Andy Roberts talks with Lyca Sleep prior to their Joseph's Well show...
It has to be said Joseph's Well is not blessed with a glamorous backstage area.
The rock n' roll mystique of the place is even further reduced when it transpires that the venue burghers have decreed that the dressing rooms will not be open for excess tonight. After a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing around the back corridors of The 'Well, dodging Casual Terraces devouring Pizzas as though they hadn't eaten in a week, we finally settle on the tourbus as the best place for a few words.
Lyca Sleep's van is a smart German beast coated on inside with liberal applications of half-hinched Haven flyposters. There's a makeshift plank table fixed in the middle that happily accommodates my pint, but could - in the event of a tourbus prang - remove an ankle or two. For the four shaggy-haired stars sat around waiting for the questions, the van is often their only home.
Going around the bus, I meet Rob (22) - guitars, Sime (21) on bass, Scott (18) plays drums and finally 21-year old vocalist Dan. It's immediately apparent that Lyca Sleep are deadly serious about their music. Yet they're not encumbered with trying to make as big a noise about themselves like certain local 'Frenchcore' garage bands we could mention.
"Sometimes there are too many bands out there, in people's faces. We'd prefer the music to be in people's ears instead." says Sime.
They're quick to point out they've got no intention of being pigeonholed as a band from a certain place, town or city. In fact they're coy initially about exactly where they all do hail from.
Scott: "Yorkshire, but from all over. As a single place we've played most gigs in Sheffield but we've played far more gigs all over the country."
"It seems as though some bands are on a five year tour of their own town!" continues Sime, pouring scorn on those that never make it out on the road.
"For example, we played Leicester last week to about say 15 people, but that was to people who want to listen - so really it doesn't matter how many it was. If we get another five fans who really like us at a gig like that then it's a success. " Says Dan.
Lyca Sleep are a brooding, bliss-inducing, guitar band. Their sound builds on dynamic atmospherics and heavy grooves not unlike the late lamented Verve. After astonishing an audience at The Cockpit at their first Leeds show during Futuresound, punters were left reeling, gibbering comparisons with A Storm In Heaven. Rarely do bands of formerly such unknown quantity have that kind of impact in this city.
Sime: "We get compared to The Verve because they're the only mainstream band that sounded like us. We sound like ten other bands that no-one's heard of as well!"
Rob: "People think we're experimental but really we just play with feeling. Not many bands these days play with feeling so we're classed as experimental".
"I like it like this though." continues Dan, "It can be temperamental at times - when the atmospherics aren't right. But you're not meant to play your most amazing gig every time. The fact that you can't play the same every time feeds you."
Scott: "Sometimes when you plug in and play it might not feel right. We're one of those bands based on being real, we haven't got preconceptions of who we are. All this stuff that gets churned out in cities as bands that are 'ones to watch' - yeah maybe, but no-one from anywhere else has heard of them.
"We don't concentrate on all that. We concentrate on what Rob says - 'playing with feeling'. Sometimes it just doesn't happen, the environment might be wrong. You might just have had a bad day."
No-one could claim Lyca Sleep lack focus. They're not messing about. There's live music to be played to as many people as they can reach all over the country. Through playing gigs far and wide they've developed a tight bond as mates as well as onstage. It's almost as though it's them against the world.
Scott: "The first time we went to play London it was totally different to times when we'd gone with mates just to spread the word about the band and have a laugh. This time we were totally on our own, just the four of us. It felt like our first ever gig all over again. Though we'd have loved our mates to come with us, it was ace to go and do that - just the four of us."
"It makes us more focused and it makes it an adventure every time." Says Rob.
"We may look up our own arses to some people, but we just want to work our arses off and get somewhere."
"We do miles," continues Sime, "I can't understand new bands that try to make money from all this. If you're seriously going to get anywhere you're going to lose money all the way - and we are losing money! I've come out tonight with about £2.50 in my pocket!"
Nothing fazes this band either. Even the small matter of playing at Leeds Festival.
"It was just like any other gig. We walked on and there were 500 people in the tent and it was like, 'Wow!', but then after a while because we were doing our usual thing it's just like any other show".
"All the problems before a gig and however much we get annoyed with each other, or whoever's supposed to be turning up in the crowd - even Queen Elizabeth could turn up and yet all I'll see when we're onstage is these three faces." Says Scott, "It's just Lyca Sleep playing a gig."
The band took great heart from winning the chance to play at Temple Newsam as a result of that first Leeds show at The Cockpit. As Dan says:
"What I liked was the fact that we'd not played Leeds before so I felt we got through on what we played that night and not down to the fact that we got a crowd down or had played with other bands before."
If you were wondering, Lyca Sleep take their name from William Blake's haunting The Little Girl Lost.
Dan: "I was reading Blake when we were rehearsing once and I just came across this poem.
"Being a drummer, I'd just finished my first book..." interrupts Scott laughing, "...and these lot were on about William Blake so I thought 'hell, I'll read another!' BFG, Fantastic Mr Fox, naah sod that, let's go straight for Blake!"
Sime: "It sounds really pretentious but I like the atmosphere of the poem. There's a lot of panic in it and a lot of contrast."
"It's about feeling different things about the same events and that for me is a really nice touch." Says Dan.
"Of course if anyone could pronounce the f***** it would be a bonus!" moans Sime.
Dan: "I like that though... it's like the lyrics of a song you like and you find out what they really are and you never forget them. It doesn't do any harm."
All too soon we have to call it a day. It's time for the band to get on with their main job as they see it - playing live. Blowing other bands offstage might be a better description.
Theirs is a long-term approach to building a fully appreciative fanbase. It's something that some bands - particularly of late - through playing fewer gigs and making as much noise without their instruments, readily eschew.
If Lyca (for the record it's pronounced 'Lie-sir') Sleep keep playing like they do tonight there'll be no hassle with venues failing to open dressing rooms.
With the commitment, talent and confidence they ooze, it won't be long before they're turning up to gigs in their van's big brother, ordering the décor of the backstage area and tucking into a substantial rider. The best things come to those who wait.