Lower Than Atlantis: “There are bigger things to come!”

Interview Lower Than Atlantis: “There are bigger things to come!”

Lower Than Atlantis are hoping to rock Reading & Leeds with their new, self-titled album.

Mike Duce is a man of simple pleasures. Tucking into a fry-up in the café next door to his band’s self-built studio, the Lower Than Atlantis frontman has one desire in life: “I just want to play and write music, that’s all I wanna do.”

Of course, it’s not always that easy, and few bands have been subject to quite as much industry-related stress as Lower Than Atlantis. After the label campaign for 2012’s ‘Changing Tune’ didn’t quite hit the mark, the band were given an ultimatum – face a second album under the label’s control, with little to no promotion; or take the next album’s advance and leave.

“We did everything ourselves before [‘Changing Tune’], and then stuff got taken out of our hands,” Mike explains. “[The label] took things away from us, and then weren’t doing them – I ended up chasing them to get things done.”

True to form, they handled the proposition in the most straightforward manner. “We took the money and ran,” Mike states, a note of relief in his voice. “I always find it weird listening to the opinions and advice of people that work at places like that. They can’t write songs, they can’t play instruments, so it’s weird that they tell you how to do your job.“

“People are saying that if this album doesn’t blow up, then we’ve gotta call it a day. I don’t give a fuck.”

— Mike Duce

This no-bullshit approach will come as little surprise to existing Lower Than Atlantis fans, with Mike’s lyrics in particular renowned for their pragmatism. But as the band took a step back to recover from the blow they’d been dealt by their first tentative steps away from DIY culture, they looked inwards too. “Lyric-wise – before, every song’s been kind of like reflective and I’ve spent a long time getting it right, and then the meanings get lost. With this album, it’s very much the case that on first listen, you hear what I’m saying, and they’re pretty loose, so people can take away from it what they will.”

The aforementioned self-built studio was another product of this recovery period, allowing the band to spend longer on their upcoming self-titled effort than they have on any record previous. This allowed for a bit of experimentation, and Duce reels off a list of influences that were allowed space to develop in the band’s new setting. “There’s an American Football-y kind of thing. There’s strings in one song, which we’ve never done before, that’s pretty cool. And there’s a few electronics, which is new… but it’s all done tastefully!”

It’s an approach that clearly works, with debut single ‘Here We Go’ landing Lower Than Atlantis the Radio 1 A-list spot for the first time. “It wasn’t even meant to be a single!” reveals Mike, “It’s weird – I wrote that song, recorded it, and it got sent to radio within three days.” The track also went on to be used as part of the World Cup coverage, another fact that seems to take the otherwise self-assured Duce aback; “It’s by no means the best song on the album so yeah; there’s bigger things to come!”

The self-titling of Lower Than Atlantis’ fourth record is more than just an aesthetic choice - it’s the clearest indicator of the band’s intentions to date. “A lot of people are saying that if this album doesn’t blow up and we don’t get massive, then we’ve gotta call it a day,” concludes Mike when quizzed on the band’s future plans. “I don’t give a fuck – I don’t need validation from some strangers who come up with these numbers.” Forthright ‘til the end - Lower Than Atlantis are still doing everything on their own terms.

Taken from the August issue of DIY, out now. Reading & Leeds Festival will take place from 22nd - 24th August. Lower Than Atlantis’s self-titled new album will be released on 29th September via Easy Life / Sony Red.

Tags: Lower Than Atlantis, Festivals, Features, Interviews

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