settle on the title ‘Other People’s Lives’?

Ed: “I originally wanted to call it ‘There Is A Story That I Tell About My Life’ after the song. We’re encouraged by the world to think about your life as a story, and as something where you’re constantly moving forward, like the protagonist like in a film or in a book. Things happen that are events on your journey but that that journey is essentially a thing, and it is going in one direction and it’s moving forward. But the actual experience of life is nothing like that, and these stories, these fictions, this structure that you give to your experience is misleading. And it’s jarring because really your story is a total mess, and it lacks coherence.”

“‘Other People’s Lives’ seems more to encapsulate the disconnect you can feel when looking at the stories we tell. Like, when you look at other people’s lives through social media, they seem to make a lot more sense than yours does. They’re just full of adventure, and passion, and they’re always doing things that are wonderful.”

Is your life full of similar moments?

“But it here was all of this stuff because of my own personal situation becoming a father, having a baby with my partner, living at home, when I’ve been touring with pop artists for years, but living at home. There’s a hallucinatory almost trippy sort of quality to having a new baby, too. It reminded me of this The Beano cover from when I was a kid. The cover had Dennis the Menace reading The Beano and it would infinitely regress into the picture and show him holding the same copy forever. I remember being a kid and being completely spellbound by this touch of infinity, that like ‘Oh shit, this a thing. What’s this?’ Maybe this album is like that trippy experience, but for grownups.”

In between working on this album, you’ve been on tour with a couple of pop stars…

“My first big gig was with La Roux, and everything about that just blew my mind. I’d just been in indie artists for years but they didn’t really get anywhere. And then suddenly through a few happy accidents, I was playing with La Roux, and I was completely out of my depth, and they were very indulgent of me. I then joined Dua Lipa as her guitarist a few years back.”

Was touring on a pop schedule a challenge for you?

“I’m not going to say it’s difficult – you’re not saving lives – but it’s gruelling and that’s what the job is. If you look at it from the outside, and you’re just like ‘Oh yeah, going on a plane, to exotic places all around the world, playing pop music and then going to a hotel.’ Like, it is that, but if you still think it’s going to be easy and romantic when you go into it, you’ll be in for a shock. As a member, there’s a point at which you just clock off, even if you’re away you’re just not working anymore. But if you’re the star, you’re on it all the time.”

You found a gap in touring to make this record in only two days. Was recording that fast what you had envisioned with this band?

“When I was with Dua, we had enough of a gap in the schedule, we knew we were going to have two days off in six weeks time, so I booked two days in a studio, with the idea that what I wouldn’t have much of time with the band, but what I would have a lot of was time on the road to play with whatever we recorded. All the songs except ‘Raft’ and ‘The Family Business’ came from unstructured jams, so we went into the studio with nothing. Everything else was go into the studio, pick a tempo, drummer had a click, start playing, record it. Then you play anywhere between ten and thirty minutes and then just stop, move onto the next one. So that process of stitch these songs together took a year, but the actual recording took two days.”

Was there any point when you thought that you might never get the chance to make this album?

“I knew I was never going to stop doing Stats. But it was just the sort of thing where if I didn’t carry on doing it I’d go insane. But am I thinking of doing another Stats record? Shit yeah. Of course. I’m already thinking about it, I already know how I want to do it. As soon as you find a formula that works, you have to change.”

Stats’ debut album ‘Other People’s Lives’ is out February 15

Catch Stats live:

Rough Trade East, London (Feb 16)
Bermondsey Social Club, London (April 17)
Are You Listening Festival?, Reading (April 27)
The Hug and Pint, Glasgow (May 8)
YES (Basement), Manchester (May 9)

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