Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys play Hailsham date
Simply touring the UK has been a major decision for Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys this autumn – a decision with an awful lot riding on it.
But so far so good, and they are hugely looking forward to playing Hailsham Pavilion on November 13.
One of the most exciting bands to have entered the UK folk scene in the past 20 years, The Lost Boys is the brainchild of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Sam Kelly.
The Lost Boys band quickly gained a reputation as one of the best live acts in the UK and packed out festival tents and venues the world over.
And then it all came to a stop. Inevitably.
“It has been a tough year for everybody, but I’m just quite fortunate that I didn’t really actually own anything! I didn’t really have much to lose! I just went to live back at my mum’s, and it just was what it was, and in my band quite a few of us did that. We were fortunate that we had parents where we could just hunker down, and I did that for quite a while. I have a part time writing job that I can just pick up as and when I need to and also I did that for a while. So as I say I just hunkered down for a bit, and the other guys had various bits of teaching.
“And as full-time musicians I think you become quite used to fluctuations of income anyway. It is part of the job, and it’s also question of just being used to trying to turn your hand to a lot of different things when you have to”
Inevitably it was also a time for reflection: “But doing music for job I think you do quite a lot of soul-searching anyway, where you are just thinking ‘Why am I doing this when I could earn more as a Tesco’s delivery driver?’ But I am fortunate enough to have worked in some really awful jobs and that makes you appreciate every moment that I am doing music for a living. I just think back to when I was working at Wetherspoons and I remember just how awful it was!”
Inevitably things have had to change: “The band is different now. We decided to streamline the band and lost a member, but it has been a real soul-searching all round. For everybody, you just had to reassess how you are going to make music.
“But we were very fortunate in that we ended up making an album last year which is what we are now touring. I didn’t think we were going to be able to do it. We did it in between the two lockdowns last September and October. We had been sitting on the material for a while. The financial side of making an album is usually what holds you up, and I didn’t think we’d be able to do it.
“But we ended up getting the album financed by the record label and we ended up spending a lovely month and a bit living in Yorkshire making the album in between those lockdowns, and it was an amazing creative release for everybody after what we had all been through. That has been the problem for some people, the loss of focus, having nothing to focus on so it was just great for us to do this thing.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, this year has been more difficult than last: “Last year once we got over the initial disappointment of not being able to do things and then rescheduling them and then postponing them, you just kind of knew what to expect but this year we really expected everything to be going ahead and then of course it didn’t.
“There is a lot of financial risk involved in international touring especially now with Brexit which is adding lots of hidden extra costs but we were all ready to do that. And then we ended up missing out on seven of our nine festivals this year and we lost the tour to France and Belgium and Holland because of various complications relating to Brexit.
“So we ended up having a worse year this year than last year which is why we are so pleased to be touring now, with a lot hanging on it. But we have seen successful events going on all the time, and hopefully everyone will feel that we are doing the right things and that they can come along and be safe.”