Basement Manners: Delaire, The Liar

Words by Maddy Howell

Having burst their way onto the scene earlier this year, London two-piece Delaire, The Liar have been pushing from strength to strength since the release of their awe-inspiring debut EP, 'Not Punk Enough'. Forged from a shared love of emotionally candid music and a passion to pursue their dreams, the duo's entrance into the alternative music world has been nothing short of remarkable.

Now confirmed to be playing the palatial London Koko in November in support of Creeper, and having recently graced the pages of Kerrang! magazine as one of their ones to watch, all signs seem to point towards Delaire, The Liar finally obtaining the glory that they're due. We caught up with one half of the duo, Ffin Colley, to talk about their debut EP, the struggles of life as a two-piece and the overwhelming impact of emo.

Burn After Writing: Earlier this year you released your debut EP, ‘Not Punk Enough’. What can you tell us about the themes behind this record?

Ffin Colley: I think that the most prevalent theme in the record is objectivity. It’s important to accept your fuck-ups and failings as the mortar of the person you are at present. So whilst recounting in the tracks, we try to look at those experiences, bad or good, with as little sentiment as possible. Looking at them objectively, accepting them as formative and trying to move forward regardless in a positive and progressive way. There’s a sense of that in each song, I believe.

BAW: For those yet to listen to the EP, what other artist’s influence can be heard across the tracks?

FC: Well, there are some obvious ones to anyone that had a fringe like me and Joey [Brayshaw, drums] when we were in our teens. Paramore, La Dispute and Alexisonfire are all there but lyrically most of the influence was drawn from writers such as E.E Cummings (thanks to Jordan Dreyer of La Dispute for that one) Warsan Shire & Leonard Cohen.

BAW: As a two-piece, there is little room to hide within your sound, especially during live performances. Why did you establish as a duo and do you think you will consider adding to the line-up in the future?

FC: Yes and to be brutally frank, that is an absolutely terrifying part of this band – how open it is. But having only each other to rely on is quite a special thing for the two of us: it really pushes us to get the maximum we can out of ourselves and our instruments.

I think what’s important for us is not to compromise how we feel comfortable creating, just to adhere to someone else’s perception of what a band should look like or because of the risk of making mistakes. We’re told often that the two of us aren’t enough, but comments like that are really just a lit match to petrol.

BAW: ‘Not Punk Enough’ is a visceral release that sees your steer clear of countless genre boundaries, establishing your own position within an often-saturated scene. How important is it for you to maintain your own unique style?

FC: Neither of us are really too sure what that style is! Writing in a linear fashion, so the story develops rather than repeats both musically and lyrically, is a key factor that, right now, we’re very keen on. Aside from that, being thoughtful in the writing process is super important. It can be really easy to repeat a hook until it’s drilled into the back of the listener's skull but our view is that it’s a little wasteful when you could be trying to make the song more engaging and interesting for the listener.

BAW: Though what you’re creating is unique, there’s a clear influence of artists such as La Dispute and Touché Amoré within your sound, particularly evident in the gripping lyrical honesty and brash delivery. Does portraying human emotion in such a raw fashion ever become draining or overbearing when performing for an audience?

FC: Firstly, thank you, that is very kind. Secondly, I know both myself and Joey find the experience incredibly cathartic, spending half an hour being aggressively honest isn’t an outlet that everyone gets to experience. Although some of the content draws from a pretty sad well, there’s something quite potent about remembering the person you have been so vividly. It has helped me personally, to drag myself out of some bloomin’ horrible spots.

BAW: The EP title is a comment on the societal constraints placed upon people and how often we can feel obligated to adhere to dynamics assigned by others. Why was this an important subject for you to address on your debut release?

FC: The idea of not being enough for anything is just appalling and often those constraints are in place as a product of poor mental health. People mercilessly bullying themselves into thinking that they’re not allowed to try because there might be ridicule on the other side of the door. I know we’ve certainly felt/feel anxious that what we do isn’t going to be accepted by the populous but that title acts as a reminder that this tiny thing that we made doesn’t need validating, it exists and it is ours and that it enough.

BAW: Since your inception, the term ‘emo’ has often been used to describe your sound and the scene you operate within. Would you apply this label to yourselves and what influence has the emo movement had on Delaire, The Liar?

FC: We actively apply that term to ourselves! ’00s emo was such a huge player in our formative years, I’d never heard songwriting like ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ by Panic! at the Disco and my lord, when I first heard Patrick Stump and Hayley Williams’ voices, I was awoken.

BAW: Upon releasing your debut EP, you also made the decision to join the Crooked Noise roster. How did this signing come about and how has the label assisted you in your musical journey thus far?

FC: We’d known Tom [Newman, founder] for quite a while before the band started, through being in other bands and just general industry shoulder-rubbing. What was evident and made us want to work with Crooked Noise was that Tom is a fucking die-hard fan of every band on his roster – when the offer came through it felt super sincere and flattering, so we jumped at it. Since then, the Crooked Noise team has been super hands-on, dealing with all the back of house stuff that make mine and Joey’s brains fall out our arses.

BAW: Being based in London, you must be constantly surrounded by a wealth of musical talent and positivity. How has your location impacted upon your time as a band so far?

FC: There are so many excellent bands playing all the time it’s actually quite overwhelming (and expensive). I would say there’s definitely pros and cons, you have absolutely everything available to you if you can afford it.

BAW: With the year now drawing to a close, what’s next for Delaire, The Liar?

FC: Similar to most bands, playing shows is incredibly important to us, so we’ll be doing as much of that as possible and even though our debut has just come out, we’re starting to get quite itchy feet…