We spoke to campus-band Leopard Stripes about their debut single ‘Purple’
They’ve got new music coming soon
Leopard Stripes are a campus-made indie-pop band, who recently released their debut single ‘Purple’. You may have seen them at Grizedale or Pendle extrav, or perhaps the Lancaster Music Festival.
We sat down with them and asked them some questions about being a band whilst being at university.
Milly (or stage-name Oriel) does the vocals and song-writing, Rees and Charlie are on guitar, with Charlie also doing some songwriting. Tom is on drums and Merrick is on bass.
When and how did you guys form?
At university, just over a year ago. Me and Charlie met at an Indie society night because I was going to Geography society and my flatmate was like, "Milly, no! Come to the indie society with me!" so that was the only reason I went.
Charlie was there so we met that way and he said that there was a band speed dating in the Indie society the next day, so I met Charlie again that night where we met the others as we happened to be in a group together along with a few other people.
So, you’ve just released your new single. What inspired you to write that?
Ok, well, I had a year off before I came to uni and I was dating this awful, awful man. Not like a man, man, he was the same age as me. Anyway, he was an absolute douchebag, the biggest douchebag, and he had like long hair and a little man bun.
He lived 40 minutes away so I’d have to drive there or he’d drive to me and he had the ugliest car. His favourite colour was purple so his room was purple, basically all of his clothes were purple and I despise the colour anyway, I think its the worst colour on the colour wheel. His purple car had leopard print covers on the seats and on the wheel.
It was just awful, I don’t know what I was doing! My mother was like, “Milly, dump him,” so I did, eventually, but after he cheated on me. So I actually wrote Purple ages and ages ago and we just picked it up. We basically based it off a little funky bass line that Merrick did.
With the song writing process, a lot of people have music, verse, then lyrics, what do you guys do, does it vary?
It really varies. For Purple, for example, we sort of had a chord structure and a riff, Merrick added a bass line and Milly already had the lyrics for it. She normally has a set of lyrics, and she’ll know which ones go with what.
How does it feel to have your first single out? How have you found the feedback you’ve been given for the song?
It’s good, it’s exciting. It’s only up from here. It just feels strange because all of us listen to Apple Music or Spotify, for instance, and to see your own music up there and your own Artist page is very surreal. To see people you don’t really know start sharing the song is so weird. It feels really good.
How do you find being in a band alongside your studies? Does it affect your studying?
It was definitely difficult at the end of last year. We had Grizedale and Pendle extrav to practice for and all our coursework and exams in the same month. We find a good balance, we usually practice once a week for a few hours and then weekends if we fancy another session. It’s definitely stressful but I think this year we’ve got more of the hang of it.
We’re trying to get more of a balance with the social aspect of it, seeing each other in itself, because obviously we only see each other once or twice so when we see each other there’s not a lot of catching up going on. It’s getting used to being a band, as last year we got thrown into it all while we were still getting to know each other.
I always find we have periods of about two weeks when we’ll be crazy busy with gigs and now we’ve got to a point where we can have a break, but then someone will message asking us to play a gig and then five second later, 20 people will be asking us to do a gig all at the same time.
Who is your biggest musical influence?
T: Arctic Monkeys, Fleetwood Mac, Royal Blood and Barry White.
R: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Nirvana, Dire Straits, Hendrix and a tendency to indulge in Slipknot.
C: The Smiths, Oasis, The Cure and The Beatles.
O: Imagine Dragons, Bastille, Sigrid and Bowie.
M: Royal Blood, Vulfpeck, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Muse.
It’s nice that we all have different influences as well, we try and mix it together. We don’t think we match any of the people we listen to, its a mash!
What are your plans for after uni?
I think at the moment it’s seeing how this year goes and then next year thinking about it. It’s a bit complicated but I think the consensus is probably if all goes well living together at some point maybe in Manchester or somewhere like that where there’s more opportunities for bands like us. That’s the general idea but there’s nothing set in stone.
Depends whether we're at a point where everyone hates us and we’ll just pursue science or engineering or we might get to a point when we’re like we’re already famous let’s drop out of uni. The middle ground is the tricky one where we’ll have to make a decision.
Have you got any gigs lined up?
We want to put some stuff together so we can do all our own material. The next month or so will be sorting out that. We are looking in the new year into travelling to places; potentially Manchester, Preston, Blackpool, Liverpool.
Have you go any more songs up for release or that you think are ready for release?
Yes! We spent a lot more time on Purple to get it sounding how we wanted and we have another song that we are planning on going back in the studio to do; we’re not sure when but maybe in two or three months.
Are we allowed to know what it’s called?
It’s called Cars, it’s a more laid back song but it’s got a better reception than Purple when we released a demo on Soundcloud; it got more listens. We want to spend a lot of time producing it so it sounds really nice.
We’ve got a lot of songs we want to get in the studio but it’s money and time. We try to write as many songs as possible so we can pick which ones to go in the studio because as much as we want to record everything, we are students and have zero money.
If you guys individually could collaborate with any artist alive or dead who would it be?
T: Barry White, no question about it!
O: Probably Bastille, I saw them live and they were really, really good, maybe even like Imagine Dragons.
How do you find looking after your voice while at university?
Well, I don’t really drink that much. But saying that, for the Lancaster Music Festival, I didn’t go out all Freshers’ Week because we were practicing and I didn’t want to drink at all. And the next week we had the music festival.
We had a Friday and Saturday gig and I was like ‘screw it!’ so went out on the Friday night; I went to bed with no voice, woke up with some voice. I didn’t even go crazy, I had like two gins!
Anything else you guys want to say?
Leopard Stripes are playing at the Gregson Centre on Friday 20th December, alongside Gloria and Juliper Sky. Click here to buy tickets!