A Chat and a Gig with Childhood

Published

Aidan Kerr

Nottingham based indie-pop band Childhood supported Johnny Marr at the O2 Academy on October 27th, part of a nationwide tour. Aidan Kerr spoke with Ben Romans-Hopcraft (vocals) and Leo Dobsen (lead guitar) before seeing their performance:

Childhood press pic

Gathering a loyal following and gaining plaudits from the music press Childhood rolled into Glasgow to continue their support for Johnny Marr’s UK tour.  Before the gig in the O2 Academy, lead singer Ben Romans-Hopcraft, promised me a set consisting of “A lot of passion and fury” and the band duly delivered.

Opening up their 7 song set with You Could Be Different Romans-Hopcraft’s smooth vocals were on display.  So smooth is his voice that it has been remarked in the music press that “he could sing the Tory manifesto and still make it sound palatable”.

Undaunted by warming up for someone as well renowned as Johnny Marr the band showed a confidence well beyond both their age and time in the industry. This could be perhaps due to the organic way in which the band was born.

Childhood formed when Ben and Leo Dobsen (guitar) met while studying at Nottingham University.  After going to out to club nights the boys would head home and “Jam out” Ben recounted, adding, “It was all very cliché and uni student vibes”.  I wondered if they actually finished their studies or had they dropped out to pursue their musical careers.  Ben set the record straight on this, “We didn’t take what we were doing that seriously at the beginning, we just sorta was [sic] doing it for a laugh.  We never, like, had a meeting and looked into each other’s eyes and said we were going to be the next rock n roll band of England, drop out right now, call our mums and tell them to fuck off and get a million pound contract”.

Childhood-LeoBen-1 hires

It was quite clear from speaking to Ben and Leo that they wished to be their own band and not be placed into a pigeonhole.  Asked if they thought the comparison to The Stone Roses, which has been made by some music critics, was lazy Leo retorted “Yeah, I do…I’ve got nothing against The Stone Roses, they’re a good band, but I wouldn’t say they influence our music in anyway”.

One of the bonus tracks off the album is Pinballs and the Academy crowd were treated to a live performance of this.  I find it peculiar the track is not on the album proper as it is of serious quality.  Mid-way through the listener is treated to raucous psychedelic synth sounds, wailing guitars and banging drums.  This is the ‘passion and fury’ I was promised.

Another stand out song from the set was As I Am.  With a superbly catchy melodic guitar and drum rhythm throughout, and iced on top with by Roman-Hopkins’ velvet voice, it proved to be a winning formula.

Childhood has been gathering the attention of the music press and a small, but committed, band of fans.  With this tour bringing them to a wider audience, you too could find yourself tapping along to one of their melodies shortly.

Childhood’s latest album Lacuna, released this year by Marathon Artists and House Anxiety, is available now.