MDR Selects – Real Lies

MDR Selects returns: a series that invites our favourite artists, labels, record stores and more to curate a playlist of songs that hold specific meaning to them. For this edition, we’re stoked to hear from London-based twilight-dwellers Real Lies, ahead of their Liverpool show at The Shipping Forecast next week.  

The electronic duo step up to soundtrack your solo walk home from the club in the rain. Euphoric and intimate, Real Lies craft a distinct sound that stirs an emotion you can’t quite put your finger on. As they swing by our city as part of their UK tour, we’re excited to dive in to the music behind their own material. Read about their selections below, and listen out for a tune or two of their own…

“When I first started writing lyrics, it was in a phase when I just wanted to be Dan Treacy. I don’t have a big voice; it’s one that could only ever live in your head or on your shoulder. So I loved Television Personalities because I saw that they could move people without belting out some show-stopping prima donna performance that would dribble out across seven different octaves.

I was going to a lot of parties at the time, living in a weirdly idyllic house by a reservoir in zone 3, so the love of TVPs collided with ecstatic evenings spent by the water, listening to house music. I’d never really liked house growing up; I was more into UK garage, but sometimes certain types of music descend upon and trap moments in time in a way that lifts you out of time. That’s how it felt then and from that emerged ‘Deeper’, the first song we ever wrote, inspired by house and the mumblings of this chronically shy boy from London – extrovert music for introvert people.

A lot of the tunes here follow that dynamic – they’re euphoric and feel widescreen but there’s also a privacy and intimacy to them that pulls them in closer to you. ‘Glide By Shooting’ pulls off that trick and is included here as a hopelessly insufficient tribute to the late Andrew Weatherall, who came from the same London ‘shadowlands’ as me and is along with the rest of the Boy’s Own mob an inspiration. Interestingly, I think they started out wanting to rip off The End, the famous Liverpool fanzine. We’ve included beloved tracks by China Crisis and the Bunnymen here – as well as Weatherall’s remix of ‘Imperfect List’ – to extend that spirit of inter-city cultural exchange.

Other tracks on the playlist have appeared in our UNREAL Radio show, which are semi-regular odysseys into techno, house, UKG, ambient and whatever else Patrick feels like pulling together into an hour-long mix before I come and add original lyrics. The classic Sunshower and South Street Player cuts have featured in the show and our latest single, ‘Boss Trick’, emerged from the last UNREAL Radio session, when I added lyrics to ‘Embrace’ by Lenni Gait’s Melody Band. 

You can hear what that sounds like when we play live at the Shipping Forecast next Wednesday, the 18th of March. We aren’t as shy as we used to be but the set still rides that thin line between euphoria and intimacy, and in its new stripped back form, the live show is the most exciting thing I’ve been a part of since we started Real Lies.

We haven’t played much in Liverpool before – just once at Sound City and then again at that big pink cake place The Olympia with Foals in 2015 – but I love the city dearly, from the cathedral at one end of the scale, to Woody’s karaoke bar at the other. We’re hoping to take in the splendour of both next week, and I’m hoping to coax Patrick into a Julian Cope-inspired game of ‘sock’ on the way there, though we’re getting the train up so I think he might deem it a bit too dangerous.”