Lower Than Atlantis find themselves Safe in Sound

Lower Than Atlantis
Lower Than Atlantis
Andrew WK

BIG INTERVIEW Andrew WK: 'I'm a salesman for this sensation that I'm trying to create'

For a band which nearly imploded four years ago, alternative rockers Lower Than Atlantis find themselves in 2018 in rude health and doing better than ever.

Their fifth and most recent album, Safe In Sound was released last February and gave the four-piece their first ever top 10 placing.

It improved on the performance of the career-saving self-titled album they released in 2014.

And now they're heading on their biggest UK tour in four years, 22 dates, including Southampton and Brighton.

Bassist Declan Hart affects a mix of pride and nonchalance about Safe In Sound's chart performance.

'It was wicked. When all that stuff’s happening, you spend all the time creating the music and thinking how it’s going to look, aesthetically, and the vibe you want to create. It’s a shame that some bands make that the pinnacle of what they’re doing, and get so stressed out about it.

'I think we were all like, if it charts well, then that’s amazing, but if it doesn’t, whatever! We’re still proud of what we’ve created. Luckily it did chart well, but who cares about charts these days anyway?' he laughs.

Declan describes the self-titled album as 'a rebirth,' coming as it did after the band were dropped by their label, Island.

'On self-titled, we kind of just went: "You know what? Let’s make an album, because otherwise we’re going to break up, let’s give it our best shot". Because it was the best received and highest charting album and got us all these things we’d never had before, we thought, right, how do we top that? So we had to beat that, it wasn’t pressure people put on us, it was pressure we put on ourselves.'

The follow-up has seen the band continue on the path of greater self-reliance and a greater self-awareness.

'Moving forward, we’re trying to get in touch with our roots a little more and take more control – not that we’d lost control – but to really get back to the nitty-gritty and the DIY aesthetic we started with.

'These days I measure things in terms of happiness, and if you’re not happy with something, just don’t do it. All those things that our band has been happiest with is when we’ve had that control in everything.'

It's also seen the band able to travel further afield.

'With this record, it’s pretty cool, it’s taken us to countries and places we’ve never been to before, it’s really kicked off the international thing for us. We’ve tried that before, but we’ve got quite a British sound, and it can take a little longer to break internationally.

'We also have that irreverent outlook on life, that tongue-in-cheek vibe that doesn’t translate instantly. I guess that’s why people like us, but it takes a little longer for people to get it!

And on this tour, the band will be dipping into all of their albums for the setlist, bringing out a few numbers they haven't played for a while as well as songs from Safe in Sound.

'I think we’re going to throw in a few new ones we haven’t played live yet. It’s going to be quite stripped back on this tour, production-wise. No frills, just everyone having a laugh basically.'

So with things going well, would he say they're in a happy place now?

'Any band that has longevity will want to break up about 30 times a year, I think that’s just part and parcel of what we do.

'I saw an interview with another band, and they said something that got it right – he said we don’t really hang out when we’re not on tour, but our friendship is in the music, so we don’t hammer hanging out all of the time, as that would kill it.

'We’re mates, but we relish the time away from each other as well. You learn from your mistakes, don’t you?'

Engine Rooms, Southampton

Thursday, April 12

engineroomssouthampton.com

Concorde 2, Brighton

Sunday, April 15

concorde2.co.uk