Als wir vor einiger Zeit hier über das Debütalbum ‘Gracious Tide, Take Me Home‘ der britischen Band Lanterns On The Lake schrieben, sprachen wir von einem Album, das mehr gibt als es nimmt, das wie gemacht ist für die Zeit der roten, fallenden Blätter, für die Zeit der Melancholie und der Kälte. Kurzum, das am 23. September erschienene Album hat sich voll und ganz in unsere Herzen gespielt, wozu vielleicht auch die aktuelle Wetter- und Stimmungslage ihren Teil dazu beigetragen hat. Und wie das zumeist bei uns ist, werden wir, wenn wir etwas richtig gut finden, sehr neugierig, sodass wir das britische Sextett in Form von Sängerin Hazel Wilde an die Tastatur gebeten haben. Ihre Antworten auf unsere Fragen kann man jetzt hier lesen: Lanterns On The Lake im Bedroomdisco Interview!
1.) Band facts
– Name: Lanterns on the Lake
– Band members: Hazel Wilde, Paul Gregory, Ol Ketteringham, Sarah Kemp, Adam Sykes & Brendan Sykes.
– Founding year: late 2007/early 2008
– Residence: North-East England
– Current album: Gracious Tide, Take Me Home
– How did you start making music – had you been forced to play an instrument somehow or was it in your own interest? What was the occasion?
I started to play guitar because I wanted to write songs. At the time it seemed like the easiest instrument to learn. It wasn’t so much that I was desperate to play guitar, it was more a means to an end – I wanted to be a songwriter and that was one way that I could do it. I couldn’t get lessons at school because there were only so many kids who could get a place for lessons. So I decide to learn a few chords myself. I figured I’d only need to know a few chords and I could write a song with those. So for me that’s how it started. I think everyone in the band had different reasons for being interested in music or wanting to play an instrument. I know Adam and Brendan’s Dad ran a folk club so they were around music a lot. Sarah got violin lessons at school. Ol played drums in bands from a really young age. Paul has also been playing guitar since he was really young, his Dad plays.
– Do you remember the first song you’ve ever written? What was it about, do you remember a line of it?
Yes I remember it. It was pretty terrible. I wouldn’t want to torture you with any of the lyrics or even the song title for that matter.
– How did you all come together and decided to form a band?
Me, Paul and Ol had been playing music together for a few years. The 3 of us had been in a band together in the past and we realized then that we loved making music together – I now can’t image being in a band without the 2 of them. When that band broke up the 3 of us talked about starting something new, the possibility of doing something really special with it and the dream of making records and touring. We had some song ideas at the time and we wanted to put a band together.
We needed a bass player so we met up with Brendan who we’d known from the local music scene in Newcastle and asked if he wanted to be a part of it. Around the same time we had started playing music with Sarah who I’ve known since I was at school. Her violin playing breathed a new life into the songs, she fitted in perfectly and quickly became really vital in the writing process and how the songs were formed. Lastly, Brendan asked if his brother Adam could come along to a rehearsal one day and that was the final piece of the puzzle. Within a few months we played our first gig as Lanterns On The Lake.
– In which situation did you come up with the name ‘Lanterns On The Lake’, why did you choose it and what meaning has it for you?
I guess we thought it suited the music. It’s pretty difficult to come up with a band name. Most names have been taken or just don’t suit the music you play. I think Lanterns On The Lake was the best of a long list of names that we were thinking of at the time.
– How did you proceed from becoming a band to getting signed?
Well I think it was about 3 years before we got signed and in that time we worked really hard at making Lanterns something special that we were proud of and believed in. We never thought of it as just a hobby – it was always much more than that to us. We spent a lot of time writing, going away to the countryside and learning how to record. We spent a lot of time making EPs and learning how to do the whole ‘DIY’ release. We actively tried to share our music with as many people as we could through blogs or any other way that we could. Then it came to the point where we felt we really couldn’t take it any further ourselves without a good label behind us. We wanted to make a debut album and we needed the right label to help us do it justice. That’s when Simon Raymonde from Bella Union first got in touch. We were over the moon. They are the ideal label for us we are very proud to be part of Bella Union.
– What musical influences do you have?
We all individually have lots and lots of different musical influences. I think you can underestimate the impact of all the music you were around when you were growing up. For me, when I was a teenager or younger there were artists and bands who musically I’ve grown out of and wouldn’t listen to now but at the time they sparked some kind of imagination or excitement in me. I think being a teenager in the 90’s there were lots of indie bands around that made me think “well anyone can do that, you don’t have to be a great singer or be technically brilliant to join a band”. I suppose that was quite important to me and inspirational at the time. Then there was music that I would find in my parents record collections that I ‘discovered’ like Neil Young and Talking Heads who I still listen to and love now.
– How do you normally work on songs? What are the steps/processes, what are the usual problems of finishing a song?
We have quite an unusual approach to writing songs. With a couple of exceptions, there usually tends to be a few of us who will come up with an initial skeleton or sketch of a song like for example Paul might write a piece of music and demo it with a rough idea of how he’d like to approach it then I might help him structure it and I’ll add some lyrics and a vocal melody. Then maybe Ol would add piano or some drums, Brendan would add bass, and so on. Slowly it becomes the complete song. It can be an interesting journey from the initial idea to the complete Lanterns song.
In terms of problems..Sometimes with there being 6 of us in the band if one person isn’t happy with how something sounds it can become really difficult. Lanterns is a democracy so often we have to make a lot of compromises.
– Could you tell about about the production process of “Gracious Tide, Take Me Home”? How long did it take, where did it happen, what were the difficulties, how did you prepare for it? What was the best, what the worst moment? Most told anecdote?
We record it in our homes mainly. We didn’t have a studio or anything so it was a case of Paul recording everyone separately which wasn’t ideal. Doing it at home was a fairly comfortable way to work though.
One of the main difficulties was that the majority of us were all working full time jobs. For Paul especially who was involved in every single aspect of the recording and mixing this was difficult. He was working all day and through the night he was recording or mixing the record. That was quite a drain. I mean, we had always felt like being in a band and having day jobs was like having 2 full-time jobs but when you are making your debut record you want to put absolutely everything into it and not have to think about anything else. So that was one difficulty in making this record. It also meant that the whole process took a lot longer than it should have. It took 4 months to record it plus another 3 weeks to mix it.
– Was the production process of “Gracious Tide, Take Me Home” different to how you produced “The Starlight EP” or “Misfortunes and Minor Victories”?
The production process was pretty much the same, except this time we knew more about what we were doing and we had more microphones. The EP’s were done using one mic which we used for everything and some cheap drum mics Ol had, and we did a lot of guessing. When it came to the album we had a clearer idea of how we wanted it to sound, and how we could get it to sound with the limited gear we had. Paul had a bit more experience of mixing and recording which he’d learned through making the EPs.
– What development do you see in your production, the music, the lyrics and in the band since then?
I think probably production wise the album sounds a lot warmer than our EP’s, the music is more focused and more representative of how we play live. In terms of lyrics, maybe they are bit more focussed too.
– “Blanket Of Leaves” is one of our favorite songs – can you tell us what it is about, how it was done and if there is a story behind it?
Ol came up with the music on the piano. Me and Paul had gone over to his one night and he played it for us. I thought it was beautiful. We demoed it and I had a go at writing some words and a vocal melody and we structured it a bit. At the time we had no rehearsal room and we were having to use this damp, cold basement of a shop in Newcastle. It was winter and we were trying to play the song all together as a band down there before we started recording it. So that’s my main memory of working on that song – a freezing, damp basement and a beautiful piano melody.
– At which point did you know that your record is finished?
It’s hard to let go of something you really care about and have been working on for so long and I think we could have carried on changing and adding bits to those songs forever. But, the day that we all listened through to it together and nobody had any more huge changes or suggestions to make we knew it was time that we called it a day on that record.
– What are your next plans?
Hopefully a lot more touring and making records. At some point this year I’d love for us to go away for a month or so to a studio in the middle of nowhere to make the next record.
– What are you doing if your not making music?
Well Lanterns keeps us pretty busy. At the moment when we aren’t recording music or playing shows some of us are keeping on top of the whole admin side of being in a band, some of us are acting as tour manager (planning routes and accommodation for the shows), some of us are keeping on top of merch orders and posting them out, some of us are making the hand-packaged EPs (which can take a long time), some of us are doing interviews (like this one) and some of us are continually writing bits of music and trying to learn more about production and recording. Then there’s trying to fit in doing paid work to be able to pay the bills. So yeah, we tend to be fairly busy – it’s all good though.
– Your Top 3 records of 2011 up to now?
Let England Shake by PJ Harvey
A Creature I Don’t Know by Laura Marling
Bon Iver by Bon Iver
– How would your “Bedroomdisco” look like?
It would have a nice rug and a good lamp – it’s all about the lighting. Joni Mitchell would be on the jukebox and there would be an unlimited supply of red wine.
– Who did fill out this questionnaire?
Im Rahmen des Interviews verlosen wir in Zusammenarbeit mit Bella Union zwei Exemplare des Lanterns On The Lake-Debütalbum ‘Gracious Tide, Take Me Home’. Wer gewinnen will, schreibt uns bis zum 11. Januar 2012 eine Mail mit dem Betreff ‘Lanterns On The Lake’ und seiner Adresse an email@example.com – wir wünschen viel Glück!