DS Interview: Getting to know Rob Lynch (English folk punk)

English pub folk rocker Rob Lynch has quickly been making quite a name for himself. Within a couple years of putting out his debut five-song EP in 2011, Lynch had found himself being asked to play at such high-profile events as the Download Festival, the Groezrock Festival and Gainesville’s Fest. Hot on the heels of a successful stint on the Acoustic Basement stage for the duration of this year’s Warped Tour, Lynch is now set to unleash his debut full-length, All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul on the masses (September 23rd, Xtra Mile Recordings).

Dying Scene caught up with Lynch from across the pond for a chat about the anxieties of waiting for your debut album’s long-awaited release, his Warped Tour experiences, and the inevitable Frank Turner comparisons. Check out our chat below!

Dying Scene (Jay Stone): First and foremost, congratulations on All These Nights In Bars… I’ve been on a bit of a folk-punk kick lately, so this album feels right at home. You’ve got that “drunken barroom singalong” thing down pat (though “True Romance” might be my favourite song on the album…go figure). Makes for a really enjoyable listen. Great work, man. Right then… Apologies for starting with the generic ‘standard operating procedure’ questions. And thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions on what seems to be a little break between busy tour schedules for you. Where does this email find you?

Rob Lynch: For once, you actually find me in my flat in London. I’ve just moved in, so I’m trying to spend as much time here (to get my money’s worth!) before I have to pack my bags and head off again.

All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul is due out September 22nd on your side of the pond and the following day here in the States. What’s the anticipation of your first full-length finally hitting the streets? Does it seem like the build up to Christmas when you’re a kid, or has the album been done for so long that it’s kind of anti-climactic now?

It’s somewhere between the two. I’m really excited as it’s my debut album and I’m really excited to get it out there in the big wide world, but also it’s been finished for quite a while so it will be a relief for it to be a real thing to everyone else rather than just an idea.

You recorded All These Nights… in Philly and East London. The latter of those two makes obvious sense, but how’d the opportunity to work with Shane Henderson come about? Recording on both sides of the Atlantic makes for an interesting experience I’d assume, no?

I met Shane and Trevor from Valencia when they were on tour in the UK with The Wonder Years back in 2011 as on one of the off days we played an acoustic show together and then they ended up staying at my house for a few nights. We drank far to many beers and Jagermeisters, had a joyous time hanging out and had Harry Potter themed rap battles. I was heading over to Fest the following year, so we thought it a good idea to schedule a couple of weeks recording when I was over there.

We got some some skeletons of songs laid down, but it was nowhere near a finished album. So, I spent 2 months last summer with Sam Duckworth (Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) and Jay Malhotra, in Hoxton really getting into the meat of the album. I had some new songs written, and there were things I wanted to change and re-record in others, so we just really got into it. The whole process from Philly to London, was a really enjoyable and liberating, and at times testing, experience. I’m really happy with the final product, and the album sounds how it is meant to.

You played the duration of the Warped Tour this year. A lot of old-timers (such as myself, I suppose) have soured a bit on the Warped Tour (particularly the lineups) since its early/glory days, but that Acoustic Basement feature does seem pretty cool. Any favourite artists you got to hang with or favourite stories to tell from your summer in the US? 

I’m probably more in your camp in terms of thoughts on the line up, but there were still some great bands and artists this year, especially as you say on the Acoustic Basement stage. I was out there on my own so I was free to do as I fancied and hang out with whoever. I became good friends with everyone on my stage, and the bands that were cool to hang with were Bad Rabbits, The Maine, The Story So Far/Elder Brother, Close Your Eyes, and there were many, many others. Enter Shikari and Marmozets arrived half way through the tour and so The British Embassy was formed outside the ES bus, which was a little blue gazebo with an ice bucket underneath with a constant supply of Frosty Suds (or cold beers, to non-Embassy members).

I also loved hanging out with Chris Conley from Saves The Day, he was a really interesting a loving guy. Myself and Allison Weiss got matching tattoos of Chris’ trademark turquoise sunglasses.

In addition to Warped, you’ve also played such high-profile gigs as Groezrock, the Download Festival and Fest in Gainesville, all within a couple years of putting out your first EP. Which of those do you consider to be the most massive accomplishment to date, or is there perhaps something else that’s not on that list.

Each time I get offered something, it seems to be a step up from the thing that I did before, which I already thought was the coolest thing that I’d done. So, it’s all relative to the time.
At Fest, Hans who runs Groezrock saw me play, and as soon as I’d finished playing he came up to me and asked me to play at Groezrock the following year. I thought that was pretty cool that he asked me to do it just off the back of seeing me live, once.

I asked a similar question to your fellow countryman Jay “Beans On Toast” McAllister, but given the fact that the extent of most Americans’ knowledge on acoustic British anti-folk music consists of only Frank Turner and Billy Bragg, that must have made for a pretty solid response at the Warped shows, no?

I had absolutely no expectations for Warped at all, due to having never toured in the States or having an album out. So, when people came up to me and said they’d been looking forward to watching me and talked about certain songs, that blew my mind slightly.
What was also cool, was that there were a lot of people who hadn’t heard of me before who came to check it out. Connecting with people from a different country, that is a long way from home, through the power of music is a beautiful thing.

Speaking of Frank Turner, the comparisons there seem obvious. Is that just ‘lazy journalism’ particularly on the American side of things, or has Frank helped spawn a sort of folk Revival in the UK?

Frank Turner is someone who worked the DIY circuit for years, plays an acoustic guitar, is English and is on Xtra Mile. So, there are some comparisons there, obviously.
I think musically, it’s a slightly lazy comparison. But, I also understand why people make it. He’s definitely leading the way and opening doors for people.

You had a bunch of solo tour dates scheduled for this fall that you put off in order to jump on to This Wild Life’s UK tour. Was that a no-brainer, or was that a bit of a bittersweet decision knowing that it was right around album release time?

It just made more sense to do the TWL tour. I hate cancelling shows, but it seemed like a better idea to do these support shows as the album comes out, and then reschedule some headline shows once the album’s had a little time to breathe, and hopefully if people at the TWL shows enjoy the live show, then they’ll come back to the headliners along with anyone else who was planning to come to the original dates or people who get into post-album release.

The life of a singer-songwriter seems to be a tireless one, particularly where touring is concerned. You planning to stay busy on the road in between the This Wild Life shows and the Germany shows?

I’ve got a couple of weeks off in between the TWL tour and the mainland Europe dates, which I’m going to use for some album promo and full band rehearsals. I also need to start running again, so that’s the perfect time for me to get a couple of weeks exercise in. I’ve been on tour for about 4 months, and then copious amounts of beer haven’t been kind on me.

Speaking of Germany, you seem to have built up quite a following there. Why Germany, do you think? Aside from the obvious language differences, how do German crowds compare to those in the UK?

I’m on a label in Germany, Austria, Switzerland called Grand Hotel van Cleef, which is very respected in that territory. Fans of the label have jumped on board and word has spread.
German crowds are very respectful but also brutally honest. They listen intently and take in everything, but then can get rowdy too. I love it over there. UK crowds really vary, it just depends what mood they’re in and what day of the week it is.

Anything else you might want Dying Scene readers to know about?

Just that I’d love you to check out the album! You can interact with me at facebook.com/roblynchmusic and at twitter.com/TheRobLynch and I hope to be back on your fine shores before the summer!

Congrats again on All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul. Stellar fucking job. Hope to catch you in the States again before long!

Thanks dude, see you then!

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