Lucky Iris are a new breed of pop-duo, producing didactic tunes in their new electrically threaded EP, Turns Out We Should Have Stayed At Home. With Maeve on vocals, and Jasper on virtually everything else, the bubbly duo not only have an amazing connection in their music, but almost speak as one entity in everyday life too. The duo videocalled me from their living room in Leeds where they are isolating together.
Their new EP has a truly unique sound. Alternating synth and piano between gorgeously soulful vocals, it appears they have abandoned the barriers of genre, creating a hybrid of electropop, synthpop, indie-pop and soul. The four tracks tell a relatable story of a night out, that goes from bad to worse. In a humorous opening, ‘Get Ready With Me’ is undeniably catchy and upbeat, and definitely in the running to become a TikTok backing track.
I chatted to Maeve and Jasper to find out their dreams, influences, and tips for maintaining creativity in lockdown.
The Indiependent: Your new EP Turns Out We Should Have Stayed at Home has four songs that vary from piano ballads to alt-pop dance tracks. What is a genre of music you would love to attempt, but have yet to try?
JASPER: I think we’re happy with the kind of alt-pop genre we have gone for, but we do like taking different elements of different genres.
MAEVE: Yeah, we are just trying to find our sound really. Jasper likes a lot of jazzier more soulful music than Lucky Iris…
JASPER: And Maeve brings the pop element.
MAEVE: Before now we were part of a 5-piece funk and soul band, and although that was really fun, I think keeping the pop side of things is definitely where we are most comfortable. If there is a way to add more soulful elements whilst maintaining a bit of pop then that would be perfect.
The Indiependent: Your work has elements of Oh Wonder, Bonobo and The XX. What are your biggest influences and why?
JASPER: Both of us have very different influences. As Maeve said earlier, I like Jazz, Soul and Classical music, and I’ve just got into LCD Sound System which has some really cool synths… But nothing I like sounds like Lucky Iris!
MAEVE: It’s one of my favourite things when people say our sound is unique because we really have mashed up a lot of genres. I have always liked pop music, but at the moment I just love Celeste, Luna and Nasty Cherry who have been creating some amazing things with Charly XCX. Our influences are far and wide! As you can probably tell Jasper writes a lot of the music, so it is really nice creating pop songs with less poppy chord progressions, because it just makes us a bit different.
JASPER: Maeve suggests a lot of things for me to listen to, and whilst writing the album we listened to a lot of Billie Eilish and Adele.
MAEVE: Well its nice, because it keeps it quite fresh if he’s not listening to all the things I am. You can definitely hear that a lot of the electro acoustic part of it was played by Jasper on the piano first, and that definitely has created a different feel, which is quite versatile.
The Indiependent: After earning a ‘track of the week’ on BBC introducing West Yorkshire and securing a play on BBC Radio Leeds you are definitely gaining momentum as a duo. What radio, podcast or TV show would you love to be played on?
MAEVE: Radio 6?
JASPER: That’s the next step. I know Tom Robinson does an awesome introducing show and we would love to get on there.
MAEVE: To get on Radio 1 one day is definitely the dream, but in terms of radio we will go wherever will play us! As for podcasts I would love to get played on The Guilty Feminist. I know that seems a random choice, but I like to think that some of the things I can talk about best are my experiences as a woman and I love what the podcast does. It would be so fun to play to that audience.
The Indiependent: As a band that stepped into the public eye since the start of quarantine, how do you think you will evolve once lockdown restrictions are lifted?
MAEVE: We really need to get to a live show! We have performed together loads, but never as Lucky Iris as all the gigs we were meant to do were cancelled. So we will definitely schedule our debut gig!
JASPER: And we still have yet to play in London. So, I think we will be playing wherever we can.
The Indiependent: Lucky Iris is an appropriate name given how much you have achieved in the past 3 months! How did the name come about?
MAEVE: Everyone has those notes in their phone titled “Good Band Names”
JASPER: And they are all awful!
MAEVE: And they were all awful! So, we got thinking, and we wanted a name without any other association, whether that be genre or other artists. We hadn’t finalised a name, but when we were leaving the accommodation in Poland, after using a recording studio there, they had a book to sign. So, we just wrote down Lucky Iris with a smiley face next to it, and it stuck.
JASPER: Also, it’s the Greek goddess of rainbows…
MAEVE: And [Jasper’s] favourite flower, and the Goo Goo Dolls song of course!
The Indiependent: You have been really creative on social media, releasing remixes and ‘live’ recordings from home. Do you have any advice for other artists who are struggling for inspiration during this time?
JASPER: Collaborate with as many people as you can. We have some exciting things coming up with a lot of bands we have played with before who have messaged asking if we could send them some stems and do a remix. It’s a nice swap, which is definitely entertaining during lockdown. Also organising interviews like this!
MAEVE: I think people need to care less about everything looking really finished. I feel like anyone who is judging you for your video editing skills or roughness when you are putting music out there, isn’t really somebody you need to be impressing anyway. I think just being transparent with people is important at the moment.
The Indiependent: What is next for Lucky Iris? Are you planning any live performances or sticking to making more music for now?
JASPER: I think the plan is to release more music. We did lots of our last music on the spot in the studio, and I think the plan now is to do a lot more in our bedroom and bring a finished piece to the studio.
MAEVE: We would love to say we have a load of gigs lined up, but right now we are just creating more music, so when venues reopen we will definitely be out there. Until then we are writing and remixing from home.
Interview conducted by Harriet Fisk