Marie Williamson, Lloyd Price, and Peter Steer have known in each other for years, coming across each other regularly on the UK electronic scene and beyond. Time and circumstance has led the trio to work together as AGENCY-V, and the release of their No Divide EP seemed a good opportunity to catch up with them. Read on to find out more.
What made you want to get into music?
Marie Williamson (MW): I wanted to get into music from a very early age and like many growing up I really connected with the music and the lyrics of my favourite bands. Music represented all that I stood for in my teenage years. I came to appreciate many genres being a music lover but didn’t actually get into writing and recording until much, much later.
I bought a Depeche Mode covers Album Bright Lights Dark Room in 2006, there was one amazing dance cover of Ice Machine by a band called Alien 6. I loved the track and the female vocalist, and this was my inspiration to record a DM dance cover several years later. The funny thing is now 14 years on quite by chance I find myself working with Lloyd and Pete.
We were chatting a couple of weeks back about influences and I mentioned this. I was pretty staggered when Pete announced that he and his friend were actually Alien 6! Of all the thousands of covers out there it was this track that finally kick started my music career… spooky coincidence!
Lloyd Price (LP): There was always music in my house when I was growing up. My parents were into The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Tamla Motown, Ska… A lot of very good, tuneful music with a lot of energy. I loved that growing up.
I suppose for me, what got me into wanting to create was hearing Kraftwerk and a lot of the US Electro artists of the early 80’s. Unlike most UK artists I didn’t actually find a lot of influence in the UK electronic acts of the 80’s. I kind of grew to appreciate them. I think the only one I really noticed back then was Gary Numan.
Peter Steer (PS): I got into music around 1979, I started buying a few 7” singles of things like Sparks and The Boomtown Rats… Then along came Gary Numan and that changed absolutely everything for me, I’d never heard anything like that before and it blew my young impressionable mind. My first concert was Gary Numan at Hammersmith Odeon in September 1980 and that was when I decided I wanted to be a musician… still to this day it was the most incredible and life changing experience!
What inspires you to write?
MW: Everyday life!! Watching and observing situations, particularly emotional ones, can often give me really good subject matter for lyrics. Also hearing a great piece of music and instantly knowing I can write a melody and lyrics just by the way the it makes me feel or what it plugs me in to. Quite often I disappear into another zone while I’m writing and find that it’s a great channel and a very good way of expressing myself. Musically many genres inspire me I think all artists can take something from every genre.
LP: It’s usually hearing something on TV or radio and connecting with the rhythm or the melody that gets ideas flowing. If I start getting into a groove of something that usually gets me jumping on the kit and experimenting.
PS: I’m like a sponge, I soak up as much as possible from films, TV, everyday life and anything I hear. My writing antenna is always switched on, I always write anything interesting down in my phone.
Who has had the most influence on your music?
MW: DEPECHE MODE were definitely my biggest influence after first seeing them live in 1982. I loved the electronic era and the darkness of their lyrics. Many 80’s bands such Yazoo, Erasure, Ultravox and The Cure. I also loved rock bands, my favourite being Heart in the 80’s then later on getting more into dance and trance music with great female vocalists. Oh yes, and Green Day!! Gotta love them! The first track I ever recorded was a dance version of Depeche Modes Puppets all because of Alien 6 as I mentioned before.
LP: Way too many really. I love Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan. Listening to NIN usually sparks ideas.
PS: I’d have to say Gary Numan, Ultravox (both versions), OMD, Thomas Dolby and of course Trent Reznor… he’s a genius!
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
MW: Balancing music with life in general. Lyrics always seem to come to me in the worst possible places and at the worst possible times. Not sure what I’d do without the voice recorder on my iPhone!
LP: Getting back into music after a massive change in my life. This project came along after a really long period of not wanting to do anything.
PS: Trying to finish the third Tenek album, that became a bit of a saga and took way too long.18 months between the first two albums and then over five years to do Smoke & Mirrors!!
What has been the nicest thing ever written about you?
MW: “Sings with the breathy air or a Greek electro pop goddess.”
LP: I’m quite miffed no one called me a breathy electro pop goddess…!
PS: “Peter is a bright and engaging student but is easily distracted and always wants to play the clown!”
What has been the best and worst gig you’ve ever played?
MW: NOT APPLICABLE!!!!
LP: Best gig was probably when I played on the Ohm from Ohm tour with my other band The Frixion. There were several great shows, but I think the standout one for me was when we headlined in my hometown of Southend. That was really great. Worst was also on the Ohm from Ohm tour when we played some toilet in Leeds. One I would rather forget.
PS: Most memorable was supporting Gary Numan on 3 dates of the Isolate tour in 1992 with my band BonBooshe as we got to play at Hammersmith where I’d seen my first ever gig 12 years previously! Worst – way too many to mention but invariably the same promoter was usually involved!
What was the last album you played on Spotify?
MW: Chvrches – Love is Dead.
LP: Hologram by The Anix.
PS: Don’t use Spotify, but Amazon Music instead and it was The Colour of Spring by Talk Talk… what a band they were…
If you could support anyone, who would it be and why?
MW: That’s a tough question really too many to mention…
LP: Definitely NIN.
PS: I’ve always fancied supporting OMD and Thomas Dolby personally.
What other bands do we need to be checking out right now?
MW: Empathy Test!! Beautiful haunting vocals and great music. They really capture something special.
LP: I’ve been listening to The Anix a hell of a lot lately. Superb production and a great mix of electronics and guitars. I may have taken some inspiration from them for this project…cough…
PS: Actors – Superb!
Give us a few hints on what’s in store next for the band…
MW: Releasing the first EP No Divide. We have ideas for EP No 2 as well. It’s already becoming obvious that the amount of ideas we have between us we never know what’s coming next…watch this space!
LP: Release the first EP. We have four really strong tracks and are lining up some very cool remixes. What with the current Covid situation, it’s really just an opportunity to dig in and write lots of stuff.
PS: Looking forward to just riding this wave of creativity, there’s a really cool vibe about this project!
The No Divide EP is out now and can be streamed on Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon Music and all major streaming outlets. Be sure to check the band out on Twitter and Facebook to discover more about AGENCY-V, their music, and other projects.