From the dingy back-rooms of converted South London pubs to a cataclysmic sold-out show at the famed Camden Roundhouse, the drifty, introspective lulls of alt stalwarts Palace have become a staple of indie playlists the world over. In the wake of a brand new EP, Isabelle Hunter talked lockdown listens and live show evolution with the band’s enigmatic frontman, Leo Wyndham.
Four years on from the dazzling debut record So Long Forever, London indie heavyweights Palace are continuing to dominate the scene with appearances at major UK venues, including London’s Roundhouse, Glastonbury, and even performing right here in Nottingham. Though the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way they write their music drastically, as well as seizing their right to live performances, Palace are navigating the carnage with the same poise and charm infused in their music.
It’s clear that the first lockdown back in March shook the band. However, positivity shines through as Wyndham describes how the pandemic provided them with the motivation and drive to write more songs than ever. “It feels exciting, there’s lots of experimenting with weird sounds and different instruments,” he chimes, pinning the term “Covid blues” to describe this new era of music, and especially their newest release, Someday, Somewhere.
“Performing live is what makes us feel alive. It’s our bread and butter.”
Talking about their latest EP, cryptically named Someday, Somewhere, Wyndham explains how “the songs were lying around for years, but never made the album – they never seemed to fit.” However, with this long period to re-think their music, it seemed the perfect time to finally “put them together.” Though this could only happen remotely of course, as lockdown restrictions drastically morphed the production process: “We were never in a room together, it was literally, I recorded my bit, I sent it to Rupert, then he recorded his bit at home in his lockdown, and then he sent it to Matt. Then Matt made drums out of pots and pans!”
As new music flies from the taps, the band’s behemothian debut album, So Long Forever, just celebrated it’s four-year anniversary. “I had no idea it had been four years, I haven’t listened to the album since then!” Wyndham chuckled amusedly. When asked about how they believe their music has evolved since then, the assured frontman explained: “We’ve changed a lot. Our playing is a lot of better, we’re more confident as a band and in the way we put things forward.” Whilst he is the first to admit that their early music had “imperfections,” though many doting indie fans would disagree, he goes on to coin the era as “scrappy and messy, but also beautiful.” “There will always be a soft spot for that era, and that’s us – rough around the edges and raw.”
Though the dulling absence of live shows has taken an undeniable hit on Palace’s packed tour schedule, Wyndham remains remarkably positive as he discusses how it’s affected them as a band. “[Performing live] is what makes us feel alive. It’s our bread and butter. But, we’ve been lucky enough as musicians to be able to write music in lockdown. He continues pensively: “You have to force yourself to be positive and hopeful; there’s others who have it way worse than us.”
In a bid to connect with their fans amidst the pandemic however, the frontman talks thoughtfully of a potential interactive livestream: “I believe it has to be done in a classy way, we’re still trying to work it out but definitely in the future.” In the meantime, the enchanting October EP, Somewhere, Someday, is the perfect antidote to the ‘Covid blues’.
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