YOU SHOULD KNOW | 005
Average Sex. Talk about a name that catches your attention.
“When Sam suggested it I was fine with it because I didn’t think it was going to leave the kitchen anyway,” says lead singer Laetitia, laughing and referring to the early days of the band when they started out recording music in her kitchen.
But this wasn’t how the five-piece London pop punk band caught my attention.
I wasn’t recommended them by a friend. They didn’t pop up in a playlist on one of my streaming services. I didn’t come by them on social media or YouTube. And I wasn’t sent their latest press release or bio by their PR. I discovered Average Sex the old school way, in a live setting.
I happened to be at Standon Calling Festival in Hertfordshire when I walked past one of the stages and there they were. I’m not sure exactly how I came to be there – I think I might have been on my way to buy a cheese and chorizo toasted sandwich, but that’s not important – but I’m glad I ended up there.
It’s rare these days, especially in a time where we’re constantly bombarded with new music, new artists and new products, that a band or artist you’ve never heard before can grab your attention and keep it. Being completely honest, I was fixated with watching Average Sex – reading this statement back sounds like I’m dealing with a few intimacy issues but I’m not, c’mon now, grow up!
Watching them up close and personal I realised pretty quickly that they had a sense rebellious innocence about them. On the one hand they were energetic and fearless as they performed with attitude on their faces and rocket fuel in their feet, and then on the other you could tell they were a little wet behind the ears as they switched between songs and nervously informed the crowd where they could find their music – it oozed D.I.Y. rock and roll and I loved it.
So who are they?
Laetitia is the playful mouthpiece of the band, and upon meeting her it’s obvious why the infectious French woman is the lead singer. Sam, who made it a point to tell me his younger brother went to school with Dele Alli, is the man behind the pen. A little left of centre with his thinking – he’s the one who came up with the band’s name – aside from writing great songs he also plays lead guitar.
Then there’s Louise, the band’s rhythm guitarist. Someone who could so easily be mistaken for Liv Tyler’s character in Empire Records, both beautiful and talented there’s no question she could kick your ass if necessary.
On bass there’s Jamie – although at Standon Calling the band had James stand in as Jamie couldn’t make it – and on drums there’s Finn, the cool, calm and collected overseer who comes across like a Bond villain quietly sitting at the back watching over everything until it’s time for action.
“It all started when I met Sam, when he used to play drums in Finn’s [old] band,” explains Laetitia. “We met, we bonded and we started doing some music and started doing some songs in my kitchen, but we thought it was just going to be kind of like The Moldy Peaches jokey stuff.”
Going on to explain that Finn and his brother had a record label called Crocodile Records, Laetitia and Sam were asked by them to contribute to a compilation the label was putting out.
“We did an anti-Brexit compilation,” explains Finn, referring to Better Off Together.
Laetitia continued: “So we begged Finn and Jamie to play on the recordings and then they ended up joining the band.”
“There were some great bands on there,” says Sam. “We were just happy to be a part of it and weren’t sure how much more we were going to do but then we started to get some gig offers and that’s pretty much how we got our start.”
Louise joined the band, through her friendship with Sam after they worked in a charity call centre together, but before that it turns out that her mother already knew some of the band. It was meant to be, obviously.
Inspired by bands such as The Strokes, Weezer, Blink 182 and The Moldy Peaches, I mention that Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys cites The Strokes as a huge influence and Sam pipes up making sure I know he’s not a fan of the Turner’s band.
Also influenced by 60s French pop music, because of Laetitia’s upbringing, the band have a very eclectic taste in music that also includes some guilty pleasures – according to Sam at least – that are often abruptly interrupted on road trips.
“We listen to our guilty pleasures on the way to gigs,” says Sam. “But then these guys start playing the heavier stuff from their musical spectrum – like Marilyn Manson – and I’m often heard saying ‘Turn it down, my ears are hurting!’ like an old man.
Going on to be managed by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, who the band toured with early on, Sam admits this was something neither he or the band saw coming or happening quite as fast as it did: “Things went a little further than planned.”
So what about the name?
“Oh that’s all him,” Laetitia says, pointing at Sam. “Average Sex is all him.”
“There was a time I wasn’t in a relationship and having casual encounters,” explains Sam. “I got quite depressed about it all because it wasn’t as fun as being in something committed with someone. So to me it was average, it was an average thing to do – it wasn’t so much the sex itself that was average. I’m not advocating any promiscuous behaviour at all, I’m saying don’t have average sex.”
It’s at this point that Laetitia chimes in with her own PSA: “Make sure you wear protection people!”
“I remember Sam mentioned the name to me a long time ago when we used to work in the call centre,” Louise recalls. “We’d have these weird and really crap parties and one night we were just sat on the sofa and Sam was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got this idea for a band name. I don’t know what it’s going to be on, an indie or something, but it’s going to be called Average Sex.’ But then nothing came of it for years and years until they all met.”
Sam adds: “It went with all the songs we were writing at the time too. The first EP, Ice Cream, we pretty much wrote it in the first two days of getting together and I felt like the songs really suited the name.
“Every band I’ve ever spoken to always says that coming up with a name is the hardest thing to do so I felt like Average Sex just worked for us.”
The band have just released their new EP Melodie and then plan on releasing another EP soon followed by a full-length album, all the while touring and doing festivals in the process. So it’s a busy time for the London-based band, but an exciting one nonetheless.
“We have a five-year plan,” jokes Laetitia. “Seriously though, we just love doing what we do and we hope everyone else who listens to our music or comes into contact with it loves what we do too.”
Average Sex’s new EP Melodie is out now.