LEADER, a 5-piece band from Oxfordshire & Buckingham have shared the stage with artists including The Lambrettas, Scouting For Girls, The Feeling, The Fratellis, Tom Jones, Razorlight, Lonely The Brave and most recently The Hoosiers. They sold out their first headline show at Oxford’s O2 Academy, in support of their EP in 2016. Earlier this year the band toured the UK to promote their single ‘Golden’. With support from the likes of BBC Introducing and various tastemakers as well as new partnerships on the horizon and now their latest single, the rest of the year proves to be bigger and better for Leader.

In preparation for their new single ‘Open Skies,’ Ty Bennett caught up with the indie-rock Oxford-based band to find out more about what sets them apart, how they make music, and what it’s like being in a rock band.

How and when did you form as a band?
Luke: We formed as Leader a few years back in 2014. Some of us were in a previous band and basically decided to start a new band with a whole new sound, image, and branding. A couple members have come and gone but the line up now is Leader

If you had to make a playlist of bands to introduce listeners to your style of music, who would be on it?
Ben: We would like to think our sound is slightly unique but we have been compared to bands like Kings of Leon, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Stereophonics

What’s the story behind the writing of ‘Open Skies?
Matt B: Whenever we write new material we tend to write as a full band together. One of us will start with an idea whether then it just dominoes from there and that’s how we wrote ‘Open Skies’.

Matt M: We are confident that a few versions were thrown around, some better than others obviously, but we are very happy with the final product and can’t wait for this to be our next single release!

What are the most common themes in your music?
Ben: I always like to write about life experiences. Not always necessarily my own but I want the lyrics to be relatable to everyone.

If you could play at any renowned gig/festival from the past, which one would you play?
Mikey: There’s only one past festival I’m confident all bands would have liked to have played and that would be Woodstock 1969!

What emerging band are you a fan of at the moment?
Luke: With most of us being Oxford boys we like to see other local bands doing well and coming through. A band called ‘I Cried Wolf’ are doing really well and we are a fan of a reasonably new band called the ‘Waterfools’. They are starting to make a name for themselves which is great and Mikey had the pleasure of recording end engineering some of their latest material

You’ve shared the stage with the likes of The Fratellis, Razorlight, Scouting for Girls and Turin Brakes, amongst many others. Who has been the best and worst to work with?
Matt B: Haha we never kiss and tell! Some bands have been awesome to play with but we can assure you some most definitely have not. The word Diva comes to mind!

Choose an adjective to describe each member of the band.
Luke on Matt M: LOUD!
Ben on Luke: Little
Matt M on Matt B: Multi-instrumentalist
Matt B on Ben: Impulsive
Ben on Mikey: KFC

Which is your favourite song to play live and why?
Matt M: That question is sure to divide the group and probably cause arguments but “Rain” has always been my favourite and I think one of the band’s favourites as well. It has great drive and melodies

Where do you hope to go next? What are your goals?
Luke: To make the world know Leader! We will just continue to write music we enjoy playing and keep pushing for the next step. Play great gigs and festivals and get some more radio play

If you could change the music industry in one way, how would you change it?
Matt M: It’s a pretty ruthless industry and you have to be thick-skinned to be a part of it but we understand its business at the end of the day. Social media plays a huge part in it and unfortunately, you could be the best band in the world but if your social media isn’t strong it decreases your chance of getting somewhere which is a shame

What sets you apart from other all-male indie-rock bands?
Mikey: I’m not sure what sets us apart but our main thing is we have fun. Whenever we’re on stage we always have a great time and we’ve been told many times that it shows in our performance.

Ben Edginton – Vocals
Luke Coggins – Bass
Mikey Fletcher – Guitar / Vocals
Matt Barrell – Guitar
Matt Morris – Drums

Find out more about the band.

New single ‘Open Skies’ is out now

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