Lower Than Atlantis

author PP date 25/08/11

Travelling over to the Hevy Music Fest presented a few opportunities to catch up with a number of exciting up-and-coming bands from Britain, and you won't find another new band with as much momentum as Lower Than Atlantis. They're packing venues left and right, getting critical acclaim from pretty much all directions, receiving TV and radio airplay...all the signs are pointing towards a road to stardom at least nationally, so we figured it's only good timing to speak to the guys before they snowball into an avalanche by this time next year. That said, you can tell that the guys are a bit shy and softly spoken when it comes to interviews, but we managed to dig a few interesting answers out of them nonetheless.

RF.net: Thank you for the interview! Lets start with introductions.
Dec: Hey, I'm Dec, and I play bass in Lower Than Atlantis

Mike: I'm Mike, I sing and play guitar in Iron Maiden...in Lower Than Atlantis, I'm sorry.

RF.net: What's new with the band, other than the new record?

Mike: We just recorded a few demos, and we're writing some new stuff. Of course, it's festival season so we've been playing Download, Sonisphere, Slam Dunk, Hevy fest obviously.

Dec: Everything good

Mike: We've just been hanging out, really. Can't wait to get back on the road though, man, we've had enough now of festivals.

RF.net: So like you said, we're here at Hevy Music Fest, so what are your thoughts so far?

Dec: It's cool. We played last year. It seemed a lot bigger last year, this year's kind of more compact. But I'm excited.

RF.net: As in area-wise or amount of people?

Dec: Area, but it hasn't opened yet or anything, but yeah, I'm excited, it's going to be good.

RF.net: So to start things off I just want to ask: how come the really drastic change of direction from "Far Q" to "World Record"
Mike: It wasn't...well, it was drastic, but even from the first EP as well, it just happened naturally. It wasn't like we went for it. It was just what we were listening to at the time and the way we went. I don't know.

Dec: It didn't feel different to us.

Mike: It didn't feel drastic to us. But then when you listen back to it, you're all "fuck, we were like...a punk band!"

RF.net: So what do you classify yourselves now as then?

Dec: Just a rock band. Simple. It's easier, and then anyone can make up their own genres in their head.

Mike: Party-core.

RF.net: You don't always see bands to such a big change from album to album. So just wanted to know if it felt natural for you guys, or was it a conscious decision, where you decided "okay now we're gonna write this".
Dec: Yeah, it was definitely a natural. It just happened. When we sat down all four of us, that's what came out.

Mike: We've never been a band like...whenever there was a riff, no-one's gonna say "nah man", even if it's fuckin' techno. If it's good, it's good.

RF.net: So was it something to do with what you were listening to earlier like you mentioned before?

Dec: Definitely.

Mike: Yeah, we were listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins, The Jealous Sound, and more mellow rock stuff. But we've gotten a little bit heavier again now with the new stuff we've been writing. The new stuff is kind of like a mix of all three records.

Dec: Think of it like Foo Fighters. All their albums are kind of different. "One By One" is the 'rock' record, so it's just like whatever you're feeling at the time, that's what's going to influence you.

Mike: It'll always be Lower Than Atlantis anyway, because obviously it's played by ourselves, and we have our own musical style as musicians within the band, so it's always going to sound like us.

Dec: I think if you're gonna write the same album over and over again, like bands like Iron Maiden do, not many bands can do that.

Mike: Yeah, bands like Propagandhi...don't get me wrong, I love Propagandhi, but I know that if they have a new record coming out, I know exactly what it's gonna sound like.

RF.net: Really? Don't they sound a bit different, sometimes a bit rawer?

Mike: Yeah, but essentially it's the same thing. Every Time I Die are kind of like that as well, you'll always know what it's gonna sound like.

RF.net: How has the response been to the new material compared to the old?
Dec: Umm, well, on "Far Q" days, there were about 50 people at each show, so definitely about a million percent better.

Mike: Yeah. And we're on the radio and TV, which is fucking crazy. If you would've told me that I was doing this when I was ten years old, I would've been blown away, it's pretty cool.

RF.net: So the new record is called "World Record". What does the title mean?
Mike: It's meant to be a concept album. It was gonna be to do with places in the world.

Dec: That we've been in and experienced.

Mike: Yeah. Places that we've been or places that we'd had an experience. Or like Mike, whose family is Irish.

Dec: There's only one song that's on there.

Mike: Yeah, and Eddy's family is from Scotland. And we were gonna theme it all and call each song a name of a different country or a place. Then when it came to writing lyrics, it felt too restricted as to what you could write about, so we just fucked it off. But yeah, we just kept the title because it's a play on words, because it's a record. It's "World Record" as well?

Mike: Taking around the world!

RF.net: Oh, so it's not a world record in the sense of "Oh I just ran the fastest 100 meters"?

Dec: That's what a lot of people think.

Mike: A lot of people were like "oh the very arrogant title suggests bla bla bla". And I'm thinking, fuck it, you've got it wrong, don't make us sound like dicks, you've got the wrong end of the stick!

RF.net: Most of the songs have a much stronger melodic flavor to them than in the past. So I'm guessing that the writing process must have been quite different?
Mike: I normally sit down with an acoustic guitar and write the chord progressions and the vocal melodies and stuff. Then I come to the guys and that's when everyone writes their own bits. We literally had an electric drumkit, some practice amps in my kitchen, and wrote it in a week and a half.

Dec: We had a couple of songs done before in band practice, but then..99% was written in his kitchen.

Mike: It was about a week. It was weird, it just happened. We were banging out like a song a day, two songs a day.

RF.net: What did your neighbors think of that?

Mike: They were fine with it. It's quite quiet, because we used an electric drumkit.

RF.net: You already answered this one a little bit, but what should we expect from the next album? Another change in direction again or do you feel you've found your identity, your sound now?
Mike: The thing is that from an outsider's perspective, you'll say there's been a change of direction, but to us, it's just one direction, because that's where we're going. The music style has changed slightly, but not really, it's still us.

Dec: I think it will be different because the Lower Than Atlantis thing is that we're not gonna make the same record twice. In the same respect as Foo Fighters where it's still Foo FIghters with their stamp on it, but it's still slightly different.

Mike: But what is the Lower Than Atlantis sound? I suppose yeah, we've found it, because I suppose bands do have their sound. But I don't like that term because we have sounds for different albums. "Bretton" has a sound, "Far Q" has a sound, "World Record" has a sound, and the new one will have a sound. It works like that with us, I think, rather than the band having a signature sound. To us, anyway. I'm sure that to outsiders we have a sound.

Dec: A lot of bands like, say, Thrice, they had their first three records that sounded...not the same, but similar. And then everything from the last couple of records, they've gotten a niche they've set themselves into, which I don't think we'd ever do that, because you can't get anywhere by doing that.

Mike: It's just boring for the band as well, because if we're playing 300 days out of a year, you want some variety in the set, for us anyway. Obviously we write music for ourselves, which is so cliché and horrible, but we also want other people to like it, because there wouldn't be any point in us making a career out of it if people didn't listen to it. But we do write music for ourselves, and like I was saying, if we're gonna be playing it every night, if we'd be playing stuff of four records that sounds the same, it's just boring and monotonous for us.

RF.net: You guys are talking a lot about the new record. You must be pretty far in it then?
Dec: No, not at all. It's literally just the beginning. Demoing.

Mike: We never stopped. We don't stop writing.

RF.net: You reckon it's gonna come out next year then or?

Dec: Probably the year after. We don't know. There's no plans of anything yet.

Mike: We've been releasing an album a year, which has been good to keep momentum going, but I think we're gonna give "World Record" the standard two year album cycle just to get most out of it.

Dec: We're not on tour at the moment, we're just doing festivals. So we're kind of bored. We wanna be touring, so we're taking that time by writing songs.

RF.net: You guys are going to Europe later this year right?

Dec: Yeah, in December, with You Me At Six for a week or so. Germany, Holland, Belgium. I think that's it.

RF.net: What's in the store for the future then other than the Euro tour?
Dec: Just get in the van. Going to different countries all over the world and just playing songs. And getting drunk [laughs].

Mike: We're just having fun while we can, living in the moment, because one of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and then that's it, game over.

Dec: Or jump out the van while we're going 90 miles an hour.

Mike: Or everyone could decide our band is shit tomorrow and nobody would listen to us ever again, and then we could just be these cocksuckers that everyone hates. So we might as well have a good time while we're doing it. We don't really think too far in the future.

RF.net: Thank you very much for the interview, that was my last question, do you have anything to add?

Dec: Fuck it to the man! 2011, bitches! [all laugh]

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