Saturday 9 March 2013

Interview with Lost In The Riots

Stranger in the Alps cover art

Today I am interviewing British – Progressive Post-Rockers – Lost In The Riots – who are starting to make a name for their themselves on the UK Post-Rock Scene with their superb and jaw-dropping new album - A Stranger In The Alps – An album that I reviewed recently and rated very highly.

It's a superb album to listen to from start to finish. The way the guys blend the subtle Post-Rock tones with heavy Progressive Rock riffs will leave you begging for more.

Well the band have kindly agreed with an interview with me.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

Very well thanks.

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

We started at the end of 2010 when I replied to an ad Jim had posted online. I'd been out of a band for a few years and Jim was in an instrumental metal band who were seeking a bassist. I dropped him a message initially to see if he'd consider a third guitarist; I'd been unsuccessful in starting a band and was eager to get back playing. Eventually that band fizzled out as members moved away and Jim then contacted me to explain that the band had finished, but was interested in starting something new. 

We got chatting and after I sent over a demo of Sinking Ships we decided to get together in a practice space. Things clicked pretty much instantly and like most bands, we compulsively started writing songs (some of which became The City Burned, We Build Cathedrals and IFYLOFD and others which have since been relegated to the 'wank bank'). We put an ad out for a drummer not long after and within a few weeks had a reply from Andy. He was doing a work stint in Austria at the time, but was looking to get into a band when he returned to the UK. 

We set up a meet, invited him down to the rehearsal space and quickly brought him into the fold. We struggled for a few months to get a bassist on board, and decided to book up a handful of shows and get into the studio to track some of the material we'd written as a three-piece. Robbie was a school mate of Jims who played bass and after he came along to a few practices and saw us play our first few shows, decided to join the band in June. It's been the same ever since.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound. As I would necessary call it as Progressive Atmospheric Post-Rock.

That's a pretty accurate description. We decided early on that we wanted to be an instrumental band, and I think our mutual love of post and math rock comes through when we write songs. We're also partial to the occassional detuned, heavy breakdown. A post rock dish, served with a healthy portion of math and a side of big heavy riffs. 

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

We're a pretty diverse bunch. In addition to the obvious players in the post rock field, Jim and Robbie are both big metal fans, with a penchant for Opeth. Andy represents the 90s alternative rock corner - his favourite band is Smashing Pumpkins, and I have a weakness for punk and ambient music.

Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

Robbie, Andy and me hold down full time jobs, and Jim's in his second year of uni (at the tender age of 26).

Q6 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

Yes! We get a lot of support from both and are really lucky. 

Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

We write songs as a group and it's the collaborative nature of the band that's helped define the sound we aim for. We try not to repeat a riff to death, which keeps things interesting for us to play (even if a bit schizophrenic). We're also pretty lucky to have a drummer that can write some slick guitar lines - the big intro in Loki is all Andy's work.

Q8 – Your new album – Stranger In The Alps – was recently released. A great album and one of my faves in the Post-Rock scene. Your getting some cool reviews for it. You pleased with responses so far.

Thanks! We released the album on 4th February and the response so far been very positive. There's a lot of great bands in the UK at the moment and some excellent releases coming out this year so we're humbled that people feel passionate about our album. It took around 8 months to record and mix, and we did everything ourselves. There was quite a lot of pressure on us to be happy with the end result, and we learnt a lot from the whole experience.

Q9 – Was it an easy or hard album to record for. As you guys throw a whole range of sounds.

It was a mixture - I was learning a lot of recording, editing and production techniques on the go and trying to absorb as much information as I could so that I could apply what I'd learnt in the sessions. That took time and patience. With regards to recording, we all had our moments where we had to do re-takes or weren't happy with what was played which can be really frustrating, but I think that got the best performance out of each of us.

Q10 – I take it from multiple listens that Stranger In The Alps is a concept album and a very personal album for you guys. Or am I reading just to much into it.

It wasn't intentionally a concept album, but interesting you thought that. As our music is predominently instrumental, we think it leaves the listener open to get what they want out of it, rather than trying to interpret meanings from lyrics. 

Q11 – Are you happy with the final result or would you change certain aspects of it.

We're all very happy with how the album sounds, and it's great when we hear that people are enjoying it. I don't think we'd change anything; after learning what we have, the process should be a little more streamlined the next time around. I've picked up some new gear I can't wait to try out too...

Q12 – How has BandCamp been a big help in getting your music across.

Bandcamp has been a great asset. There's plenty of tools available to bands now and Bandcamp is a good example of that. The discovery feature is particularly cool; as a user, it's allowed me to find new bands and also prompted a few album sales from people that stumbled across Stranger in the Alps. There's a pretty neat feature they've just pushed out that allows users to endorse music they've bought too, which is a nice touch.

Q13 - Is there a scene for bands like yourself to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.

We're based in Watford, which is just outside London. In the two years we've been together, we've never played in our home town. As a band, you want to support and play in your town, but there's not really been the opportunity. That's not to say people haven't put on gigs, but there's no regular scene here. With that being the case, we try to tour and play outside of London as much as our jobs allow.

Q14 – What is your current view on the UK Underground scene for Post-Rock/Post-Metal/Sludge/Stoner Rock Bands. Lot of great bands starting to make a name for themselves. Do you feel the UK Underground is thriving or could do with a lot more publicity and venues.

Pretty good, but not yet rivalling mainland Europe, where people have a real passion to discover bands they've not heard of before and will spend money to go to smaller shows. There's plenty of good bands around and some amazing people who put their time and money into putting on shows in the UK. A benefit of playing gigs is that we constantly get to discover new bands; our latest crush is for Leeds based post metal outfit ENVOYS. 

Q15 – What are your views of blogs featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?

We're not quite at the level where we've been picked up by any mainstream music magazines, so can't really comment, but every webzine and blog that's written about us has helped give us exposure. With so many bands out there, it's difficult to find a way to stand out and have your music heard - blogs can help with that.

Q16 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

The best bit - Writing music with like minded friends, and then entertaining a roomful of people when we play that music live. Every time someone comes and says hello after a show, or we sell an album or t-shirt it makes it that much better. We've also met some great people who we can now call friends. The worst bit - carrying heavy gear to and from shows and practices (often involving big objects and small stairs / tight corners), and service station dinners at 2 AM.

Q17 – Do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited.

The rest of the year looks pretty exciting. We're busy writing new material now the album is out and we're looking to release something new later in the year. We've got a bunch of shows lined up too, with a UK tour in May, a European tour in September and a few one off gigs sandwiched in between. Dates for those can be found on our website, Facebook, Bandcamp etc.

Q18 – If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be.

Be committed. Sell your music by giving people the best product possible by not compromising on quality. Practice hard to ensure that you can reproduce the goods live. Be genuine, and treat people how you'd like to be treated; most promoters are putting on gigs for the same reason you are playing them!

Q19 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Thanks for listening to and enjoying our music. Everything we do is self funded and managed by us, and we appreciate anyone that's watched us play a show, bought merch, said hello or helped us out.

Well guys thanks for doing this. All the best from ourselves at Sludgelord. Hope to see you in a gig one time.

Check This Great Band from the links below.