When in a band, you’ll always get asked how you formed. Until recently there were 0 that could say they’d formed in a global pandemic. Cue 2020 and now that’s all changed with a wave of bands that have spent months rehearsing without playing in front of a single person. Meet Express Office Portico, Nottingham’s synth-pop newbies who emerged in early 2021 with earworm debut single ‘I Like It Weird’. Now ready to finally take to the stage for the first time, we catch up with the band ahead of a new single and a Summer of shows.
Evening EOP! Start off by introducing yourselves for us please…
Hi! We are Express Office Portico (call us EOP for short), a synth-pop band from Nottingham who are never short of conversation! We took our name from the entrance to an old newspaper distribution office in the city centre, in case you were wondering why we have such a long name. Singers Billy and Tara both multitask by also playing synths, with Roo (Guitar), Ben (Bass) and Olly (Drums) completing the not so famous five.
You’ve just announced your new single ‘Mishmesh’ which is out next week, what can you tell us about the tune?
Well, we’re all buzzing for everyone to hear it for a start! It was written as a retaliation to alcohol dependency and the frustrations surrounding that reliance, so naturally there is a post-punk feel to it. Plenty of references in there around toxic habits which we like to think a lot of people can relate to. There’s also some pretty off-the-wall imagery in there which we’re eager to shock people with, keep ’em on their toes y’know.
Is the single part of a bigger project or just seeing where it takes you for now?
Having been sat on plenty of material throughout lockdown we have loads of things to be developing so this is only the beginning! We all love writing, releasing and performing so as long as we’re living and breathing we’ll be doing it!
Debut single ‘I Like It Weird’ was a retro-electro-pop earworm. Where does the inspiration for your sound come from?
We’re all quite diverse in our musical tastes so when we come together it feels like we all add something different which is really refreshing. Being a synth heavy band, we undoubtedly garner inspiration from a lot of synth-pop 80’s artists. Add a little indie in there, some shoegaze and a dash of punk and you got yourself a scrumptious EOP cocktail.
Having only just come together within the last year, how excited are you to get out playing your first shows?
We. Are. ITCHING to go! Honestly, it’s like Christmas! It’s been a weird experience starting a band during a pandemic. We’ve all felt cooped up as we’ve not been able to showcase our material, but that all ends in August! We’re eager for people to hear our live set and hopefully throw some shapes with us at Bodega.
Talk us through the rehearsal room. Is the songwriting fairly collaborative between all of you?
Naturally in lockdowns we were forced into writing from our bedrooms. We ended up coming up with some good stuff by bating ideas back and forth with countless zoom calls to discuss. Any one of us would pitch an idea to the group and we’d take things from there. But nothing beats us all meeting up in person and (mish)meshing our ideas together in the company of one another (see what we did there?).
You’re just getting started in the Notts music scene, but what are some of your favourite memories from shows and bands from the city?
Billy’s seen Sleaford Mods god knows how many times around the city. He also stumbled across Kagoule in a Jägermeister hut at a London festival which was a nice sweaty surprise. Roo has seen Do Nothing across the city a plenty. We were all big indie kids of course so Dog is Dead were always a staple.
Finally, if money and feasibility was out the question, what would be each of your dream rider requests?
Olly: A bathtub full of KFC gravy
Ben: A trough full of tzatziki
Tara: A vat full of vegan burgers
Billy: A vessel full of curry
Roo: A crate full of antihistamine tablets
You can tell that food is our priority; that and staving off allergies. How rock and roll ay!
Express Office Portico play The Bodega on 26th August, as part of our Tempo Showcase events. Tickets are available now.