Interview: Lanterns On The Lake

Lanterns on the Lake _ press2When asked to name a band that has experience beyond its years, Newcastle based outfit Lanterns On The Lake should probably spring to mind first. Formed in the North East of England in 2007, they really came to prominence after stunning critics and the public alike with a unique brand of cinematic pop showcased on their debut album Gracious Tide, Take Me Home in 2011. Since then, the road hasn’t exactly been easy. The band saw two of its founding members leave during the run up to the recording of their second album before falling on well documented hard financial times. But Lanterns On The Lake are undoubtedly a band with the power to regroup and coalesce. Their second album, Until The Colours Run sees the band return with renewed vigour, and a collection of songs carrying just as much cinematic, emotive power as their first album, coupled with a more reflective vitality of sound. We caught up with front woman Hazel Wilde to talk about the album and how experience makes you stronger.

Let’s start with the new album. How did it come together? 

It was an exciting time for us creatively when we were making this record. We were bringing ideas in to the rehearsal room and fleshing them out together. We were going through a tough time with finances and in our personal lives but these songs and this record was the thing that was getting us through all of that and it became a hugely important focus for us. As a result I think this record feels quite intense and emotionally charged at times but it has so much colour and passion in there. It’s like it almost celebrates the darkness in places, it’s like a release.

What was the recording process like?

We used an old school hall in County Durham and stayed in a little cottage next door, we were there for about a month and we recorded the songs all together as ‘live’ as we could get it. We wanted this record to feel more live than the last one (Gracious Tide, Take Me Home). The last record was recorded in our homes and we did it in quite a fragmented way with us all recording our parts separately – just because logistically it wasn’t possible to all set up and record the full band in our houses – we were also trying to fit the recording around working day jobs just doing what we could whenever we could.  This time it felt like a much more natural and creative way to work with us all playing live together and recording it that way. We did add a couple of things at home and Paul mixed and produced it in his spare bedroom.

There seems to be a politically charged thread running through the album. Tracks like The Buffalo Days and Another Tale From Another English Town seem to reflect on youth and austerity. Is this aspect a statement of intent or is it something that fed into the music organically?

There was never a specific plan to write about anything with a political slant or about anything else for that matter. I suppose you just write about what you know and what you experience as you go through life.

What influenced you (music or otherwise) when you were writing and recording the new album?

I can’t speak for everyone in the band but personally I try not to be influenced by other bands or music while we’re writing. I’ve probably listened to less music since I’ve been in a band than I did when I was younger. When you’re trying to create your own music I think it’s good to just be in your own bubble. In terms of influences, like I say, I can’t speak for the others but I’d say I was influenced by a whole load of things that I was experiencing at the time – being excited about writing new music, suffering from insomnia, being skint, people around me losing their jobs, having to say ‘goodbye’ to my Grandmother who was very ill at the time which was a huge loss for me. I think we were all probably influenced and inspired by each other at the time too – you know, if someone comes up with a really amazing guitar part or drum beat or something, that can be really exciting and inspiring and you want to add to that and come up with something yourself.

Gracious Tide, Take Me Home became an acclaimed album pretty much as soon as it came out. Was there any pressure to live up to its success when writing the second album? 

We purposely approached this record differently to the last.  We didn’t want to just do the same thing, it had to be a step forward for us and we want each record to be a totally different experience to make and to listen to.  In the back of your mind you’re always going to wonder if fans of the first record will appreciate the new one but really that shouldn’t be our worry. The important thing to us is that we feel like we’ve done our best work, progressed as a band and as songwriters and feel like we’ve created a unique album. There will always be certain similar elements in our music (we aren’t going to start playing thrash metal all of a sudden) but I think we really want to evolve in how we make records and how we write music. It would be pointless otherwise.

You’ve been touring recently. How has the new material translated live?

Well it was written in quite a ‘live’ way so it wasn’t too difficult but it is quite a daunting experience to go out and play a bunch of new songs to people who really want to hear all the old ones. We tried to play a mix of old and new songs on our recent tour. It’s a tricky one because you know that people really want to hear what they know but at the same time you want to feel like you’re doing something different and playing songs that you feel passionate about at the time.

What have you got planned over the next 12 months?

Our record comes out on 7th October and we have a tour of the UK in October following that. We are trying to work on new material and recording demos and stuff as much as we can too. We’re hoping to do a lot of touring in the new year and play in as many places to as many people as we can, working hard and enjoying it.

Until The Colours Run is released on 7 October on Bella Union. The band will be on tour in support of the album. Check out where to catch them here.

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