Soft Girls & Boys Club – A Brief History

Soft Girls & Boys Club are:

Ben Webster – Lead Vocals & Guitar,

Tom Richards – Guitar & Vocals,

Luke Joseph Harley – Bass,

Sam Potts – Keys & Synthesizers,

Louis Potts – Drums.

The band began writing & recording music in 2015 in a tiny flat in Melton Mowbray, under their previous name ‘Webbo & the Soft Boys’. The formation of the band started off with playing monthly gig slots at ‘Wax Bar’ in Nottingham, performing a variety of rock & blues covers from Jimi Hendrix to Muddy Waters & many more. This monthly gig soon became a chance to showcase a few original songs of the band & later brought with it other small gigs within the Nottingham area. With a few original songs in their arsenal, the band had their first studio recording experience in 2016 at ‘The Paddock’ studios near Melton Mowbray, where they would record the 4 songs off of their 2018 EP ‘Same Old Thangs’. These mixes were shelved for a few years as they didn’t feel like they were ready to release music into the world.

At the beginning of 2017, Ben, Tom, Sam & Louis all moved to a flat in Sneinton to focus on writing & recording music to release as well as gig more frequently within the Nottingham scene. Mid-way through 2017, the boys had to change their name due to a dispute with 70’s punk band ‘The Soft Boys’, claiming that they couldn’t use the Soft Boy name. This began talks within the band about what name to go with. The name ‘Soft Boys & Girls Club’ was chosen as the new band name, though ‘The Soft Boys’ again had issues with this, hence switching the name & settling on ‘Soft Girls & Boys Club’ (Loop hole!). Frontman Ben Webster is a big fan of the band ‘The Strange Boys’, in particular their album ‘And Girls Club’ so the band name was a slight play on that, keeping the ‘Soft’ as the central identity of the band. The name was officially changed in 2017 during their first headline show for Dot-to-Dot festival at Jam Café & the rest is history!

The headline show at Jam Café for Dot to dot festival earned them a recording slot at Rofl studios in Nottingham, where they would go on to record & release the first version of 22:22, a track that would go on to define their sound & be their first official release. Tracking drums & bass for other songs such as follow up single ‘Nonsense TV’ & tracks like ‘Treadmill’ & ‘Luvin U’ were also recorded at Rofl over the following months.

Their first EP ‘Same Old Thangs’ was finally released at the start of 2018. Having sat on these 4 songs for a few years, they were tweaked in parts with the help of their friend Arthur to get them to how they wanted them. By the time the EP was released, the guys were already way over the old material having been playing those songs live for 2 years by that time. Looking to develop the sound of the band, mixing & mastering engineer Sam Wain got in touch about mixing some of their material, which started with two of their songs ‘Treadmill’ & ‘Luvin U’. After releasing Treadmill in late 2018, the guys knew that Sam’s mixing ability was what was needed to deliver the sound they were striving for.

This led to the band writing new music & self-producing what they consider their debut EP ‘Welcome to Soft Girls & Boys Club’ in 2019, with help tracking drums, mixing & mastering from Sam Wain. The EP showcased a more layered Soft Boy sound to what they had previously released, with singles ‘Cross Your Mind’ & ‘Two Birds, One’s Stoned’ receiving a relatively positive response with the Nottingham scene. In March 2019, the boys played a few shows around the country & finished their brief tour with their first Bodega headline show for the EP release. This marked one of the highlights of the bands progression, more or less selling out the beloved venue & playing to a raucous crowd, resulting in their first & last stage invasion. Moving to August 2019, the single ‘Sex Music’ was released, one of their oldest tunes that was put out as more of a filler track if anything to keep momentum.

As the band twiddled their thumbs deciding what they should do next, drummer Louis had moved down to London & frontman Ben had announced that he would be moving to Denmark toward the end of 2020. With the inevitable ending in sight, this led to the band embarking on their biggest musical journey yet… the debut album. Writing music was constant within the band, however now it was the task of deciding which previously written songs would make the album as well as which of their newest material. The band wanted their debut album to be a mix of the oldest & newest material to blend together varying styles and moods throughout the album, as well as flowing smoothly with the odd seamless transition form song to song.

Recording began in late 2019 / early 2020, tracking drums, bass & guitars for their first single ‘Yoga for the Dead’ at Summer House Recording studios with good friend Cameron Worne. As the band were on a tight budget, they booked a day at the Confetti studios to track as many drum tracks as possible within an 8 hour session, resulting in the vast majority of drums for the album finished. Then lockdown happened…

As with the entire global population, the Covid-19 lockdown put a spanner in the works (to put it very lightly!) in regards to tracking for the album. This resulted in certain compensations on the production end of things, substituting using hardware amps for software models for a large part as well as recording more or less everything aside from drums in Tom’s small bedroom studio. Though recording & self-producing had more or less always been the case for the band, the hope was to be able to record more of the final parts with Cam Worne to get the most out of production for the album. As lockdown restrictions eased, the band were able to finish tracking the drum for the album, having more or less recorded everything else at home by this point. Again working with Sam Wain for mixing & mastering, the band released 4 singles of their newest material from June-September leading up to the album release in mid-October. Each single also had an accompanying B-side which were all old songs written around the start of the band (2015-2016) and re-vamped to fit with the singles.

Their debut 18-track album ‘Jeefy Hymns’ was released on October 16th courtesy of Nottingham’s very own Phlexx Records, marking the end of their 5-year musical journey on a high. Speaking of ‘on a high’, the album name ‘Jeefy Hymns’ was actually a 10-track album the boys previously put out on sound cloud in 2015 as Webbo & the Soft Boys, featuring early versions of ‘Sex Music’, ‘Same Old Thang’ & ‘Hymn 255’. The title ‘Jeefy Hymns’ is sort of a nonsensical term for ‘Weedy Songs’ as all of the music since the beginning was more or less been written whilst mildly inebriated in some form. The album cover was a picture of the bands former name ‘Webbo & the Soft Boys’ at Leicester venue ‘The Cookie’ taken by Ben Poole in 2017 as the Queen was visiting. The band were sent this picture by Ben a few years ago & they couldn’t quite believe what they were looking at, joking that ‘you know you must be doing well when Liz is rocking up at your gigs!’. As we decided the image for the album cover around June 2020, the title ‘Jeefy Hymns’ seemed to feel the most appropriate for the album cover due to the mix of old & new material, as well as the feeling like things had come full circle.

On November 27th, the boys will be releasing the deluxe version of Jeefy Hymns, which will feature the 18-track album, plus the 4 B-sides, & 3 additional songs that were written in 2015 & re-recorded & produced shortly before the album was sent off to Phlexx in September 2020. The extra unheard tracks ‘Man Feelings’ & ‘Y Don’t U Call Me?’ were both mixed by Tom from the band & closer ‘Sleepy Ben’ mixed by Cameron Worne. This release will unfortunately mark the last release from the band for the foreseeable future, though they do hope to be to return to Nottingham at some point to put on a headline show for whoever still gives a shit!

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