The Lottery Winners on Number 1 album race: "Thanks to Jessie Ware for bringing us into the conversation"
The fifth studio album from the indie-rock group, comprising Thom Rylance, Robert Lally, Katie Lloyd and Joe Singleton, boasts collaborations with Boy George, Frank Turner and Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder, and may well prove the first independently-released record to reach the summit since The Reytons, back in January.
Today, we catch up with Thom to find out what a chart-topping LP would mean to the Leigh-formed four-piece.
Thom, you're leading the charge in a very exciting albums chart race this week. How are you feeling?
Pretty floaty. I'm not sure if I'm possibly still dreaming all of this. Floaty, but also very tired. We've been on the road relentlessly; we're in Leigh right now and ending our tour in Grimsby tonight. Very romantic.
We love that you're putting Leigh on the musical map...
I really hope so. It's a beautiful town, and there's a lot of support and local pride. It's been so amazing to see how much Leigh's behind the band. We've been playing in the pubs of Leigh for fifteen years.
How would you feel if Anxiety Replacement Therapy makes it to Number 1 on Friday?
I'm getting emotional at the thought of it. It means everything to us. It feels like fifteen years of hard work, not taking a wage, neglecting all of our financial and social responsibilities and pouring everything into something that we really believed it; it's affirmed that that was the right decision.
I've been manifesting this. My phone background's been a picture of the Number 1 Award for three months. If I do get the trophy, I'm gonna change it to a picture of a hot guy with a six pack. Maybe that's the next thing?
You mentioned that - if you do get it - you'll showcase your Number 1 Award in a glass cabinet in [Leigh shopping centre] Spinning Gate. Such a great idea.
Absolutely. It's not just for us. There's a huge community and family around this band. I see so many people who say 'I'm coming to your gig on my own and I'm nervous about it,' and other fans will reply saying 'don't worry, come and hang out with us!'
I've seen friendships and romances bloom through this band. That's so special. We want to put it in a glass cabinet so everyone can come and look at it.
Hopefully something like that will inspire the people of Leigh to follow their dreams, too.
Absolutely that. I think that, in this area we're from, maybe because the schools aren't particularly great, people might not have aspirations to achieve things academically. They pour themselves into creativity. I see this overwhelming amount of talent; all my mates are amazing musicians, but did terribly at school.
The pool of musicians around Leigh is crazy, and I want to inspire the new generation that all you need to do is stick at it, work hard and believe in yourself.
The creative industries can famously be quite elitist, so the message you're communicating is so important...
We are working class people. We've not had any help from anybody; we don't have family who can help out with things like this. This is all hard work and connecting with people. That's the most important thing.
If you can connect to somebody by creating something that's authentic and that people believe it, others will believe in it too.
You've always described your albums as your 'self-help tapes.' It must feel reassuring - and somewhat validating - to know that its lyrics resonate with so many people?
Particularly with this album. The messages I've had from people telling me how much the music has helped them; particularly the song Letter To Myself.
I've got really bad ADHD. I really didn't fit in in the school environment and was expelled from two schools. It left me feeling, into adulthood, kind of broken. I felt like a bad person.
I think that's why I'm in this band; to feel accepted. When we play that song at gigs, everybody cries - especially me! It's been overwhelming. People truly listening means the world to me.
There's been some banterous fighting talk between yourselves and Jessie Ware this week in the race for the Number 1 album. How does it feel to be in the running against other such esteemed artists?
It's bananas. They're all really famous people, all over the TV all the time. We're not. Jessie Ware mentioned us [as competition] on stage [last week], and that's the first time I realise we were part of the conversation. Thank you so much, Jessie, for bringing us into it. As Jessie said, all is fair in love and war.
Jessie's album is amazing, I listened to it a few times in full. I probably shouldn't have. I should've listened next week!
It's a truly amazing week for music and music fans.
WATCH The Lottery Winners ft. Frank Turner's Letter to Myself music video below:
This week does feel particularly exciting in its diversity and the passion behind each artist's project...
There's such a buzz around the chart this week! It's great to see it in full force, with everyone checking the charts and the midweeks. Music is so important. We're living in an age of saturation, but things like this restore the importance of music. Music is everything to me.
Music, and garlic bread with cheese.
The Lottery Winners' Anxiety Replacement Therapy is out now.
Find out who's claimed this week's Official Number 1 album this Friday May 5 from 4pm on BBC Radio 1's The Official Chart with Jack Saunders and here at OfficialCharts.com.