We had a chat with Lepers and Crooks and things got real flirtatious, real fast

There aren’t many male performers out there that could don high heels, lippy and a velvet-red coat before shamelessly adopting the persona of a shaken prostitute running through a bewildering night-lit suburbia. Thankfully, Sam Baker from alt-rock 5-piece Lepers and Crooks isn’t just any performer.


Lepers and Crooks are heading out on yet another huge tour, this time supporting their single Let You Go. We spoke with the boys for all the juicy deets.

Following the release of their killer single Let You Go and accompanying music video, Lepers and Crooks look towards setting the East Coast on fire with a massive launch tour over May and June. We nosey bitches at Happy had the pleasure of probing the minds of the members in the hope of gaining a personal insight into their upcoming tour, their plans for the future and the process of creating Let You Go.

HAPPY: First and foremost, there is no doubt that Let You Go is a wild, thrashing ride of intense shreddage and outrageous escapades on both a visual and musical level. Allow us to pry into the creative formulas involved in such a project. Let’s start from a musical perspective: what’s the general process that you undertake when writing a song like Let You Go?

L & C: To be honest, we don’t really have a process, or any rules we follow throughout the creative process. This is probably why we have such a whirlwind of differentiation between each track. However, this track in particular came to fruition in a little shack called ‘Sugar Beach’ in South Ballina a little while back.

In fact, this was one of those tunes that just started out as a jam and by the end became a legitimate song in a very short amount of time… I think Alex came up with the riff and then everyone took the idea, chucked in their two cents, and out popped Let You Go.

HAPPY: For sure, the unique musical influence of each member is so distinguishable throughout the tune.  So let’s get to the video itself, we all loved seeing front-man Sam dressed as a bewildered, confusing and somewhat enticing (was that just me?) prostitute complete with full street get-out and make-up, but where/who did the creative inspiration for such an idea come from?

L & C: This is the first video clip we’ve done where we’ve tried to move away from us just playing our instruments and we all liked the idea of a clip where we each took on a different type of character. Sam is the only one of us with any real experience in front of the camera so when it came to brainstorming the plot with director Danielle Payne we decided see if we could take Sam as far out of his comfort zone as the rest of us were going to be.

HAPPY: If you’ve ever seen Lepers and Crooks perform you’d know how much charisma, energy and raw confidence radiates from Sam on stage, how willing was Sam to jump into such an unusual role?

L & C: Funnily enough this wasn’t Sam’s first time playing the role of a woman! It was more of a less stress more laughs kinda vibe and everything actually ran pretty smoothly thanks to Danielle and her crew. The night literally consisted of good company, VB tinnies, and no one taking themselves too seriously. I think the biggest challenge for Sam was having his legs waxed!

HAPPY: I love it! No doubt that light hearted no-holds-barred approach is why we’ve got such an organic, engaging and entertaining product, and trust me, you aren’t the only one who dig’s you with shaved legs!

Moving on, as a whole, the single’s received a lot of positive feedback and achieved a nice bit of exposure; people are loving it. From the perspective of the creators, though, would you say the product has turned out how you envisioned it when the project began?

L & C: We might have our ideas about the result before we start a project, but we try and go into them with an open mind and a willingness to adjust the plan along the way as its needed. When we first started recording, we had a different song in mind for the first single but after you hear everything come together, that idea changes and we try not to get any game plan or strategy too stuck in our minds.

That was definitely the case when it came to the clip as we probably brainstormed 100 ideas amongst ourselves before settling on the final one with Danielle, even on the night of filming we were adjusting the plan so it’s all just about keeping an open mind right up until the end.

HAPPY: For sure. So you’ve just released an absolutely banging single, and next you have a massive East Coast tour to keep the snowball rolling. Could you provide a little insight into the logistics of such a huge project? When did the idea of touring first come about and how did you decide what venues would be appropriate for each location?

L & C: When we first came together in 2012, we cut our teeth playing loads of shows in and around Sydney but in 2014 we made a conscious decision to get out there and explore regional Australia and have since played over 200 shows in the last 2 years. At one point we literally got out a map of Australia and went from town to town hitting up live music venues to see if they’d have us play and it just went from there.

One tour, the 5 of us were on the road for 4 months straight playing 60 shows in 7 states covering 35,000 kms in our cosy 5 seater van. It’s been an amazing experience, we’ve seen parts of Australia we never knew existed and met so many great people along the way. We can’t wait to hit the road again and see some familiar and new faces and have loads more shows planned for later this year.

HAPPY: Far out, that’s a massive trip! And I dare say that extended time not only playing, but living within each other’s company has shaped you into the cohesive, tight group that you are today.

Finally, what can us eager listeners expect from Lepers and Crooks once you finish setting fire to the East Coast? Perhaps new music, more touring?

L & C: After the Let You Go tour wraps up in July we plan to disappear somewhere for a couple of weeks to do some writing while we’re all still really fresh off the road. Before we release The Heathen Circus EP later in the year we’ll be releasing another single with a video and we’ll back that up with another run of shows. Let’s just say there’s plenty on the way from the Lepers camp for the rest of the year.

Let You Go tour dates:

14/05/16 Sydney Oxford Art Factory
26/05/16 Belgrave Sooki Lounge
27/05/16 Fitzroy The Workers Club
28/05/16 Rye Baha
03/06/16 Bellingen The Federal Hotel
04/06/16 Byron Bay The Northern
05/06/16 Gold Coast Sounds of Sunday
10/06/16 Yamba Pacific Hotel
11/06/16 Brisbane Crowbar
12/06/16 Sunshine Coast Peregian Originals
24/06/16 Wollongong Rad Bar
25/06/16 Canberra The Basement