Real Lies tell stories of London life over smart, electronic pop that recalls New Order, the Streets and modern UK dance culture. Here, the band’s Kev Kharas and Tom Watson talk you through the record track by track: a story of stolen laptops, broken relationships and avant-garde jazz violinists. Before that, you can hear the album using the player below. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Blackmarket Blues was the last track we wrote for the album, in a bedroom in one burst one evening in July. The tracks often come together like that – I’ll listen to a loop 300 times and then sit down and write the words in one go. We thought it would be fitting to begin the album with something that feels like the end of a night out. There’s a defiance there, though, it’s not a surrender – it’s a song about being one of those people who just can’t face going to bed, and the sacrifices you make because of that. The friendships you let drift, the lovers you lose and the friends who lose their lives in pursuit of the far edges of the night. It’s a song about realising that for all the talk of “getting things out of your system”, sometimes those things just are your system. And then realising that all the mates you’re still knocking around with after years of this behaviour are built the same way, and clinging on to them for dear life.
This was the first track we finished, but we had a party to celebrate and made so much noise downstairs that we didn’t hear someone breaking in upstairs and stealing the laptop it had been finished on. So we had to start all over again. That house was the Lake House, a weird five-bedroom, spider-infested cottage inside the grounds of a nature reserve in North London. We had a reservoir in our back garden and the best nightclub in London in our front room. This song is largely about the two years we spent there, sinking dinghies, listening to foxes murder ducks in the night and having parties that would last five days in a row. It was the first utopia we found in London, before we started Eternal, our club night on Holloway Road.
The main riff from this was sampled from Jean-Luc Ponty, the world’s foremost new-age jazz fusion virtuoso avant-garde violinist. He actually insisted on sharing the writing credits for it, so he must rate it. We would love to meet you one day, Jean-Luc. It’s about the headspace you get into at the end of a relationship, the burst of freedom and emotional fallout that comes with that. It’s not purely euphoric or purely upset, it’s somewhere in the middle. If you’re not transmitting some shade of grey with your music, write birthday cards, not songs.
This song’s about being 13 years old and first realising what a night out is, or could be. You think back to those nights now and it seems absurd they could exist. House parties, Jaheim, girls’ school girls, 3210 infatuation, hanging out by parades of suburban shops, getting that one mate with the bumfluff tache to chance his arm in the offy and your whole night relying on that. And then the prangy walk home at the end of the night, heading back across the park in the darkness as you let your mum go to voicemail and the last train from London rattles past on the line beyond the estates.
One Club Town
Revolutions. Brazilia. Flex Bar. Mantra. Twilight. Heroes. Utopia. Liquid. If you come from a town with only one club in it, then you know what One Club Town is about. If you moved from a town with only one club in it to a city where the streets are lined with bouncers forming guards of honour every night, you understand it completely.
Would rather not go into too much detail on this one. 07989746710. Big up Ron Trent. Sorry to everyone I’ve ever hurt.
This song is about teenage cruises, betrayal and losing your virginity in a lay-by. It’s quite a nasty song but it’s got a great chorus.
The result of three men just home from the pub trying to do Vogue. We had a massive laugh writing and recording it, and an ever bigger laugh shooting the video with all our closest friends and fans at Peoples Club in Holloway. It started life as a bit of a piss-take of ourselves and the part-time 90s house enthusiasts and ended up being the biggest selling single in British chart history. You can’t argue with numbers like that really, even if the chorus doesn’t make any sense.
This was another of those tracks, like North Circular, Blackmarket Blues and Deeper, that was written in one go after listening to the loop over and over. The lyrics were written in the rain in Archway, and the line from the chorus – “what beautiful proof of god she was” – is lifted/stolen from a comment on the YouTube video of 40 Miles by Congress. You go through the comments on those old rave tracks and you’ll come across some of the most poignant writing done in the last 100 years. It’s modern literature and makes you cry when you’re hungover. The first verse of Naked Ambition is about growing up in a bedroom 20 yards away from the A404(M) and falling asleep each night wondering what all the people in their cars were gonna do when they got to London. The second is about moving to London and falling in love.
We were listening to Up the Junction by Squeeze a lot when we wrote this. You wouldn’t know it though, because they sound nothing like each other. It’s about being part of a generation of sad, young men who can only express their emotions by retweeting Harold Pinter quotes.
This this the oldest song on the album. It’s about moving away and leaving your friends from home behind. The demo of this was all processed guitars, but we added the background electronic hum and put it last on the album to complete the cycle that Blackmarket Blues starts. Never forget: the Grapes BSE, the Eclipse E5, Matt Smith and Holmesy.