Lowtide On The Debut Album, Dual Bassists And Future Plans jimmy 22/07/2014 features, interview This month we welcome Lowtide‘s debut full length ahead of their Australian tour (kicking off this Friday in Melbourne)! The album arrives four years after the four piece delivered their debut EP ‘You Are My Good Light‘. The Melbourne-based band released the much praised ‘Underneath Tonight/Memory No. 7‘ in 2011, a mix of reverb heavy dream pop and shoegaze. For their full length, Lowtide have taken all the necessary measures to fine tune their music into a well rounded record. Singer and bassist Giles Simon recently explained what went into making the album. Giles isn’t lacking in wit or dry humour! One of the more entertaining interviewees so far… It’s been a long time between drinks! Loved the debut EP ‘You Are My Good Light’, obviously a lot has changed since 2010. What were you looking to achieve with the debut full length? It took us a long time to settle on the way we were going to approach recording the LP because we didn’t really feel rushed and wanted to let things happen a bit more organically. We had a lot of the songs from the start, but arranging and sequencing things, recording them in particular ways, in our own time, was what we were after with the first record. That, and good album art. Can you tell us a little about the recording process? We recorded the album over two years or more. We had demos and ideas for some of the songs that probably date from around the time of the first EP. We were lucky to be working with someone who both had the time-space continuum and matching enthusiasm to let us develop the record over such a long time and come up with something we all felt was right for the band as a whole. Gareth, who recorded and produced the record (assisted by young Thom) was really patient with us, from the first sessions at Soundpark’s great studio space, through to vocal overdubs in a cupboard in Abbotsford, and all the time spent with Gabe’s guitar going through some, well, ‘changes’. I’ve heard Gareth Parton (Foals, The Go!Team, The Breeders) is quite a character! How did he help shape the album? Gareth Parton is a consummate professional. He absolutely put his foot down when it came to hard-panning the two bass tracks. *laughs* Comparisons have been drawn between Lowtide and acts like Tamaryn, The Cure and Slowdive. Where do you see Lowtide’s music sitting? We have all liked, and sometimes even loved those bands, at various stages. Sometimes more intensely than others. We all listen to a pretty diverse selection of recorded music and so, while we are indebted to the sound pioneered by people like Christian Saville and the bands from the Sarah Records catalogue for example, it’s more a reference point for us, a starting point. From there we can really do anything (so long as we can agree to just what that might mean). One of the unique things about you guys is the dual bassists/vocalists setup. How does that work and effect the song writing process? The only other band I’ve seen playing with two basses is Sonic Youth, who are one of the great guitar bands. Other than that I guess we felt like this approach just balanced the way Gabe was playing his guitar and then the ability to explore vocal harmonies, which I don’t think happens in live music enough anymore, was a result of the fact that Lucy and I are really playing the same role in the band, just sharing it. A lecturer who taught me at Melbourne Uni, David Rathbone – the coolest philosophy lecturer you’re ever likely to come across – invited me to his recording studio once (I know!) and we had a discussion about a band with two bass players in it. It only occurred to me recently that I pretty much went out and enacted exactly what we talked about that day, even though it was about 6 years ago, in Essendon, and a long time before Lowtide really happened. I saw Kim Gordon play the other week. She is an amazing performer. She looks like my mum, but one louder. *At this point we all want to see a picture of Giles mother… but that would be awkward right?* What’s your most loved song on the album and why? I really like the way ‘Maxillæ Leaving, Seaward’ turned out. The recording of the separate instruments, live and only lightly overdubbed by Gabe with extra guitar tracks, really represents what I enjoy about being part of Lowtide. Although it is the most ‘post-rock’ sounding track on the record, for me it is the centre of what Lowtide as a band is all about. Lowtide by Lowtide I really enjoyed the interplay of male/female vocals on the record. Do you share lyric writing duties throughout? Yes, but it comes with the sometimes awkward experience of having to explain what you mean by a lyric such as ‘gross aluminium chesterfields hang yellow light brigade, ornaments’ to someone with whom you expect to duet it with clarity and intent. *more laughs* Did any particular music or artists influence the new album? This album was entirely conceived, fully formed, after a day spent bathing in the serene, pale glow of Tiepolo’s ‘Banquet of Cleopatra’. She hangs on the western wall. *I don’t think that’s true… more laughs* You’ve played shows with A Place To Bury Strangers, HTRK, Royal Baths, The Laurels and so many Melbourne locals! What’s been the stand out show so far? Playing at the Lowfly Hangar in Brisbane with Blank Realm, Feathers, and Sputnik Sweetheart for our seven inch launch was a pretty great night for all of us I think. That place must have had some pretty wild shows if that show was anything to go by. We also played with Underground Lovers at the Corner recently and I was really into that. Especially as someone commented on a Youtube clip that they saw us open that night and thought we were better than the Undies. I don’t know about that but keep your pants on I say. What are your top albums of 2014 so far? Any tips for SBWR readers? I’ve just been listening to Francis Plagne’s new (4th!) record. I don’t know if it is going to come out this year, but it really is a humdinger. I haven’t heard the Full Ugly album yet but I don’t doubt its vitality. Otherwise it’s been all about 2013: Parading, the Ancients, and Day Ravies. Live: the Aesthetics blew me away at Goodtime Studios earlier in the year, so did the whole Elevator Alligators/Zanzibar Chanel party at Hugs and Kisses that happened around the same time. How’s life in Melbourne? We’ve been blessed with some great music from your city (Contrast, White Caves, Flyying Colours, Minatures and more). What’s the big secret!? Melbourne is great, I’m writing this from New York and it really has nothing on Melbourne when it comes to aspirationless, blatant pop hedonism, and beers with friends. Also, a shitty federal government and inner-city, latte-sipping friendly oases like Kensington really help kick out the jams. What are your most treasured pieces of gear? This is really a question for Gabe, the gear-head, but for me it’s the Changu, or Jew’s harp that I snuck into the vocal track on Wedding Ring without anyone knowing. My friend Callum gave it to me as a gift from his trip to Thailand and it came packaged inside a Chinese Finger Trap. Welcome to the 21st century. What’s next for Lowtide? Well apart from new songs leading to a sophomore effort that will knock your socks off, we are all pursuing various extracurricular activities that, while currently at an arms length from the band brand, we have planned to bring in under the Lowtide umbrella for various cross-promotional opportunities as part of the ‘expanded-concept album’ planned for the not too distant future. Gabe has started his own line of iPhone-wear, clothing suitable for when you are using your mobile. Anton has been short-listed to play the lead part in the upcoming Jarvis Cocker biopic that is rumoured to be directed by Wes Anderson, and Lucy and I are still working on a side-project called Drunk. Look out for that. The Melbourne album launch is Friday 25th July at The Tote and the full tour details are: Friday 25th July 2014 | The Tote, Melbourne VIC w/ Summer Flake, White Walls and Bloodhounds on My Trail Saturday 2nd August 2014 | The Metro, Adelaide SA w/ Alpha Beta Fox and Ride Into The Sun Friday 8th August 2014 | Roller Den, Sydney NSW w/ Devotional, Miners and Shrapnel (Day Ravies solo) Thursday 11th September 2014 | Brisbane QLD Details coming soon.. **PICK UP THE ‘LOWTIDE’ LP VIA LOST AND LONESOME** Visit Lowtide @ Bandcamp @ Lost And Lonesome @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.