Leo is one half of TEN FÉ, a London band formed in 2013 with Ben Moorhouse – two kindred souls with a deep love for music. Fresh out of the recording studio in Berlin, I had the pleasure of meeting Leo and Ben in their bedrooms. Leo was born in Walsall in the West Midlands and now lives in a house on a leafy street in Walthamstow. On a dusky summer’s evening high up in Leo’s attic bedroom, I snapped away whilst we chatted about their new single Make Me Better, George Osborne and funk-soul Frankenteins.
Tell me how you met Ben and how you started doing music together?
I met Ben through friends of mine from Brum. We hung out, shared lacmachuns, and started busking. I think cos of the busking we became close; it’s intense when you’re always playing for your supper like that – feels like you’re in the trenches with whoever is with you, so you bond hard with them. We started this band from the ashes of another one, but its always been different cos for the first time its clear to me that I’m in a band with someone who cares as much as I do; who shares the faith in it. Its vice versa, hence ‘TEN FÉ’.How would you describe Ben?
Soul brother. Gun runner. Fellow hitter of the light…He has more integrity than anyone else I know: if he’s not feeling it, he simply can’t do it. I follow his intuition. He’s a true musician – Keef style – he’s got more ability than nearly everyone he plays with, but never lets that on or imposes himself. He plays in a way that includes and gets the best out of the people round him – so in that way very, very generous…as well as being, quite simply, the best hat man in showbiz.Where did you draw inspiration from for the new single, Make Me Better?
George Harrison. How do you get something so massive, and so delicate? All Things Must Pass blows us away every time, and that balance is what we were trying to get in this single – and with the whole of our album as well. It wasn’t easy to do – I think we went through a fair amount of different studios and producers…but we got there in the end. Very, very happy with how it sounds.
Who are your musical influences?
My dad has the ability to listen to a song he loves again, and again, and again, and again. It’s nuts. It means that everyone else around him can’t stand the song in the end – but he can’t stop loving it. I think I’ve inherited some of that from him: I’ve got stamina for not letting go of the melody, no matter how many times I’m told to turn it off. Other than him, lots of other dads: Levon Helm, Smokey Robinson, Peter Tosh, Sam Cook, Ian Brown, Kevin Parker (don’t think he’s a dad, actually).
If you could be anyone for a day who would it be?
I’d definitely be Ben – who wouldn’t? (…and he gets to hang out with me all day).
What song do you always find yourself returning to?
Baby by The Emerson Bros. It has that thing about it where you feel its been playing for about 20 minutes before you enter the song, and will continue for another 20 after the track has ended. The groove is beautiful, endless. The vocal delivery is insane. I will never, ever get tired of listening to it.Other than Ben, who would you most like to sing with?
George Osbourne, so I could bludgeon him with the base of the mic stand.
When did you last cry?
When I heard the budget last week.When are you most happiest?
Listening to a new piece of music – by anyone. When you realise you’re falling in love with a song, and just want to listen to that, and that alone – feels very good.
Describe your dream bedroom space, would it have a king size bed?
Yes, Olivia, it would definitely have a king size bed. And a record contract under each pillow.What does your bedroom mean to you?
It’s important that I have a quiet place where I can reflect, gather my thoughts, and listen to Born In The USA as I pump iron.
Out of you and Ben, who is the most good looking?
Split us down the middle and meld the left side of him with the right side of me…boy oh boy…you’ve got yourself a funk-soul frankenstein.If your bedroom were on fire, what would you save?
Well, everything digital is backed up isn’t it, so probably save the holiday snaps of Ben and I in the Berghain last year.
How do you sleep, naked or bedclothes?
That depends on the Moon.