Hollis J is the epitome of quirky.
On stage at Live at Leeds, the lead singer of Love Zombies vigorously ruffles the multiple layers of brightly-coloured skirt underneath her pink gingham apron as she bounds around the stage and comes dangerously close to flashing her audience.
Dancing with all the passion of the heroine in a Shakespearean tragedy, her hair suffers various states of disrepair and she scrambles up the speaker system to stand on the top to survey the crowd before the band launches into their next song.
However, backstage Hollis is far more chilled, although she is still clearly buzzing after their half an hour performance. The blonde bombshell beams at me with big eyes framed by a pair of red heart glasses, and gleefully chatters away answering all my questions.
“I’ve been working on my outfit for a while,” she proudly tells me. “Actually it adds layers every time we have a performance!” This is the band’s first time performing in Leeds – and Hollis’s first time in the Yorkshire city – and they’re delighted they have been blessed with a rare sunny day. “It’s amazing – the sun never comes out in England,” she says, a revelation for someone originally from Hollywood in the sunshine state of California.
After such an energetic performance, Love Zombies have fairly gentle plans for the rest of the weekend. “We’re gonna just hang out and watch some of the other bands tonight, and then check out the rest of the festival tomorrow.” However, they were also reluctant to sleep in the van as planned and she confesses they were plotting to commandeer their new manager’s comfy hotel bed. “I think we’re going to crash with him but he doesn’t know it yet,” she giggles mischievously.
With her tone and fiery attitude reminiscent of a young Gwen Stafani from her days with No Doubt, Love Zombies’ other influences are sassy, independent women too. “I like Cyndi Lauper a lot, I like kooky, crazy people. We also really like harmonies – it might have been quite hard to hear tonight but we are also really influenced by The Beatles in terms of their pop, punk edge.”
Having just finished recording with Ginger from The Wildhearts, the band feel they have consolidated what direction their music is moving in. “The whole point of Love Zombies is just to have fun, and that we don’t ever have to grow up.”