Q&A: Lottery Winners' Thom Rylance spills on new album, Boy George collab and supporting Rick Astley

"I wrote a song in bed with donner meat and garlic bread down me - and now Boy George is singing on it."

The Lottery Winners - the band who went viral for their sea shanty rendition of Nickelback's 'Rockstar' - are gearing up for the release of their new album, 'Something To Leave The House For', on December 3.

And in an exclusive interview with Lizzie's Lowdown, frontman Thom Rylance let slip some exciting news about future collaborations, including having Culture Club legend Boy George record vocals on an upcoming song, top-secret plans with Frank Turner, who is featured on the track 'Start Again' on the LP, and supporting Rick Astley...

Hi Thom, Gigseekr is such an amazingly handy tool, isn't it?

I try and get to as many gigs as I can. So I can steal what people are doing and stuff and put it in my own set.

Just take all the best bits from all the bands and just mark them into my band.

So it's really good for me, for research, to try and get to as many gigs as possible.

What was your first gig back since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted?

My first gig to watch I think it might have been a socially distanced Clean Cut Kid gig in Leeds.

I'm actually going to go see them tonight in Manchester as well actually.

'Something To Leave The House For', tell us why you chose that as the title?

It felt completely right to call the album that because there's a song on the album called that.

I think I wrote that like five years ago. And it sounds like it might be about a pretty girl, but it's actually about my mate called Craig who is a builder. He’s always got paint on his pants and plaster in his hair.

But I was just in the car with him one day, he's like my oldest friend, and I just thought I'd love to make a song about you - and so I did.

I did that song about him and it makes him cry, which is really nice, to see a really kind of alpha-male man crying all the time, because I love him.

And he was my reason to leave the house; like we were just hanging out and just going for little drives and stuff because I was a bit down in the dumps.

Well if that's not very relatable to the whole world. So let's change that and say actually, it's about the lockdown.

"I feel like an alien and I couldn't fit in. But as soon as you put me on that stage, I just feel comfortable, and that's where I want to be."

Tell me about the track 'Much Better'?

That's one that I wrote in lockdown as it was kind of just coming to an end, and I got to see my family again.

And that really was how I was feeling at the time. There is a lot of joy in the record.

There's sadness, too.

Over the past two years, which had been a really weird unprecedented two years, so there was a lot of different emotions.

I was with my now-fiancé living together … and how deeply we fell in love in that time to be able to spend time together, so there are songs about that as well.

And yeah, it was a strange time but the silver lining of the dark clouds that was that whole thing, is that there was a lot of time to create and a lot of time to write, and a lot of time to process emotions.

So I feel like I might have done that on the album - which everyone should buy right now.

These songs must be so emotional for you to perform live?

With those emotions, I honestly, no matter what, if I'm on stage, I'm happy like, I feel like an alien all the time in life.

Walking into a pub or getting on a bus or just having a conversation with an acquaintance.

I feel like an alien and I couldn't fit in. But as soon as you put me on that stage, I just feel comfortable, and that's where I want to be.

So to get to do this is just my absolute dream job and, everything I've always wanted, and when people are singing those songs back to you, it fills my heart up so much.

I'm just crying all the time on stage - just like ugly-crying - and they are like, we didn't pay for this.

You recently got to open for Rick Astley at Manchester Arena. That must have felt like a huge adrenaline rush?

When I was little, pressed against the barrier of the arena watching Dave Grohl on stage in Foo Fighters, I dreamt about being on it, I dreamt about being on the stage.

And then to actually be on the stage at Manchester Arena and 21,000 people right there. That's where they were, right in my hand. It was delicious.

It's bizarre, because every time we do something, something bigger is just around the corner and it's really snowballed at the moment, and I'm really so grateful and happy about it.

Rick is such a humble man, isn't he?

I had the fortune to have done a TV show together during lockdown.

So that's the first time I met him and then when we're at the gig we're like soundchecking and stuff and he was taking pictures of us.

He was walking around taking pictures backstage.

And I said to him inside, ‘Rick you are like my dad’, because he had like a Hawaiian shirt. Just like taking loads of pictures.

But yeah, he's absolutely lovely. I mean, what an amazing life. I really, really like Rick.

I think he’s absolutely sound.

You are a big Smiths fan yourself.

Rick obviously did those shows with Blossoms [where they covered The Smiths’ songs] What did you think of that?

I suppose the band members are still alive, but the band [This Smiths] isn't, unfortunately.

I wish I would have gone; I couldn't because we were on tour, and I was absolutely devastated.

And I was chatting to the Blossoms lads about it as well, and they said that they absolutely loved it, and I just hope they do it again.

Like, that would have been my favourite songs and it's just a great excuse to go and sing along, isn't it?

I think it was ballsy, but amazing. I think I might do it. I’d want to do it with Paul Young.

Could Rick be on the next album then?

Maybe, I haven't written a song that would be right for him yet, but it'd be nice.

It'd be nice to get him. Yeah, definitely. If I write one, I'm going to send it to him, I have his mobile number.

You have Frank Turner and Sleeper’s Louise Wener on the album.

Tell me about those collaborations?

They are two artists that I really, really like, and admire, so I could not believe that they said yes.

I was just reaching out and sending the songs to them and saying, ‘Hey, I'd love you to …'

We had the pleasure of supporting Sleeper on tour.

So I was kind of friends with Louise and I sent it to her and she loved the song.

And then Frank, we had only met once or twice, but I sent him a song and he loved it and he really wanted to be involved with it.

And since then, we've played with them and he came over onstage and sang it and everything.

I can’t really say anything, but there might be stuff coming up in the future with Frank.

But it was absolutely incredible to have those kinds of, you know, influential, famous voices on the songs that I wrote.

In fact, there's a really big one coming up as well. I am not supposed to say, but it’s Boy George.

I got the audio back from him and it was just like, what is going on.

I wrote this song in my underpants, in bed with donner meat and garlic bread down me - and then I got the vocal back from a pop icon, singing my song, it was the weirdest!

What’s coming up next for you?

We're just gonna keep going and going.

I've written so many songs and I just want to record them.

We're off to Europe in February next year, which is going to be amazing, because it's all February just like Europe, and then we're going to America, which isn't announced yet, in March, for all of March, and then April.

Then we are supporting Sleeper on tour.

Then festivals. And then we head out on another tour with a big band that's not announced yet.

And then we've got our own tour.

Thom was speaking to promote the new Gigseekr app, which features all the latest tour news for your favourite artists at your fingertips - and doesn't harvest your data.

The Lottery Winners' album is out on December 3, download the free Gigseekr app the essential live music app via the Apple App Store or Google Play.