Likely To are an English indie pop duo, composed of
composer/multi-instrumentalist Pete Hobbs and lyricist/singer Jof Owen.
Owen and Hobbs both grew up in the village of Wendover in
Buckinghamshire. They met when they were still in school and started
writing songs together. They began writing and recording songs for The
Boy Least Likely To in the summer of 2002. The group created the
independent label Too Young to Die as a means to release their music.
Their first release was the 7" single "Paper Cuts" in 2003. They
released three singles and completed the recording of their debut album
before they played any live shows. Their debut album The Best Party
Ever was released in the UK in February of 2005. The album was released
in the United States in late Spring 2006.
The Best Party Ever was included in the Pitchfork top 50 albums of 2005
and was number 8 in the Rough Trade Shop top 100 albums of the same
They are known for the colourful characters that they use in their
artwork, which are drawn by Jof Owen's brother, Tim. The artwork for
their second album features 3D versions of the drawings that have been
included in the top ten bands of 2006 in Rolling Stone magazine, and
described as sounding like what would happen "if all your childhood
stuffed animals got together and started a band."
In October 2006 they toured the United Kingdom with Razorlight.
The touring band commonly included: Alistair Hamer, Adam Chetwood, Anthony Bishop, Bahar Brunton and Amanda Applewood.
In September 2006 they began work on their second album.
In 2007 they made a brilliant cover of the song "Faith" of George Michael released as a limited edition download.
In February 2008, the band posted two new songs from their upcoming
album on their MySpace. They also released a "I Box Up All The
Butterflies" as a free download single. The new album, previously
delayed by label troubles, is entitled "Law of the Playground" and was
released in March 2009. The album is available as both CD and LP, the
LP is sold exclusively at Insound.
Interview with Jof Owen
lyricist/singer of The
Boy Least Likely To :
S: When and how was The Boy
Least Likely To born?
We both come from the same village in England and we grew up together.
We were always in bands when we were young, and sometimes we were even
in the same bands. I suppose we started writing songs for The Boy Least
Likely To about five or six years ago. Everything else we’d
up to that point had been spectacularly unsuccessful.
S: Where is the name of the
band coming from?
: A lot of people think it’s a Morrissey reference because he
recorded a b side called "The Girl Least Likely To", but I
didn’t know about that song til afterwards. I just came up
the name one night when I was watching TV. I don’t know where
came from, but it just seemed to suit everything that we were doing. We
were recording songs in quite an unassuming way. We didn’t
expect it to come to anything. When we started recording all we had in
mind was releasing one single just for the fun of it. Just so we could
have a seven inch in with all the others in rough trade. We
didn’t even have big hopes for the album. We didn’t
the record with radio or TV or press or anything else but ourselves in
mind. And I want to always keep it that way. I don’t think
can make very interesting music if you’re thinking the whole
about whether the radio will play it or whether people at the NME will
like it. We didn’t care about that at all. And we still
don’t. We didn’t send any demos off to any record
or anything. We were completely happy just recording songs on our days
off from work and then getting them pressed up and releasing them every
now and then. And that’s probably why the records sound the
they do. And the name just seemed to fit with that. We never felt
particularly likely. We still don’t really.
are the positive and negative sides of being a musician in UK?
: I still find it quite difficult in the UK. There doesn’t seem
be anywhere for a band like this to exist. In the USA there’s
home for bands like us, because the alternative genuinely is an
alternative to the mainstream. So the two of them exist completely
separate from each other, but both of them can survive. In the UK it
just feels like the mainstream and the alternative are both fighting
for the same little space. I like the UK and I live here very happily,
but i think the music industry and media is controlled by too few
S: Do you feel anxious before a
: Sometimes I do still. I got really nervous last month when we played in
the rough trade shop in london, just because it’s quite weird
playing in shops and I really didn’t want us to be rubbish.
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
We both have lots of different influences. I guess The Boy Least Likely
To is just a big mess of all of them. We like a lot of the early
eighties pop groups that came out of punk, like Altered Images and
Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners
always a big influence. And then all the c86 bands, and all the bands
on 53rd and 3rd records and a lot of the Sarah Records and the k
records stuff. I love felt and beat happening. And the go betweens. And
Daniel Johnston. And Kenickie. And Pete’s always listening to
the Bee Gees and Abba. And then all the sixties girl singers, like
Sandie Shaw and Nancy Sinatra, especially all the Nancy and Lee albums.
And Shangri-las and all the Phil Spector stuff. And the Beach Boys. And
then I listen to a lot of country music and a lot of simple pop music.
And Ivor Cutler. I loved Ivor Cutler when I was growing up. Too many
things to list. But we still buy a lot of new records too.
never stopped being geeky about music. Weirdly one of the bands that
both of us loved was Manic Street Preachers. We loved the way the
lyrics and the music were divided up between the two different halves
of the band, and everything about them. The lyrics, the interviews, the
way they looked. I know we sound nothing like them, but they were one
of the biggest influences on us.
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought?
: I think it was "Easy pieces" by Lloyd Cole and The Commotions. I was so excited by the idea that you could program a CD
player to play something over and over again that I used to leave it on
repeat all night, so it would probably play through ten or twelve times
while I was asleep, and then in the morning I would just wake up and
turn it off.
S: How could you define the
music of The Boy Least Likely To?
: We’ve always called it “country disco”
we’ve been asked before. It’s indie pop too i
really it’s just a big mess of glockenspiels, fiddles,
guitars, keyboards, and any other weird instruments we have lying
S: Do you agree with Victor Hugo
who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?
Yes. I’m quite weirdly preoccupied with sadness. I think
things too much, and I worry too much. About death and dying. Sadness
can fill your heart and it is important I think to have something that
fills your heart, even if that thing is sadness. All these things make
me sad and that’s why I find them so pleasurable I guess -
still I dream of it by Brian Wilson, Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel, The
Straight Story, The Chapter in which Christopher Robin and Pooh come to
an enchanted place and we leave them there from the house at pooh
corner, a happy prince by Oscar Wilde, the nightingale and the rose by
Oscar Wilde, when the wind blows, and christmas makes me sad too.
S: When you write a song you
follow your heart, your brain or your hand?
My heart first, then my brain I guess. Lastly I follow my hand because
I like it to look nice on the page, so I lay all the lines out to make
it look pretty.
S: What is your favourite song
of The Boy Least Likely To and why?
I like most of our songs because I kind of wrote them so that someone
like me would like them. I am my own demographic. But if I had to pick
just one, then there’s a song called "The Boy With
Hearts" that I’m really proud of on the new album.
recorded all the brass parts with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. I
remember the demo was quite mournful in a really sweet way and I ended
up writing relatively simple words for it. It sounds quite sad and
Christmassy, and it reminds me of the theme tune to The Flumps but I
don’t expect anyone else will think that.
S: As musician, what is your
feeling about Internet?
: I love it. We probably wouldn’t exist without it. It means we
don’t have to worry so much anymore about whether someone at
radio or tv wants to play our record because people who like us can
listen to us without having to go to those places. The blogging
community have always been very kind to us and I love spending time on Twitter and Myspace.
S: Aside "spiders what do you
see when you close your eyes" ?
: Sometimes I see puddles. With raindrops falling really infrequently in
them. Then sometimes I see rats.
S: Where was "the best
party you have ever" been to?
: I remember a good one when I was seven or eight. We were outside. It
was sunny but it was really windy too so I had to blow my candles out
under a table. I remember being happy.
S: Can you describe what is a
typical The Boy Least Likely To's day?
All morning I will be doing boring stuff like emails and making phone
calls, then in the afternoon I’ll just be at home writing
or I’ll go in to the studio to meet Pete and perhaps record
something. And then in the evening I’ll probably sit about
watching TV or reading. Then I often do any interviews or writing
I’ve got to do after midnight. I like working when the rest
the world is asleep.
you venturesome persons?
: No. I have no desire to get out and see the world. I have a small
comfort zone and I am very comfortable in it. I still live in the same
village I was born in and I don’t suppose I’ll ever
S: Where would you like to play
in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?
: I’d love to play some more shows in Europe and I’d
love to go to Japan one day.
there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?
: Flying, spiders, frogs, toads, bats, mice, rats, food poisoning,
loneliness, failure and death. I supposed I’m mostly just
of being unhappy. I’d hate to be unhappy. Being happy is the
thing I’m good at. In a nervous paranoid way.
S: What is the best moment and
best place to listen to your music?
: A lot of
people tell us it makes a nice soundtrack to having a bath.
our website is dedicated to Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say
some words about them?
They were a huge influence on us, even if they didn’t sound
anything else we listened to. I was never really into rock music, but
everything about them seemed so completely different from every other
rock band I’d ever known. I fell in love with Motown Junk. They
talked about a lot of the writers I liked in interviews and a lot of
the films that I liked too and I would always want to find out more
about all the other things they talked about. I’ve seen them
more than any other band. My favourite ever gig was their third night
at the Astoria in London at Christmas when they completely destroyed
the stage. It was beautiful. Then it ended up being the last gig Richey
played with them, so it means a lot to me now. I’m so excited
about the new album coming out. If i had to pick a favourite song by
them I don’t think I could. This is some of my favourite
songs though in no particular order: Motown Junk, Little Baby Nothing,
Born a Girl, The Everlasting, everything off the Holy Bible,
particularly This Is Yesterday and Yes, From Despair To Where, Patrick
Bateman, Motorcycle Emptiness, Donkeys, Sepia, Australia, Removables,
Ocean Spray. Too many to list really. My favourite lyric is from Faster
– “I know I believe in nothing but it is my
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
: Easy. "Get In" by Kenickie. I think it’s
it’s the only album and can listen to when i’m
when I’m sad too. A record I can wake up happily in the
to and then have dance to in the evening, and then cry myself to sleep
with last thing at night.
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
: "Sugar Mouse" by Oh Atoms. It’s a very sweet little seven
inch I’m playing a lot at the moment. I’ll probably play
again a couple of times and then I’ve got a copy of the new
yeah yeahs album that I’ve been listening to all weekend so I
might go for that again.
S: Can you tell us the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
: "la madrague" by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot is hauntingly beautiful. One of my favourite songs ever.
S: And say something in French?
: Je suis triste sans toi. Emmène moi chez toi.
S: What are your plans for the
: Tomorrow I’m just going shopping. I need a new hoover.
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
: The few
people I love. I would be useless without them.
MANY thanks to Jof and The Boy Least Likely To for the interview!
More informations about The Boy Least Likely To:
- on their site:
- on their Myspace: