From GCSEs to Radio 1: a teen band on the rise

WHILE Detroit is iconic as the city of Motown, and New Orleans goes hand-in-hand with jazz, it seems Crouch End may well be establishing itself as the hub for up-and-coming indie bands.

Following hot on the heels of the massively successful Bombay Bicycle Club, the area can now boast a second thriving indie band in the form of the incredibly young chart toppers Lo-Fi Culture Scene.

Four of the band’s five 16-year-old members live in Crouch End and are more often seen in local school uniforms with Callum Akass, Jacob Wheldon and Thomas MacColl meeting at Hampstead’s UCS, Angus Mayer going to City of London and Tom Herzberg a pupil of Highgate Wood.

But already the prodigious rockers have supported Bloc Party, released two singles and received airplay on Radio 1, MTV2, and Xfm.

Lead singer Jacob, who lives on Lyncroft Gardens in Hampstead, said: “We were playing around for a couple of years when the whole under-age scene started to emerge in London so we began to play shows.

“After seeing us at our third gig, the Bloc Party manager called us and asked if we would support them in Brighton.

“It was only something like our fifth gig and it was like ‘Oh my God, this is the best thing ever’.”

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Such success seems far removed from a school music lesson but the band would never have formed had it not been for a chance encounter in class.

“I was singing When I’m 64 at a music audition for the school choir and one of the guys turned to me and asked me if I wanted to be in a band,” said Jacob.

“At the time I thought that was the coolest thing in the world so I said yes.”

Despite their considerable achievements, the band members are determined to remain grounded and plan on focusing on completing their A-levels during the next two years.

“For the foreseeable future we are just trying to enjoy our music as much as possible,” said Jacob.

“We would like to give it a shot but we are not banking everything on the band.”

It seems success runs in the family – Thomas’s brother, Jamie MacColl, is Bombay Bicycle Club’s guitarist while Thomas and Angus began their musical careers playing together in the band before being kicked out for “not being cool enough”.

Angus, who lives on Park Avenue South, Crouch End, along with Thomas and Callum, said: “We all love their music and they are quite inspirational for us. Most artists are quite distant and removed and you don’t know their background but we saw them grow so we know where their lyrics come from.”

Having achieved more than the majority of bands at the tender age of 16, the future looks bright for Crouch End’s latest export.

The world may have to wait another two years until they finish their education but by then the Crouch End factory line may well have churned out another success story.