Delightfully eccentric; The Bug Club take garage rock to the quirkiest corners, combining stream-of-consciousness lyrics with frenetic riffs.
Formed in 2016, the quirky indie rock trio consists of Sam Willmett (guitar/vocals), Tilly Harris (bass/vocals) and Dan Matthew (drums) who hail from Caldicot, Monmouthshire. The three-piece caught the attention of essential indie label Bingo Records who put out their debut LP Pure Particles in 2021, followed a year later by sophomore album Green Dream in F# and live record Mr Anyway's Holey Spirits Perform! One Foot in Bethlehem more recently.
Now, The Bug Club get ready to reveal their latest full-length Rare Birds: Hour of Song. Their ambitious double album comes complete with a full illustrated 32-page 'burds wurds' booklet and features the singles “Marriage” plus “Short And Round”. Rare Birds: Hour of Song is supported by a promotional tour which kicks off in October – CLICK HERE to book tickets with Gigantic.
With their tour fast approaching, we caught up with Sam and Tilly to talk about the inspirations behind their charming tunes, their big summer of festivals and their incoming double album.
We love your punky lo-fi garage rock sound! How did you meet and get going as a band?
Sam - Hello, me and Tilly met in school when we were about 14 years old and started playing together pretty instantly and then I met Dan in University in Bristol a little bit later and he joined the band.
We can hear a bit of The Vaselines, Violent Femmes, Beat Happening and plenty of C86 in your music. But who would you say are your main influences?
Sam - I do love Violent Femmes, Daniel Johnston, Johnathan Richman, Velvet Underground, those kind of people But, there's no conscious effort to make our stuff sound like that. I think we just like similar sounds to those people. Tilly loves Patti Smith and more punky stuff. I'm a little bit country, she's a little bit rock and roll. But anything that's not too polished really and sounds a little bit shit. that kind of stuff.
Bingo Records is a brilliant indie label with a wicked roster of crucial underground acts. How did you grab their attention?
Tilly - They slid into our dms.
Sam - We got chatting at the start of the first COVID lockdown, we just happened to be recording anyway at the time so we all decided to put out an EP called Launching Moondream One. They're all lovely so we've carried on putting stuff out with them.
What’s the scene like in South Wales? Are there any other bands or artists you can recommend?
Sam - There's loads of bands in wales right now! Our good pal and best producer in the world probably Tom Rees is in Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Alice Low and Melyn Melin are both very special bands too and there's loads more but you'll have the best night of your life seeing any of them I reckon. Everyone is so different too so there's Welshies in every corner.
It’s been a big summer for The Bug Club, having made appearances at Tramshed, Bearded Theory, Green Man and soon-to-play Future Now Weekender. What have been your fav festival memories of 2023 so far?
Sam - We've JUST NOW come back from the Netherlands and played Into The Great Wide Open in Vlieland which was beautiful.
Tilly - They gave us some mad local honey and a bottle of crazy booze that looks like moonshine. Went swimming in the sea and the temperature didn't turn my nips inside out so that's good. Greenman was and is always brilliant. Got soaked in the rain. A true festival. Got on the big screen crowd surfing. All the stuff.
And you’ve just dropped your new single “Short And Round”. Where did the inspo come for this little ditty?
Sam - I've got a really bad memory and I don't remember writing it. I think it's just a bit of fun. Everything's written fast and we don't like to spend too much time thinking up some big meaning. The thinking is all done before the songs are written.
What can you tell us about your upcoming album Rare Birds: Hour of Song?
Sam - It's a fall-asleep relaxation tape.
Only it isn't. It's just a bunch of songs with a story bit and some poems in the middle. It's a double album with a nice, illustrated booklet included. Just more songs really.
Your tour is already starting to sell out. Are you excited to show off your new material and what else can we expect from your upcoming headline gigs?
Sam - Please come to one of our big spooky shows so the room isn't empty.
Tilly - I'm very excited and so ready to play some new songs. I'm really surprised I haven't tripped over my guitar lead yet. So, I think it'll happen on this tour. Expect a big fall from me. Fingers crossed I'll go the whole hog and keg myself.
Rare Birds: Hour of Song is released on the 27th of October via Bingo Records, and can be pre-ordered here: https://thebugclub.bandcamp.com/album/rare-birds-hour-of-song
📆 Tour Dates:
- 11 October 2024: The Bug Club – Le Pub, Newport
- 18 October 2024: The Bug Club – Band on the Wall, Manchester
- 22 October 2024: The Bug Club – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
- 25 October 2024: The Bug Club – The Face Bar, Reading
- 01 November 2024: The Bug Club – The Crescent, York