The third instalment of Hello Tomorrow in this, a new decade, belongs to South London’s Margot. Emerging from the vestiges of two earlier bands; Alex Hannaway (vocals), Alby Cleghorn (guitar), Rob Fenner (guitar/keys), Michael Webb (bass) and Ben Andrewes (drums) bonded over a mutual appreciation for Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest at sixth form and eventually started writing music together. Fast forward a few years and the five-piece are producing gloriously crafted gentle songs that facilely delve into, and examine, the ramifications of modern human existence. And just to quash any thoughts you may have from the outset that they may be named in relation to a certain Australian actress, they did in fact take their name from the Basque word for paint; ‘margotzeko’, which is also pertinently the name of their forthcoming debut EP.
New single ‘Man Love’ premiering exclusively on Gigwise, follows a string of self produced resolutely authentic tracks displaying both dream pop requiems and hazy introspective realism; offset with salubrious guitars, genial verses and heaving rousing reverb. Hear it below:
When it comes to writing, Hannaway chooses to use characters to express his own thoughts; “In order to find the emotion, or the complexity, I find it’s easier to a adopt a character’s voice, it’s more interesting to me, I get more out of fewer words. I like the ambiguity”. His voice becomes convoluted with others, all of which are united in some way by their reality or fate. “‘Man Love’ is quite a personal one” he says, “it’s about stubbornness, insularity, a lack of clarity or capacity to really say how I feel. In turn, I was also trying to be more candid, open and honest. There are things inherent in me that I don’t like, things that I beat myself up for, ways that I am”. Subtlety touching on the concepts of toxic masculinity and the fragility of the male psyche, ‘Man Love’ juxtaposes its invigorating shimmering guitars with steadfast vocals and unfurls into something deeply incisive.
Accompanying their labyrinthine sound is an equally considered aesthetic, demonstrated none more so than in the accompanying video to their last single ‘In Your Palm’; created by Jenny Wright who won Best Animated Short at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “Sound and subject matter are both important so it would feel wrong to not consider the aesthetic as well” says Hannaway, “it’s also important to us to keep it local. We have so many talented friends, so to be able to work and collaborate with them is special. Jenny has been a close friend of ours for years and she’s a great animator, and one who really evokes emotion and passion in her art. It was a real pleasure for us to see how she interpreted the subject matter”.
Talking of friends, the tail end of last year saw Margot acquire some new ones in the form of the equally blissful Swimming Tapes as they were handpicked to head out alongside them on their UK tour. “We were so lucky with Swimming Tapes, they’re lovely boys and we hit it off from the very beginning. We also love their music, so it was great to see them play every night. It was fun meeting people along the way, acquiring some new fans, meeting people, playing music every night and drinking beer. It was a very fun experience and one which we would love to do again”. In addition to all of the inevitable highs touring brings for any band, Alex explains that they also learnt along the way that patience is indeed a virtue they possess “I was expecting us to get into a few tiffs, but we all seemed to get on swimmingly. We’ve all wanted to do this kind of thing for years, so to finally do it was special. I think we were all just buzzing for most of it. It was great to travel across the country, I loved being in the passenger seat, looking out the window, especially travelling from Belfast to Glasgow, it was stunning”.
Their aforementioned debut EP Margotzeko is released on 7 February and it serves as both a perfect introduction to what Margot are about and the perfect appetiser of what’s to come. Recorded and mixed by drummer Ben at the band’s studio in Peckham, it comprises of four tracks that continue the band’s exploration of issues faced by those often overlooked in society, including mental health and the plight of teachers. Each track is purposefully different in its tone but are all rooted in this incisive poignant tenderness that is sure to become Margot’s trademark, along with their ability to let a track ebb and flow in a most provocative manner. And if you’d like to experience the boys’ beguiling lure for yourself, they’re playing a very special show at Paper Dress Vintage (7 February) to celebrate the release of the EP and there are a handful of tickets left, so be quick.