By alexander laurence
Ltd. is a new exciting band from New York City. They recently
put out an EP and have an album coming out early next year.
They have a mix of cool influences and have mastered the
art of songwriting. They come from all over the United States
and the Ireland to make this music happen. Marcus Congleton
is from Oregon and sings and plays guitar. Andrew Haskell
is from DC and plays keyboards. Darren Beckett is from Belfast
and plays drums. Benji Lysaght is from Los Angeles and plays
guitar. Matt Dubin is the only member from New York City.
He plays bass guitar. They recorded some tracks with Jim
Abbiss who also did the recent Placebo record. We are looking
forward to their first album on TVT Records. I spoke to
Darren, Andrew, and Benji right before their sold out show
with Placebo in Hollywood. The reaction from the Placebo
fans was positive. We look for bigger and brighter things
from this band in the future.
AL: How has the tour been going?
Andrew: We have been playing about ten shows with Placebo
over three weeks. The sound in New York was dodgy and the
show sucked. Some people gave us a good reaction. It was
a good show but not the best one on the tour. This is the
first time we have done a tour on this scale.
Darren: Our best shows were in Canada. They were really
AL: In New York, you are seen as one of the up and coming
band. A band to check out. But people on the west coast
haven't seen you yet.
Andrew: No. I don't think so. We got a little airplay out
here. I don't think many people have seen us play live.
AL: The following in New York is pretty good though?
Andrew: It's pretty good. It is getting there. For a while
it wasn't much. It just goes to show, once you go outside
of New York, it's a different story.
Benji: We are trying to play outside of New York as much
as possible. New York City is not the litmus test for what's
going on, in terms of what the fans actually like. People
in New York are very selective and jaded. All the clichés
you heard about the city are true. Once you step outside
the city it's like night and day. People around the country
and in Canada and more open to give bands a chance. They
are not arrogant about music. They don't care what you look
AL: You think that it is like that everywhere outside of
New York City?
Andrew: When we played Boston for the first time a few
months ago that was our first experience of that. It was
amazing. It was their attitude. They were willing to give
bands that they never heard of a chance.
Benji: London was like that too. It was great. That was
our second gig outside of New York. People were jumping
onstage and going crazy.
AL: England has a great music press. You hear about a lot
of band very fast.
Andrew: You can play New York for years and create a vibe.
Then you go elsewhere and make waves. People in New York
want you back. They want to claim you. They say "You
are a New York band."
Darren: We have had good shows in New York too.
AL: A few years ago, people were saying "Oh no, not
another band from Sweden." Now they say "Here's
another band from New York."
Benji: Good music is good music. There is always stuff
coming out of New York. There is so much going on. People
are hesitant to claim something. They are afraid that people
are going to like something else. Or there's going to be
some other trend coming along. People like to have their
own secret find. When you become too big, people look for
something else that is special. In New York, that happens
all the time. There are always bands coming from the underground
into the mainstream.
AL: How did you meet each other?
Andrew: I met Marcus and Darren a little over two years
ago. We started playing together. It was a completely different
band. Benji joined about a year ago. Matt came in a few
months later. We knew each other for a while as musicians
in the city.
AL: What do you think about this focus on the city?
Andrew: There is a certain aspect of having a garage element
to your band to identify with all the other bands. Not only
are we different than most garage bands, we also come from
different backgrounds and cities. At the same time I love
Benji: We are one of the most non-NYC sounding bands. For
one, we are not a garage punk band. We are not doing that
minimalist garage punk thing. We don't subscribe to this
fashion esthetic that is attached to a lot of these New
York bands. We still look good. We don't care if a lot of
record labels are operating with this formula.
AL: New York magazine did that article last fall where
there was 25 NYC bands you need to know. Every band wears
black and is smoking cigarettes.
Andrew: It's the retro thing, trying to look like Television.
AL: How do you work when it comes to songwriting?
Andrew: All the songs on the EP were written when all of
us were in the band. "Stay Where You Are" is the
very first thing we recorded as a band. Marcus writes the
songs. He does the chords and the melody. He writes the
lyrics. We all add parts and the songs evolve over time.
Darren: Marcus is the main songwriter but recently we all
wrote one song together.
AL: Why did you release an EP rather than a full album?
Andrew: We recorded a full album in London. It's done.
We are coming out with a single there in September. The
album will come out at the end of the year. The record company
wanted to do this EP in America. We were glad to have something
AL: Did you play a lot of shows in England and Europe?
Andrew: We were recording our album in London with Jim
Abbiss. We only did one gig. We played with Rooney.
AL: Jim Abbiss did records with Placebo and Massive Attack.
Andrew: He has worked with DJ Shadow, The Music, and Sneaker
Pimps. He's great. Jim works with another guy called Barny
who engineers. Together, they make a good team. Being over
there was a trip.
AL: Why did you record it in London?
Andrew: For one, because Jim Abbiss is based there. It
was a chance to go to England. We had already signed to
Island Records over there. This relationship between Island
and TVT is a new thing. They are putting out a separate
EP, singles, and the album.
AL: Is there anything else you liked about England?
Darren: I like English food.
AL: Where did you record the album?
Andrew: A couple different studios. We started off at Mayfair.
Then we went to Shoreditch. There is a studio called The
Garden. That is actually Matt Johnson's studio. We finished
mixing it in Hammersmith.
AL: Darren, why did you come to New York? You are from
Darren: I always wanted to move to New York. I got kicked
out of an apartment. I just packed my stuff one day and
left. I owe people a lot of money. I ran up a bunch of phone
bills. I have all my visa and citizenship stuff sorted out
over here now.
AL: Are there any other bands that you like?
Benji: I like Jon Brion a lot. He's playing tonight at
AL: Any other bands.
Andrew: Elvis Costello, Talk Talk, Joy Division, and The
AL: Do you have any hobbies?
Darren: Drinking and making love.
AL: Do you have a hangout in NYC?
Darren: There's this bar called 119.
AL: What do your parents think of the band?
Darren: they hate it. Actually they are fans. Benji's mom
and dad are here tonight.
What is the hardest thing about doing music?
Darren: Listening to it. We are playing the same songs
every night and trying to make it better.
Andrew: The uncertainty.
AL: Do you improvise
Benji: Every night is different. Especially on tour. Every
venue is different and every guy you meet is different.
Now we have rented equipment. It all changes. It's hard
to find an equilibrium and adapt to everything to make it
presentable and excellent. We need to be comfortable enough
to play our best. If your are hung up on something, it's
going to effect the show.
AL: What is this picture on the cover of the EP?
Andrew: That is actually an ambulance. We didn't know till
after we saw it. It's a picture of a washed out ambulance.
It's a reflection of a wheel on a wet road.