Relics are a London guitar band dragging guitar music out of the middle of the road and into the shameful mischievous gutter.
There’s a romanticism about Relics. They wear polo necks, reference Almodovar and find a certain poetry in the dedication displayed by their drummer, Barney Gilks. “His arm fell out of his socket at a rehearsal right before our first show a couple of years ago,” says frontman James Manning with a furrowed brow. “Because he was drumming so vigorously.” They all chime in frenzied anecdotes about the experience as bassist Alex Glover builds to the crescendo. In the midst of the madness he received a text from a friend telling him that Lou Reed was dead. “It was all too much,” he cries, basking in the melodrama.
The four-piece’s first incarnation was formed six years ago when Manning and Glover fostered a friendship in the sweaty east London indie gig-clubs of the late noughties. They were part of a scene whose hub was The Dice Club, out of which many creative partnerships were born. They found their sound jamming together in a studio space above a strip club in Kingston – but it wasn’t until four years later that the pair decided to take things up a notch and recruit Gilks and guitarist Theo Alexander to the crew.
Together they make a bassy racket that displays an undoubted 90s influence. But, Manning explains, “We’re moving away from shoegaze. We’ll always love that sound, but we don’t wanna be a shit revival band. Nobody really gets it right, so we’d rather not try.” Plus, they have no interest in being part of a scene – “scenes breed mediocrity,” he exclaims.
And so with their new single “I Saw Heaven” out later this year, the noisy fuzz will be replaced with something closer to melody. The accompanying music video may reference “Antonioni’s Blow Up,” explains Manning. “We don’t just wanna do ‘band in a room’ or ‘distressed girl walking down
When it comes to making a debut album, they all agree that it will be a fully formed concept, complete with cover art and sleeve notes. For Relics, mediocrity is never an option.
Theo wears manches long light jersey t-shirt, smooth leather belt and blue brut jeans all by THE KOOPLES
Photographer: Laura Jane Coulson
Fashion Editor: Nicco Torelli
Words: Claire Considine