Super Luxury – DIY, Broken Limbs and Headbutting Cakes
Adam Nodwell looked surprisingly relaxed for having such a high position in the Leeds music scene. He is amazingly confident and relaxed for a man with so much pressure on his shoulders. His beard neatly trimmed, he was the face of professionalism with the buttons done all the way up to the top. Glasses on. Buttons then undone from the bottom before stopping at the top, leaving him with a cape-shirt combo. A shape?
This is the poetic intro Chris (guitarist, backing vocals) would have us use, imagining Adam’s (vocals) internal monologuing of his life. Five guys making raucous, fun noise punk music “in the key of party”, the reputation of Super Luxury‘s live shows precedes them. From friends I’d heard stories of crazy antics before I’d even seen Adam crawl under the stage, skate round on a wheeled amp case and climb into the portholes of Oporto at Quidrophenia. And that is the tamest they’ve been from what I already knew of and from what the band could tell me themselves. Three members, Adam, Chris and bassist Tom joined Shlur for an interview at The Pit, Leeds, to talk about DIY music, broken limbs and headbutting cakes.
“This band broke my leg,” admits Adam, worryingly gleefully.
“We played a gig at the Brudenell, where we always play on the floor,” Chris continues. “Shows when its really close proximity [to the crowd] are really fun. He ran off the stage and jumped over the drums, and he just collapsed. I was laughing. He’d broken his leg but he continued on with the whole set. And then at the end said, ‘Oh, I’m off to A&E.’”
“I’d done a 10 mile run the morning of that,” added Adam. “I’ve never quite got up to that standard again.”
While no small things, broken bones are the most normal crazy thing to occur at their shows. They had plenty more tales to tell too, when they weren’t laughing hysterically at the mere memory of Adam, dressed as a chef, faceplanting fondant cake.
“It was a show at Cockpit,” begins Chris with a massive grin, “where I was trying to play guitar while laughing constantly. We were playing after a band who were like a lads band. All their fans were all the type who would go and see Oasis cover bands. We figured, oh, they’re not gonna stick around, but they did. So, second band on, and Adam comes out dressed up in a full suit, like a cowboy in aviators and a Stetson hat with two bottles of champagne.”
“Like a millionaire cowboy,” Adam chips in. “That was the first costume change.”
Chris continues on, breaking off the tale for more and more frequent outbursts of laughter. “Second costume change: He took his suit off and he had a wrestling outfit underneath. He put a table out on the stage and he was stood on the table and basically all the audience were like, ‘What the fuck’s going on here?’ Third costume change: He got changed into a chef’s outfit. He brought a cake out. He started slicing up the cake, he had plates and was gonna hand it out. But for some reason he just faceplanted into the cake.”
“Well,” Adam interjected, in what promised to be a more interesting defence of an action than you’re probably used to hearing. “Basically I started cutting up and got frustrated with all the time it was taking. So I thought, I’ve got to put my face in it. So I put my face in it but because it was fondant icing, it just left an imprint of my face on the cake so when I pulled my face out of it it was just my normal face.”
Chris: “Then the table and the cake just got kicked into the audience. And the table became like a catwalk, like at stadium gigs.”
“This was just a 25 minute set, by the way,” adds Tom drily.
This was the show where word of their antics first reached my ears. Their elaborate setpieces and unrelenting energy are genuinely a sight to behold. “We’re all about props,” continues Tom. “But because we’re cheap, none of them ever work.” As a tongue in cheek nod to the surplus of indie bands playing from their laptops they decorated the stage with cardboard MacBooks only to have the Stetson-ed Adam level the lot right at the start.
In case it isn’t already patently obvious, it’s all about putting on a show, and if a show isn’t fun then it wasn’t a good show. That is the only yardstick Super Luxury measure themselves by. “That’s usually the main thing. We look down the list of gigs and go, That was a fun one, that was a fun one, that wasn’t a fun one, that was a fun idea, that wasn’t, that was badly judged.” They all laugh knowingly. “Like playing after a lad rock band.”
A brief digression about our mutual love of craft beers by way of a slight discomfort with Punk IPA as a beer name led to a discussion about what ‘punk’ as a term, lifestyle, attitude, whatever it is, meant to Super Luxury.
Chris: “The punk thing’s kind of difficult.”
Adam: “As soon as you put the word ‘punk’ on a T-shirt it immediately becomes not punk.”
Chris: “To me, my idea of it, I always felt punk music was for everyone. The idea is that you can’t really play an instrument very well, but it’s great, everyone can form a band and everyone can put out a record. But to put ‘punk’ on something that automatically excludes some people, it’s not exactly all inclusive.”
Tom: “You’ve got to have decisions that aren’t marred by this kind of big-headed image in your mind that you want to impress. You’re not making decisions because that will look good for your band. You can’t just think about getting ahead all the time. Doing it itself should be enough. You shouldn’t do gigs for specific reasons, but because you like the show itself.”
“We don’t consider ourselves punk though,” Chris.
“It’s not a genre, or it is a very unfortunate genre,” adds Adam.
The burgeoning noise rock scene in Leeds is a source of great inspiration for Super Luxury. “That Fucking Tank‘s treatise on DIY, I remember reading that and thinking it was bang on. The main thing he reinforces the entire time, is you have fun. You have fun, regardless, not worrying what other people think. And just the whole idea that you can be with your friends and do something really fun without caring what people think.” Again it all comes round to having fun for these guys.
The band have said that they’d never turn a show down, or cancel one. Chris: “We’ve played without Adam, when Tom hasn’t been able to make one, even with a drum machine when we had to.” They’ve even played as the backing band to a hotdog eating contest, the prize for which they provided (it was a briefcase filled with hotdogs). However, they admit to now finding themselves in the enviable position of no longer having to put on their own shows to have gigs. “We don’t have to beg anymore,” Adam drily states. They’re also planning a hopeful tour with Fat Goth in the not too distant future. This has left them more time to put into putting on shows not for themselves but for others, including taking part in organising the all-dayer, Octernal, at the Brudenell Social Club on October 19th. “It’s gonna have three stages: the main room, games room and Left Bank Church,” Tom informs us. “About 25 bands in total. Conan, Veronica Falls, Bleached, Poltergeist.” Plenty of variety then.
Amidst all this madness, they’ve found the time to record an album which is due out very soon. The follow-up to their brilliant 3-track EP Mystery Thriller Teen Drama, it promises to have more of the same fun, riff-heavy noiserock that has become their sound. Recorded at the Brudenell Social Club and the now sadly defunct Royal Park Cellars, it promises to have the raw intensity of their live performance captured properly on record.
Throughout all this their enthusiasm and interest in anything and everything that catches their fancy really draws you in. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of music, everything from Earth to Beat Happening to The Replacements to Lightning Bolt, they are genuinely passionate about what they do. It is this that propels them into the high energy riot of their live show. It’s the focused release of all this energy in one big explosion. I can’t recommend catching these guys enough. And be sure to talk to them before and after. You may find yourself caught up in that energy too. And they’ll definitely have a tale or three to tell you.
Super Luxury are performing at A Carefully Planned Festival, Manchester, on October 19th-20th and supporting Virals at The Cockpit Room 3 on 22nd November. To get them in your earholes before then, check their EP , Mystery Thriller Teen Drama, available on Bandcamp in digital and cassette format (the cassette is beautiful by the way).