The setting is certainly novel. We’re sitting between the priest’s pulpit and the main body of the church, Christian icons covering every wall. Loose guitars lean up a few feet away from an icon of St Philip with spookily long fingers. There’s a stage door to the left, that you’d think would lead to the priest’s quarters, but is in fact a DIY studio in which the band toy with their music.
“Agnostic probably covers it for most of us,” Jack says when asked about whether the group has a particular religion.
“We’re mostly drawn to it being a free rehearsal space,” admits Luke.
In spite of this, though, religion does seem to creep into the music of Lunch Money Life. New tracks are called things like ‘Royalty Laid Bare by God’ and ‘Holy Water Streaming’, and the music certainly takes on the vastness of the church. For although the songs are written elsewhere, this is the space in which they are given flesh and form.
“People think it must sound amazing, playing in a church,” Jack says. “But, mostly no. Apart from a couple of moments, it’s mostly just bzzzz – I can’t hear anything!”
There are clear perks to the band’s psychogeographical state, though; the vast church spaces which shape their music give the songs the quality of sounding huge. Spencer and Jack have a knack for finding synth lines that sound like faulty house hooks, and turning them into eternal echoes capable of filling any room.
Another perk though, is the immense network of clergy that comes with being the premier church-dwelling electro-skronk band in the area. “We hired a priest to bless some merchandise we were releasing,” Jack recalls. “We invited him to come on stage at our Boiler Room show. Of course, we said don’t step on anything that looks important…”
“A big nest of cables –”
“ – He crunched it.”
“As a not-supremely-successful band now, you have to do a lot of stuff on the internet,” Jack summarises: “You have to find it funny yourself, or draw some sort of fun out of it, otherwise it’s just, ‘Oh, make a post now’.”
“On our way home from We Out Here,” Sean says, “we pied the Oliver Cromwell Museum.”
One in the eye for all war criminals.
Luke interrupts, stony-faced, before bursting out into laughter. “I mean, it hasn’t quite balanced out history, but y’know.”
This sense of humour writhes through Lunch Money Life’s oeuvre. 2021 saw them release a tune called ‘Nicolas Cage Please Get In Touch’, which was followed by a cease and desist letter from Cage’s Hollywood lawyer Jimmy J Sunset, prompting the group to call their latest EP’s opener ‘Jimmy J Sunset’.
“We dream of having a kinship with Nicolas Cage,” Spencer recalls. “We were standing outside smoking saying, ‘We need to write a tune called ‘Nicolas Cage Please Get In Touch’, because it’s the only way he could possibly get in touch.”
“Then we went inside and instantly wrote it,” he carries on: “And went, ‘Oh yeah, that’s “Nicolas Cage Please Get In Touch’’.”
“We’d go away to write tunes,” Jack laughs. “Play Tekken, GTA, then watch a Nicolas Cage film.”
Sean interjects: “Needless to say, we were really high.”
“I have to give a shout to the label Wolf Tone,” Spencer adds. “We said we wanted to hire one of those advert vans, and then put ‘Nicolas Cage please get in touch’ on the side of it, and drive around Bristol [Cage owns a property in the area].”
“They were just like, ‘Yep, make sure you film it.’ We just tried our hardest to get Nicolas Cage in touch, it was just that really.”
One more question from me. “Nicolas’ lawyer got in touch over this obsession… for serious?”
But like Cage’s Edward Malus in the very good 2006 Wicker Man remake, I have perhaps seen too much.
“Well, Cal…” Spencer replies.
“No comment,” says Sean – but his eyes betray him.
“We can’t say,” quips Luke. “Otherwise the next interview will be from Pentonville Prison…”
“Not the cease…” cries Jack.
“… And desist.”
Lunch Money Life are on the bill (with Theon Cross and Donna Thompson) as a party with throwing at Village Underground on September 19. Full info here