Watford-based rock band Lower Than Atlantis are set for big things in the coming year. Alongside the release of their new self-titled album, which has been hotly anticipated after a lengthy two year wait, an upcoming tour with rock heavyweights A Day To Remember, as well as a string of accolades from Radio 1 DJs and critics alike sees the band rapidly gathering the support and publicity they have long deserved.
For a group that state that their influences include “Fucking Up, Binge Drinking, Poverty and wishing you were still 15 years old”, their latest material seems a great deal more mature than their previous releases. Lower Than Atlantis, with its more eclectic, varied sound, seems to have taken inspiration from the bands dealings with the music industry, their heavy touring regimes, and their new, unified direction has meant that only good things can be said for the band’s future. An outstanding track within the album is ‘Here We Go’, which seems to encapsulate the band’s determination to succeed, its anthemic qualities putting LTA fully back in the spotlight.
The Glasgow Guardian managed to catch up with bassist Dec Hart before the band’s album signing at the Argyle Street HMV, where we talked all things LTA:
Guardian: How are the HMV in-store performances going?
It’s been good, it’s been weird playing in a shop, ‘cos the lights are on, and I don’t think a lot of people know how to react to that ‘okay, a band’s right in front of me.’ It’s been cool, ‘cos everyone that’s come has bought an album, so everyone is there to see us. We’d like to do more [in-store performances] ‘cos they’re cool, and obviously it sells a lot more CDs, but there aren’t enough days in the week unfortunately.
The new album Lower Than Atlantis has just been released – what was the decision behind it being self-titled?
I think it got to the point in our band where it [the album] was sort of a make-or-break record. Like, if it doesn’t go down as well as we like it to, then maybe we would consider not doing another album. That’s why it’s self-titled. Also, we kind of changed our sound a bit again, but at the same time, we think this is now the sound of Lower Than Atlantis – this is the best we can make.
Why do you think the band’s music has changed?
I think any band that makes the same album over and over again would get bored, and we don’t want to be bored ‘cos we love music. None of us would want music to become a chore. The moment it becomes a chore is the moment that we’d sack it off. If I liked a band, and they released the same [sort of] album, like, seven times, I’d be like, ‘Nah, I’m bored.’
What’s your favourite track from the album?
Probably ‘Criminal’. It’s got strings in it - we’ve never put strings in a song before, it’s a different dynamic to anything we’ve ever done. Basically, if you took the strings away, it’s just a rock song.
How would you describe the album?
Lower Than Atlantis is still a rock album; it’s just a rock album with a twist. It’s not just a simple, two guitars, bass, drums, vocals. There are other things to make it interesting.
You listed Pantera, The 1975, Azealia Banks and Nero as some of the musical influences on Lower Than Atlantis- can you tell us a bit more about the reasons behind these influences?
Azealia Banks [and her track ‘212’]is a song that gets us pumped up, gets us jumping up and down and get the blood flowing before we play. It’s a sick song as well. Nero is a bit of a party tune. I like all types of music. Growing up, the first bands I ever listened to were Oasis, Faith No More, and Thin Lizzy. Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous is my favourite ever live album. Biffy Clyro are also one of my favourite bands. Its rock music, but it’s got other elements that make it really interesting.
The single ‘Here We Go’ garnered support by Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe as his ‘Hottest Record’ back in June – how do you think this mainstream influence has affected the band?
For a rock band, Radio 1’s support is so important. It helps us cross over into that section of people that might not necessarily ever listen to rock music, and Radio 1 is a perfect platform for bands like us. It’s worked ‘cos we’ve made like ten times the amount of fans from Radio 1 pushing it out there. If more people like our music, that’s definitely a positive thing.
The band moved from Island Records to Sony back in April – what was the decision behind that?
When the Island Records released [Changing Tune in October 2012], it charted at number twenty-five, and we’d never charted before, so we were like, ‘Yes, this is sick!’ It was a top forty album! But, because it was a major label, and they work with the biggest artists in the world, to them it was deemed a failure. They just didn’t want to put the effort in after that. Island Records were like, ‘We’ll release your next album, but we won’t put 100% into it.’ But we were like, ‘No, that’s not gonna happen.’
Our lawyer put it in the contract that they [Island Records] had to give us the money for the second album, so we took that money and made this album. And then the people at that label, after we signed to Sony, were like, ‘Shit, we really like that album,’ but we were like, ‘Well you should have listened to us.’ With the set up with Sony, we had a new manager, and he was like, ‘I’ve got a label at Sony.’ We were interested instantly ‘cos we don’t want to sign to another major label if it’s going to be like before. But, because it is him and his friend, it’s just so easy. We can just call him up and get stuff done, because he IS the label, whereas as before, it was all lost in translation.
So, summer 2014 – how was playing Reading and Leeds Festival for the band?
It was sick; it was probably the biggest show we’ve ever played. We were on the Radio 1/NME stage, in front of like, 20,000 people. The capacity of that tent when it’s full, which it was, is 20,000, which is pretty cool.
How did the mini-tour go?
It was hectic, but good. We hadn’t done a tour in two years before ‘cos we’d been writing. It was nice to get back to small venues and, not relearn the old songs and stuff, remember what it’s like to play live, rather than getting back into it and playing to like a thousand or two thousand people. We’re going to be supporting A Day to Remember in November, and then we’re doing our headline show in KoKo in London, just a one-off, on the 8th of December. Next year we’ve got stuff planned, but I’m not sure I can talk about it yet.
Do you find your music is received differently depending on where you’re playing?
Yeah, for instance we played a little club night the other night in Leeds, and in Leeds, they have this chant, ‘Yorkshire!’ But when we first heard it three years ago, we thought they we’re saying ‘You’re shit!’ Mike (Duce, lead singer) was like, ‘you what?! Can you stop doing that?’ Then someone at the front was shouting at him saying, ‘No, we’re saying Yorkshire – we love you!’ In Glasgow, you’ve got ‘Here we, here we, here we fucking go!’ In London, they don’t really have a chant, for us they might just shout ‘LTA!’ It’s definitely different.
Do you guys have any interesting band chat you’d like to share?
When we were making the [latest] record, and we that thought it was done, ‘cos we’d built a studio in Watford, we recorded the whole thing, except for drums, in that studio, and then the producer called me up, and he was like, ‘Can you get to the studio right now? Me and Mike have written another song!’ The song was ‘Here We Go’, and it was written, recorded, mixed, mastered and sent to Radio 1 in less than 48 hours!
Anything else you want to say to the students of the University of Glasgow?
Cheers to anyone that’s already bought the record, and if you don’t know about us, go on and fuckin’ buy it, or go on YouTube and listen to or something!
Lower Than Atlantis is out now.