Old House Playground is a three piece contemporary blues/alt-rock band with roots in the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music.
In 2009, Tryfon Lazos (vocals, guitars) and Andreas Venetantes (drums, percussion) together with bass player Conor Loughran moved from Athens to Manchester to experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.
Inspired by the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave and Greek artists Psarantonis, and Marcos Vamvakaris together with analog sounds and street musicianship, Old House Playground met producer/musician Chris Evans, with whom they would record their first album God Damn That Gold. A couple of months before the recordings took place, Conor left the band, with Tryfon and Andreas continuing as a duo. The album was released in June 2012 by the independent label Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records and accompanied by an extended UK tour. From working men’s clubs and mainstream pubs to the Dalston hipster playground, the response was overwhelming.
Off the back of the vibe, Sugar House production approached the band in 2013, offering to produce an EP, and develop the band. While recording with Sugar House, Factory Records’ first signing Vini Reilly became a fan and a good friend of the band, seeking to co-write with Tryfon and Andreas. This collaboration brought Old House Playground and Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column together at the Chorlton Arts Festival in May 2014, curated by Dave Haslam where the band were hugely appreciated by their Manchester audience. Later that night Tryfon sang onstage with Vini for the Durutti Column’s first Manchester performance for five years.
Spring 2015 finds the band busy with new projects, plans and musical perspectives. Jago Furnas moved from London to Manchester to join the band in September and his musicality has proved inspiring. Sugar House’s production has also been key in moving forward. The new EP, to be released 22nd June, is the result of this ongoing commitment, and strips down the band’s sound. Melodies are more exposed, there is a fluency to the band’s work, old boundaries have been broken, and new forms created. Parallel to these sessions, Old House Playground have been working with Oscar winning music producer Clive Martin (David Byrne, “The Last Emperor”) composing the musical score for Barney Spender’s documentary “The Road to Sparta”. The film depicts competitors running the 246 km race from Athens to Sparta, and Old House Playground’s urgent Cretan rhythms and driving rebetiko provide an evocative soundtrack.The film is scheduled to be premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2016.
“Nick Drake channels Elvis singing to a Tarentino film score powerful and addictive!”
Nick Tann, Is This Thing On – Independent Music Podcast
“Old House Playground have managed to capture the real essence of blues and given it their own spin, resulting in an uncomplicated piece of music that’s surely far too fattening for your soul. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this indulgence.”
Ciaran Stewart, We Close Tonight
“They’ve got the deep, gravelly lo-fi blues with a bit of old-time swing and rockabilly on the side – imagine a pared down Bedlam Six fronted by a young hybrid of Jack White and Nick Cave. His lyrics are dark, twisted stories with a certain literary flair”
Cath Aubergine, Manchester Music
“He and percussionist Andreas Venetantes, have traveled through Europe like Medieval troubadours, and as if in punishment for their sins, have ended up here… “In this land, the sun never shows” Ursula Ackah, Mancky Magazine
“Lazos has an impressive voice and his guitar work is fine, clean and very much of the idiom. The music is inherently sexy with a steamy southern states sound.”
Bob Osborne, Bob’s Aural Delights, Salford CityRadio
- 6 June – Tiger Lounge, Manchester
- 18 June – Gullivers, Manchester (this is the launch party for the EP Doors open at 19:30 and vinyls of the EP will be available, four days before the official release date. More details here: http://www.facebook.com/events/1175494179143056/)
- 19 June – Ship and Anchor, Southport
- 23 June – Bristol
- 24 June – Paper Dress – London