“Sorry, I feel a bit unprepared for this because I haven’t spoken to anyone about what the band do for so long.”
Says Emily Lansley, guitarist and vocalist of Liverpool band Stealing Sheep. In truth, it’s been a long time since live music has been on the agenda for many people, given the various states of restriction the country has been in since March 2020. However, Liverpool has pioneered the return of live events and Stealing Sheep are due to play alongside Kelly Lee Owens, Working Men’s Club, Tea Street Band and many others at FestEvol in the Invisible Wind Factory on the 7th of August.
Lansley says that the absence of live performance has had its positives, giving the band the chance to “work differently” and “more to our own pace” after over a decade of gigging. She is currently collaborating on a project entitled Infinite Visions in which artwork and other assets for their new album is being created and has found other ways to be creative whilst performing was not a possibility.
Stealing Sheep appeared as part of Liverpool’s Light Night at the end of May as the events’ Song Machine, in which the band created music to be completed by lyrics from members of the public.
“It was quite surreal after so long not gigging but at the same time it felt quite natural and normal…it’s almost like sometimes you can feel like time hasn’t passed and suddenly you’re just [playing] again.
“I think people just want to see a live thing [again] really.”
Lansley is no different in this regard and says she is keen to stay around to watch the other acts at FestEvol herself.
“After so long of not doing gigs, it’ll be nice just to be in that kind of atmosphere and environment. I’m quite interested in listening to Kelly Lee Owens…it should be really fun.”
Whilst Covid has meant a host of changes externally for musicians and music fans alike, within the band things are also a little different.
“One of the members of our band has had a baby so it changes how we’re working quite a lot. We’re in discovery mode and finding out new ways of doing things. It’s an exciting time.”
Lansley wasn’t willing to give up any secrets about their upcoming performance at FestEvol.
“We’ll be devising something one-off maybe, or playing some of the old tunes, we’re still figuring it out. We’re working on new stuff, so we might put some of the new stuff in, it might be a bit of a mixture.”
“I’m not going to give too much away!”
As part of an all-female band, Lansley is conscious of Stealing Sheep’s ability to be an example to other women and show that they can get to the top within a male-dominated industry.
“That’s kind of my mission really, to encourage more women to be part of the music industry, through doing it and creating work [for others]. We hope that we can inspire or encourage people to get up there and do their thing.”
Lansley highlights individuals like Bjork, P J Harvey and Patti Smith as the more “obvious” examples of inspirational figures from her formative years, but says that there are countless examples that she could name. She would particularly like to see more women in technical and production roles.
Reflecting on the way in which their sound had changed over the last 11 years, Lansley said that a more electronic sound had been present from the start, even within the more folk-like early material thanks to Rebecca “Bex” Hawley on keys, but that they began to gravitate towards this sound as the albums progressed.
“We were realising that we really enjoyed the music we listened to when we were out partying and wanted to create more of a party, so that when people come to the gig, they feel uplifted.” But Lansley is also keen to point out that there are multiple influences which have made up their sound over the years and that tastes have changed throughout that period.
No doubt the band’s energy and positivity will be welcomed by the returning crowds. They are set to continue with further performances at Psych Fest in Manchester and Focus Wales in Wrexham but Lansley maintains that the band are easing themselves back into gigging and are not “rushing anything” and with over a decade of work behind them and plenty more on the way, they have certainly earned it.
FestEvol All Dayer part 1 – CLICK HERE for tickets.
FestEvol All Dayer part 2 – CLICK HERE for tickets.