Rob Lynch is a singer songwriter from Stamford, who has just released his superb album All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul (which we rated 4.5 stars). Rob is currently amidst a European tour to support the release, and we were lucky enough to catch him before he hit the stage in Eindhoven. Check out our exclusive interview as he shares plans for a new album, bailing out on a charity show, and everything in between.
HTF: How has tour been so far?
RL: Really great. This is day six. So I did one show in France, just solo, and then did four shows in Germany with the full band. I’ve toured in Germany quite a lot so it was great to go back. The shows were all better than they were before. Then, I’ve got today, tomorrow in Landgraaf, then a solo show in Paris and then back to Germany for another five shows.
HTF: Judging from your video for ‘My Friends and I’, you quite enjoy dressing up. How was your Halloween this year?
RL: Halloween was uneventful. We were playing in quite a quaint German town so we assumed that the people going to the show wouldn’t be the kind of people that would dress up for Halloween. We were right. So, we didn’t make an effort. If we did, it would have been a bit odd, I think. Last year I dressed up as Miley Cyrus. I didn’t even think that I was into dressing up, but now I’m thinking back and I do dress up quite a bit, actually.
HTF: So you’ve just released All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul. How does it feel to have it out after sitting on it for so long?
RL: Liberating; a relief. Yeah, it’s good. I’m glad I didn’t rush it out because everything needed to be right, kind of behind the scenes, in order to give it a good launch. You never quite know with an album, or with any music that you’ve had for ages that YOU’RE really happy with and other people who have heard it are happy with, but you don’t really know how everyone else is going to react to it. So, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and people have said lots of nice things so I’m super happy.
HTF: How has the reaction been live? You did a release show as well, didn’t you?
RL: Great, the release was show was awesome. It was one of the most fun shows I’ve played in a long time. I went out and did a support tour with a band called This Wild Life, so that was more of an introduction of me to a lot of new people who hadn’t even heard of my old stuff. That was cool, and it’s nice to come over to the mainland and try out the songs full band to people who have now heard the songs rather than playing songs people hadn’t heard before like: “Hmm, maybe I like the sound of this but I don’t really know what it sounds like recorded.” So, yeah, it’s been good.
HTF: This album you recorded in the States and in London. Why did you decide on that and what was like recording in two different places?
RL: So I went out to the States to play this festival called The Fest, and I flew across to Philly to see a couple of friends: a guy called Shane Henderson who’s in a band called Valencia. We came friends when they toured in the UK and we hung out and stayed in touch. I just thought it’d be really cool to get some recording done. I was there for two weeks and that’s never enough time to record a whole album. So we got some ideas down, recorded some bits and bops then I took it all back to London; spent two months recording it in a studio there. It’s organic; it kind of took a long time. It made sense at the time, but I think now for the next album I’m just going to go into one studio, do it all in like a month and be done with it.
HTF: You’re signed to a label in Germany, and you play there quite a bit. We’re guessing you’re pretty big over there.
RL: It’s growing. I’m not like Justin Bieber or anything, but it’s bigger there than it is anywhere else at the moment.
HTF: Even the UK?
RL: Yeah, I would say so. I toured there a lot last year, I did some good support tours so I think I’ve grabbed those fans and they come back for more shows. It’s great over there. I’m on Xtra Mile for the rest of the world. But, yeah it’s weird going to a different country and play to a bunch of people songs that I wrote in my bedroom.
HTF: Especially when they speak a different language.
RL: Yeah, well this is it! People come up to you and talk to you about the lyrical content and what it means to them. It’s like: “Wow, that’s really cool.”
HTF: Speaking of foreign countries, you also did Warped this past summer. That’s a pretty big deal!
RL: It was amazing. It was long, and hot and sweaty but it was just a completely different experience to everything that I’ve ever done before. It’s kind of hard to explain, because you’re kind of in this bubble for two months with all the same people and they’re the only people that you see apart from the kids who come to the show. You’re only there for like ten hours each day or whatever and you’re in this like..travelling circus. It’s tiring but completely worth it and there’s lots of partying and new friends made.
HTF: Being a singer songwriter doing so well with the rock crowd, especially playing festivals like Download, Warped and Groezrock, do you ever feel like a fish out of water?
RL: No, not really because those festivals have their acoustic stages, so you know that the people that come and watch you know what to expect. It’s not like you’re playing before a black metal band or something, which would be weird. I definitely wouldn’t do that… Or would I? Maybe I would, for a social experiment. Anyway, it’s cool playing those festivals because obviously there are roots in what I do that kind of branch out into the punkier, rockier side of things – especially when I’m playing with a full band. I’d like to do some more poppier shows as well. I toured with Charlie Simpson and that’s a much different crowd. I think the people that were into Fightstar are into his solo stuff, but you’ve still got a lot of people from his previous band, and more sort of mainstream people who’ve heard him on the radio. It’s cool to be able to play the same songs to totally polar opposite crowds.
HTF: That’s awesome. On that note, what have been some of your best and worst shows?
RL: Best show – I played a support slot in Hamburg this time last year. The venue was sold out, it was like 1500.
HTF: Who did you support?
RL: A German artist called Thees Uhlmann, who’s really big in Germany but outside of Germany he’s not because it’s, well, German-speaking. So yeah, it was sold out, and we were the only support band and it was a great show. The crowd was on our side, everyone singing along that it kind of felt like a headliner show. It’s just “Woooow”, especially when you go out support people who you expect to have to try a lot harder than if you did a headline show. Sometimes people don’t react and you have to go about it differently, but this one was just great. I don’t really know how to explain it. People seem to go to gigs in Germany, and just want to see live music. Maybe it’s in certain towns that don’t have as many shows as they do in the main cities in England, because kids get spoiled for shows in England. So maybe there’s that intrigue or desire to go out and see a show.
What was my point? Oh, right that was one of my best shows, in Hamburg. Worst show.. Once, I agreed to do a charity show in a small town in England and the promoter had said: “You’re not going to get paid but it’s going to be a cool show and it’s for charity so that’s good,” and I was like: “Alright, if I pay for my own train tickets that’s my deed for charity. I’m making an effort.” I got there, and it was in different venues with different bands playing. I got there, and it was just in a bar on a Saturday night, where anyone could go in and there was no trace of live music, just a dude with an acoustic guitar singing a cover in the corner. No one cared, literally NO ONE cared. There were people sat right in front of him having full-blown conversations. I turned around and was like “Hah, I’m not doing this.” It would have made me feel worse, having just travelled three hours to be there. I thought: “I can’t do it, because I would just cry.” I’ve only ever done that once. I pre-booked my train home for the following day, and I was just like I’m not even going to stay the night. I had to go buy a new train ticket that cost me twice as much. I didn’t know what to do, that was the worst.
HTF: What would you say is your proudest achievement to date?
RL: It’s really hard to say one thing because especially in the last year there have been so many real high points, that I couldn’t pick one out. I mean, getting the offer to do Warped Tour was real cool. Then, signing to Xtra Mile, and Grand Hotel van Cleef, that has been great too. So, the collective last twelve months have been wonderful.
HTF: Let’s just say 2014 then?
RL: Yeah, let’s say that for now and hopefully next year will be even better.
HTF: This may change quite a bit, but at the moment what is your favourite song to play live?
RL: Good question. It depends night by night and the way people react to certain songs. I always like playing ‘My Friends and I’ cause that’s one people tend to get into. I like playing ‘Medicine’ as well, because that’s got a totally different vibe to the rest of the stuff on the album.
HTF: Is there a specific line or verse you’ve written that you’re most proud of?
RL: I don’t think so. I never really thought about it.
HTF: You just love them all?
RL: I don’t know if I love them all (laughs). I couldn’t just pick one out. I mean, there are lines that mean a lot to me but obviously to other people, they might not understand the meanings behind them. That’s for people to decipher themselves, I’m not going to tell people that. I sometimes explain what songs are about, but I won’t delve into the depths of what each individual line means because I think it’s important in music that people make their own connections between their own lives and you don’t have to tell exactly word for word what it meant in yours; because then that maybe takes away an idea that they’ve got in their heads.
HTF: Good answer. What is one song that you wish you had written?
RL: ‘Atlantic City’ by Bruce Springsteen.
HTF: Nice choice! You’ve got next month off, what are you most looking forward to doing?
RL: Just chilling out. I’m going to make some bread. I do lots of baking when I’m off tour. I’m going to write a new album. I don’t know when I’m going to have time off again, so I want to get the structure, or at least a good amount of songs written. Then I can be practising them before I go into recording. Also, just seeing my girlfriend really. I’ve been away so much this year that I probably should go home and be a better person.
HTF: Anything else you’d like to add?
RL: Please check out the album. It’s on Spotify, and iTunes, and Amazon and anywhere online. But no illegally downloading, because I’m poor. Check it out and come to a show.