We Used to Make Things are a Hackney-based eight piece Indie-Pop band brimming with melodic hooks, fat grooves, big horns, incisive lyrics and vocal harmonies that the Beach Boys would be proud of.
Their story begins four years ago when singer Matthew, a Yorkshireman, lost his job as a youth worker running a successful music project for young people in one of the most deprived parts of North London. The result of the austerity that came in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008. Left disillusioned, Matthew started to write lyrics that helped him poke fun at the absurdity of the world we live in. This was the catalyst for ‘We’re All Fucked Up’, the post-watershed title for new single ‘We’re All Messed Up’.
An early incarnation of the band took shape around Matthew, in the form of Ben (drummer & producer) and Marv (guitarist) – the band’s songwriting team. Together they had a dream of combining their own original mix of The Specials horn section; The Kinks’ worldview; The Beatles’ hooks; The Beach Boys’ harmonies; Divine Comedy’s wit and Elbow’s grandeur. They chose a name that hints at both the disillusionment within post-industrial Britain but also more personally at the danger – as adults – of losing the ability to play, make mistakes, be creative and ultimately, make things.
The lineup of musicians grew forming an unlikely set of friendships. We Used to Make Things spent the coming years developing a rich sound and an infectious sense of family – both onstage and off – which established them as a superb live act playing in festivals around the country. Their specialty became taking negative feelings and making these a joyous and cathartic experience for their live audiences and themselves.
Very early on the band were approached by various music industry figures but over the course of time felt more inclined to pursue a DIY ethic, one where they could fully realise the sound in their heads. This proved to be challenging at first but they learnt a lot during this period; their perseverance and commitment to their own vision resulted in this, their self-titled and self-produced debut album.
The songs on this album are shaped by warm, witty lyrics about dissatisfaction, personal politics, open plan offices and the kind of characters Mike Leigh and Pinter would be proud of. It is in turn funny, poignant and angry but also very good to dance to.
We’re All Messed Up is their debut single – and their state of the nation address – The world is unhinged. People are always looking for differences so why not celebrate our similarities. It’s magnificent and fucked up, but aren’t we all?