LTW are pleased to introduce The Long Lost Band- describing their sound as Rock-psych-electric-acoustic, the first thing that grabs you is Stuart Anthony’s deep, well crafted song writing and rich vocals which, married to a sound that’s beautifully layered might make you wonder why you haven’t come across the Lancaster band before …. although that will probably all change with the release of their 2nd album, due out early next year on The Big Louis Recording Company.
Stuart Anthony, the bands lead singer & vocalist, talked to us about the new album and what lays ahead for the band.
Louder Than War: Tell me about The Long Lost Band and the groups story so far…, listening to songs like ‘For my Sins’ from your 1st album you can hear a good few influences in there, a really accomplished sound.
Stuart: It’s the old tale of a solo artist (two albums ”ËThe Colourful Truth’ & ”ËHouse Of Sun under my belt) looking for a band, then realising the guys he found are not mere session men, and suddenly a band of equals was formed. Myself, Oscar Armer, and Greg Maddox got together in late 2009 and finalized the line-up when lead guitarist Matt Appleton joined early 2010.
Stuff happened quick by chemistry and I guess intense rehearsal sessions, we acted on impulse and started recording ”ËThe Big Light Secret’ our first album. We played that live a lot, in Liverpool and Lancaster. I bumped into Ian McNabb of The Icicle Works at a Neil Young tribute night and ended up fixing a support slot with him for his solo tour, and the same happened with John Bramwell and I Am Kloot who we supported at Manchester Cathedral in December of the same year. Not bad for a band only 12 months old.
Stuart: Started off with me writing most of the songs but pretty soon the band just got on with it collectively. Sometimes me & Matt write one, sometimes I write one, or we all jam and something comes up. We record every session like obsessives so we don’t lose anything. Everyone has a creative input to each one eventually. We’ve got diverse influences. Mine range from Tim Buckley to David Bowie to Nick Drake, Oscar is a cool funk bass player. He listens to loads of classic funk James Brown, Kool & The Gang and stuff like Jah Wobble. Greg is noted for his love of heavy rock like Cream, AP&S and Matt starts from the Beatles, Who, Floyd territory and carries on from there. We all bring that stuff to the table and see what music shows up.
Greg Maddox ”â Drums & Percussion
Oscar Armer ”â Bass
Matt Appleton ”â Lead Guitar, & Vocals
Stuart Anthony ”â Lead Vocal & Rhythm Guitar
Louder Than War: …and right now your about to release album number 2 aren’t you, compare it to your first album ‘The Big Light Secret’ …
Stuart: We are well into recording it. A release date is hopefully by early 2013. The first album was made up of songs I’d written. It was more stripped down compared to what we are doing now. There was no full drum kit on Big Light Secret. Oscar was playing a stand-up bass. The album was more acoustic. It got a really good reception on a few radio stations, in particular Radio Caroline, positive online reviews and a great reaction live. It opened a few doors. Got us more gigs. This second album by contrast, has a full kit, more electric bass & guitar. We bought in some funk, some of our own edgy rock tunage, even more guitars, 12 string etc and it’s ended up packed to the gills with more urgency in the drive of the songs. Its more in your face!. It’s sounding dangerously catchy.
Louder Than War: What gets into your songwriting
Stuart: I write very much off the cuff. I don’t plan songs. I tend to write words first and then get down to try, finishing a song in one session. My favourites usually come in one sitting. What are they about? All the crazy stuff that goes on in my head! I like to get a lot of meaning across in a good phrase.
The Big Light Secret title track was about someone having a blinding revelation, some big truth they finally worked out. Some meanings are quite personal and I prefer people to take their own meaning from them rather than me explaining. The spirit of the song is more important than one rigid meaning.
There’s a song called ”ËAcross The Guns’ on the next album, which is a bit of an anthem about Liberation and was inspired by the events in Tahrir Square in Egypt and stuff going on with the Occupy movement. The band have hopefully captured something of that feeling of the current desire for political and economic liberation and put it in the songs recording and performance.
Louder Than War: How has the actual recording gone for the group,where did you record the album?
Stuart: Our first album was produced by Paul Walmsley and his little studio we christened Shabby Road. It was lo-fi, but the house had a good sound. We recorded in the dining room! This time round we built our own studio in Matt’s house. A better desk, and a fast computer set up for audio. Matt’s house has two separate sound proofed cellar rooms so one room is the console room and the other the recording space. Paul hasn’t been available just yet so we’ve been self-producing up till now. Paul will step in soon and slap it all into shape; He’s the third ear and makes sure everything gets a good crack of the whip. There’s more attention to detail going on in the new stuff. We have more options and its pushing us all to play better.
Stuart: I saw some post about Radio Caroline on Facebook by one of their DJ’s Peter Antony so I sent him The Big Light Secret and he started playing it on his show. We stayed in contact and he’d had some mad idea for a Christmas song with an interestingly themed poem he’d written. He had a sound in mind and was looking for the right band. He found us. We were sceptical at first. He sent the poem over, and despite our initial doubts about doing the Christmas thing we finally thought it actually might be a good challenge and it would probably be the only time we’d ever get down to doing a Christmas song. We wanted to see if we could actually do it and get the balance right. The single is called Twelfth Knight (King Of December) and it definitely has bells in it. Sound effects. Big festive chorus and all that. A English folk feel runs through it. It’s got a good spirit!
Louder Than War: A real busy time for you all right now then…
Stuart: Yep. It’s a juggling act. We’ve had to get all the promo & recording done for that while trying to record the album. We just did a rewarding photo shoot for Twelfth Knight with Pauline Clark who did the photography for Big Light Secret. She’s always comes up with great pictures! It’s all got a slight mediaeval edge, with shots taken round a ruined abbey on a windswept estuary outside Lancaster. We got followed by cows when we started playing guitars on location, and we were running round like loons trying to stop them eating Oscars guitar case, bizarrely. At another location for the shoot we tried and failed to be responsible with a bonfire & fireworks used as props. We’re also working with Peter Antony on getting the single out to radio land and other biz people. You know the routine. It would be nice to find ourselves having the luxury of choice to go with either self-release or sign with the right label/publisher.
Louder Than War: How hard is it to be in a group right now, a band on the way up, a group like ‘The Long Last Band’…are you all holding down day jobs outside the group?
Stuart: We make music with stolen hours of our lives. We all have day jobs. Money isn’t flashed round. Lack of time is also the enemy. We’re unsigned. We have no label support so we do our best to look after ourselves. Recording and the day job hours add up to regular 16 hour days. Getting time off work is another sonofabitch we won’t go into. It’s all great though. It’s a release from all the normal work pressure. We still get to create. It’s better than not being able to create. Light years better. Twelfth Knight (King Of December) was the first track we laid down in our newly built studio (Christened Dungeon Studio). It was damn weird recording a Christmas single in Spring. The sleeve design was done by Matt Burrows and while it was a boiling Summer’s day outside we browsed loads of Christmas images online trying to find inspiration for the cover.
Louder Than War: The internet, its everything in terms of networking but how effective is it these days do you think, for bands on the up?
Stuart: How do you get noticed in an ocean of bands vying for attention constantly? That’s the question when we work the Internet. Nothing beats making good personal connections with fans and the music biz personnel and the up side of the Internet game is that it’s pretty easy to do that. Most of the breaks we’ve had have come about because of that. I’ve met a few heroes through Internet connections (like Chuck Berry, Ian McNabb and quite a few of Nick Drake & Tim Buckley’s people). The down side is the Internet generates as much click lethargy as it does page or song hits. People have to filter. You can’t click on every song or video link, unless you have John Peel like ”Ësuper powers’! Post a picture of a cat and you’ve got a hit on Facebook, but an up and coming band will always need some extra angle as well as undeniably good songs, just to break through a massive pool of competition. This is our first ever interview as a band and we can only hope it gives us some more traction and gets your attention readers!
Louder Than War: The year 2013 looks like being a big one for The Long Lost Band,..when can we catch you live?
Stuart: We haven’t fixed a 2013 tour yet. We will sort some dates out once the album is finished and the live version is rehearsed properly. We think we’ve got a great and striking batch of songs and we hope they get more widely known in 2013. We’re looking forward to reaching more people with the music, and having a ball being in the band!
All words by Carl Stanley. You can read more from Carl on LTW here.