If asked, Tilly Scantlebury will describe her younger self as “pretty fearless.” The Lazy Day singer remembers ripping off her armbands at the swimming pool before jumping in, or sharing the seat of her dad’s bicycle, pleading with her father to cycle faster down a hill to her school close to her north London home. Those of you lucky enough to have grabbed a copy of Lazy Day’s 2017 single With My Mind will have seen the proof of this. Tilly standing by the side of the pool, lost inside her big brother’s oversized trunks, armbands discarded, poised to jump in. Tilly has spent most of her life since taking risks, doing the opposite of what’s expected. A life lived fearless, just jumping in.
“My grandma recently told me that I used to just climb up onto the table and fling myself off without hesitation,” she chuckles. “She said that rather than telling me to stop, my mum would just put cushions down all over the floor for me to land on. When I heard that, a lot of things about myself clicked into place. One of the reasons why I’ve used old photos of myself as single artwork is because it was a time that I felt really brave. I want to be as brave about Lazy Day as I was about so many things when I was younger.”
Lazy Day’s new E.P, Letters, due March 22nd on the band’s own label, Weird Cool Records (via Republic Of Music) is ample evidence of this. These are songs constructed from the debris of life. Big feelings. Big consequences. The E.P’s lead-off single Double j is a celebration of how friendship can help heal deep wounds. Second single Mumma (due March 5th), is an ode to the very woman who put down those cushions all those years ago. Who, in Tilly’s own words, “allowed me to be adventurous.” The E.P. was supported by ReBalance, an organisation funded by Festival Republic with the support of the PRS Foundation which assists women in the process of making and recording music. Having started the recording process with her band at their studio in Hackney, the funding allowed Tilly to record at Czar Street Studios with producer Steph Marziano. The funding empowered Tilly to really take control of the process and she recorded everything else herself in the studio with Steph. Learn more about ReBalance here: https://rebalancemusic.com.
Tilly juggled the writing and recording of Letters with her ongoing PhD. Her studies and her music play into each other. “I’m researching modern and contemporary art that looks at the representation of queer people, their communities and families.” she explains, “These ideas find their way into everything I do, including Lazy Day. A lot of my research is about rethinking our social structures and imagining what it could mean to live differently. I feel really strongly about talking through these things, about thinking and living queerly and the importance that feminism plays, not just in my research, but in my life.”
Letters’ songs are delivered via Tilly’s remarkable voice; all gravitas, all ballast, like sand flowing down the tide of a river. Its union with Lazy Day’s old-fashioned alternative rock - in the very best, rustic, timeless sense - owes something to PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, even to Karen O of Tilly’s beloved Yeah Yeah Yeahs. “I never intended on being a singer,” reveals Tilly. “I never felt like I had the best voice. I was the girl who played drums. But I realised pretty quickly when I was playing drums that it’s harder to be the drummer and also be in control of the music. When I started Lazy Day it was quiet and home-recorded and very dreamy bedroom music, but as soon as I started playing with actual people and got more confident, I made a real effort to find my voice.”