Before they headed on stage at Rescue Rooms last Wednesday, we had a chat with Declan and Ben of Lower Than Atlantis about Island Records, almost breaking up and how they’ve changed as a band over the past few years.
Check out our review of the live show here.
Dec: We’re in Lower Than Atlantis and we are in a sketchy office in Nottingham
You had a very, very busy year last year including releasing your best album to date and touring with A Day To Remember – what was the highlight of it?
Ben: Mine was Reading and Leeds.
Dec: Yeah Reading and Leeds.
Ben: We only played a few festivals last year with all the politics, so it was all built up to that
Dec: I didn’t really think of how busy last year was, I can’t remember. When Here We Go came out that was pretty cool cause that was like an obvious turning point for our band so.
Ben: We were in Japan, weren’t we?
Dec: Yeah it was the first time we played it live. The band we were with were Japanese but one of the guys could speak English, so we got him on stage and we got him to say something in Japanese so everyone was like “here we go, here we go”, and put the video up as we released the like actual video for the song.
Ben: There were like three thousand Japanese kids like “here we go!”, it was so good.
How do you think this year is going to top that?
Ben: We’re doing a lot more shows this year, last year was all about planning and a few things abroad and festivals, now it’s like, now it’s out, get out there as much as possible and show everyone what we did really.
This album is “radio ready”, it’s full of singles, a lot of people have said that in press. A lot of people have done this with their most recent album, Deaf Havana did it, Paramore and Green Day and the likes, do you think this is a coincidence that bands with rockier roots have made more “radio ready” albums, or do you think we’re at a day and age where you have to make music that will go to radio so you can make enough money to continue in the industry?
Dec: I just think that if you make music that is good, that people can connect with, then they’re going to put it on the radio regardless. Bands like Slipknot get played on radio, that’s definitely not radio friendly music, but so many people connect with it that they have to put it on the radio. Like, if you tell them to fuck off enough, they eventually have to do stuff for you, because so many people like it. I don’t think people think that “right, we need to make a record that has to sound good on radio.”
Ben: There’s also bands that have been around for years, like New Found Glory, they’re still around, still making money, and they’ve never really changed their sound.
Dec: But at the moment [radio] still seem to love us, so we’re not gonna turn it down. It was never written with the intention for them to like it, they just did, like Here We Go was just written and recorded in like three days and it went to radio and it just so happened that they loved it.
Ben: It’s never been a conscious thing, like we need something poppy, something more radio friendly, it was just listening to different music and being influenced by different things.
Before your wonderful year last year, you had a few down points including getting dropped from Island Records-
Dec: Still got the money though.
Ben: We like to refer to it as “parted ways”.
Okay then, “parted ways”.
Dec: Nah, say “dropped”.
Was there ever any point where you thought “this is it, we’ve blown it all”, and if so, did that influence the latest record?
Ben: We went into a panic mode.
Dec: We played T In The Park two years ago, 2013, and it was such a shit show, we were like, the band’s over , we shook hands, like “cool, see you later”, then it was really weird, no one really spoke about it. We just agreed on it, we weren’t going to do this bullshit “final tour”, like if you’re going to break up, just go, if you don’t wanna do it, there’s obviously a reason. And then no one spoke about it, we just kept doing shit.
Ben: The thing with being in a band is you’re always six months ahead, so there are plans made by management, agents etc where they’re planning on the foreseeable future, what’s going to happen, and if something doesn’t click in place, you’ve already made those plans. So we planned to do three or four major festivals with the hope that our songs on radio go really well, and things didn’t connect as well as we hoped, but we were still booked. So we went to do them and do one really knew who we were and it was a real let down at the time.
Dec: And it came across as we were like denying our roots and where we came from, and in fact it was them, saying “you’ve got that covered, don’t worry, we’ll do this instead”. And we were like, “well, major label, obviously knows what they’re talking about”, but obviously they don’t.
Ben: And we met our manager now, and he said to us, this was October 2013, “we need to bring back what everyone loved about LTA, when you did World Record and everything was going really well”. And when we look back 18 months on, we’re exactly where we hoped we’d be when he said that to us.
Dec: Island Records sucked the fun out of our band, like everything apart from the cover of the work, that was the only LTA vibe on it I think.
If you had broken up then, where do you think we’d all be now?
Dec: I don’t wanna talk about it, I don’t wanna think about it.
Ben: I reckon we’d all still be doing something musical.
On this tour you’ve had to upgrade some of the venues three times over; do you prefer these bigger venues or those where you can smell the sweat off everyone in the crowd?
Both: I like both.
Dec: I never want to stop doing both.
Ben: I like it when big bands go back and do a little club show that sells really quick. I find when you’re running round on stage, hands in the air, clapping your hands, throwing picks, and you can interact a bit more, high five them and ruffle their hair. But then you’d have to play three nights at, like, Swanky [Spanky] Van Dykes. We also want to go back and play like hundred cap venues.
Dec: I don’t know what the original questions was, we’re just having a couple of beers and chatting shit basically.