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The Lowdown: LostAlone

The Lowdown: LostAlone

"If you were to ask InMe the same question (in the other dressing room) they would say Star Trek – they love it."

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Last Edited by: Candi H April 10th, 2012.

It will be two years next month since LostAlone recorded their quite brilliant, second studio album I’m A UFO In This City. Having only been released upon the world in 2012 due to a number of delays, it’s only right that everyone who is everyone is talking about the British rock trio. Stars such as Gerard Way and Jared Leto continue to sing their praises in the press and national radio shows such as Radio 1 are now airing their latest slice of alternative-goodness, single 'Love Will Eat You Alive'. And so it’s great to know that they’re finally getting the attention they deserve.

Having recently embarked on a European tour with fellow Brits InMe, they’ve been slaying each town with their classic-rock riffs, streamlined harmonies and Broadway-sized melodies. I met up with singer/guitarist Steven, bassist Alan and drummer Mark, at the final show (of the UK leg) in London to try and get at least a hint of what goes on underneath all that well styled, jet-black hair. And what I discovered in 20 minutes, aside from an unbridled passion for music, was a deep love for Star Wars, history, Japan and breakfast…In short; they were my kind of people to hang around with.

AltSounds: You’re here in London and tonight is your last date of the UK tour supporting InMe. Are there plans for a headline tour this year?

Steven: Yes there are in May. We’re going to do about five dates to start with. We’ve got other stuff to do around it but we’re gonna try and get all the LostAlone fans to come to those five dates. We’ve not been in front of them in a small venue for so long. I mean on this tour a lot of them have come, but we've only playing for about 30 minutes.

Like last night in Cardiff there were so many LostAlone fans and we were aching when we came off the stage! We played for about 28 minutes and there was a curfew so we had to be quick. It felt like we were short-changing people…So er, yes was the answer!

[From L to R: Mark, Steven and Alan]

AltSounds: I saw Black Veil Brides last night at Brixton Academy and they had the whole works – pyro, fire, costumes and a massive backdrop. So if money weren’t an issue, what would your stage production involve?

Alan: One is we’ll probably die after the first song; it would be THAT mad! I’d probably go for a big theatre show, something like that.

Steven: I would genuinely just love it to be like a musical. So we would be on stage and maybe not even have us play anything! We’d have other people playing instead. We’ve got a lot of vocals on the album so it would be great to have a massive cast and we’re all characters - So people are walking around speaking, acting and singing our stuff. And maybe there could be a scene that’s 40 minutes long where the cast go to a gig where we actually play but it’s part of the musical.

AltSounds: Well, who knows maybe some day you will be able to realise that vision!

Steven: I literally just came up with all that on the spot!

AltSounds: So sticking to the subject of touring, is there a particular part of the world that you are most looking forward to touring?

All: Japan!

[Japan: On the tour wish-list]

Alan: New York as well because I’ve always wanted to go there. But then Japan is a definite too.

Steven: We’ve heard so many other bands that we’ve played with who’ve been there (Japan) and saying it’s the one place they’ve been where it actually feels like another world because it’s so different. So that’s a really exciting thought. Even if I weren’t in a band, I’d find a way to make sure I went there.

AltSounds: Before you go out on stage do you have a pre-show ritual or anything that you like to do?

Steven: There’s definitely a playlist we use which is on my laptop. I like to listen to Christmas music…If I turned the volume up on it now you’d hear it but I turned it off for your benefit! As it gets close to performing there’s a few specific songs like “Killer” by Seal and Adamski (proceeds to sing a little of it) and we always use a bit of Slipknot and have a massive head-banging session. There’ll always be current favourites like that song from The Karate Kid (Joe Esposito’s “You’re The Best”) So something saying that you’re the best gives you that confidence boost!

Alan: We also always like for the three of us to just be alone with an acoustic guitar to warm up.

Steven: Yeah we always sing together before we go on.

[Queen: the inspiration for big music and big hair]

AltSounds: You have a style that suggests you’ve had many influences over the past, musically and otherwise. So did you always know what you wanted to sound like as a band from the start?

Steven: Yeah I think so and I know that we didn’t achieve it on our first album. I’m proud of that album but the new album is what I hear in my head when I wrote the songs. I’ve got this Battelle FM thing on Twitter which is a bit of a comedic thing…Well it’s serious to me but everyone thinks it’s for comedy! It’s a radio show for one listener…which is me. So I always tweet the songs I’m playing.

I like to listen to pop songs and all different kinds of music so that’s why I think we sound like we do. My mum played me lots of Madonna when I was younger and my dad would play me Black Sabbath so there are no boundaries for me. There’s actually a song by The Saturdays called “Ego” and if we played it, it would be an amazing rock song! If you actually listen to it and take away the fact that’s five girls that have been manufactured, it’s a brilliant song.

AltSounds: Something to slip into the set perhaps! You recently released your second album I’m A UFO In This City. I wrote a good review for it recently…

Steven: Yes I know who you are now! We write all of our Facebook posts; all day, every day. So yes I spotted your review on there. We really appreciate the great feedback so it’s nice to know it’s going down well.

AltSounds: You recorded it in LA with some pretty impressive people including one Mr Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and some highly sought after producers. What was the recording process like? And getting to work with those people?

Steven: Well the thing about Gerard is that he wasn’t involved with the writing, so his role was as executive producer. In his own words, he would say that he was more of an “enabler”. We were in a dark time with label issues and he said, “your band is an important band and the world needs to hear this album. And I’m going to make sure they do”. So we sent him demos and he was letting us know what he liked, so essentially he was advising us.

This happened before My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days album. They had already written an album that they had scrapped and it was in that time that Gerard and me were talking a lot about our album. He basically walked into Warner Bros. Records and said “I’ve never done this before even though you’ve been asking me for years - This is the band I want to put my name to and I really believe in them”. So he introduced us to Greg Wells who’s worked with Deftones but also Katy Perry and Mika, so that was amazing. We were on a certain budget as a new band but as soon as the label heard the track “Love Will Eat You Alive”, they suddenly said we could have more money! And Jacknife Lee (producer) then said he also wanted to be involved.

So put simply, it was the best time of my life! They gave us so much freedom and the reason that they are the genius producers that they are is obviously they’re really good at the technical stuff, but for me it was their attitude. We could really go deep into the meaning of the songs and talk about it like therapeutic sessions. Before if I’d have asked, “Can I have forty vocalists on that track?” I’d have been laughed at. But they were the opposite and said, “Well, let’s get eighty!”

"This is the band I want to put my name to and I really believe in them" - Gerard Way
AltSounds: Wow. Well that’s something that I don’t think many bands just getting started can say! So the album’s theme is one of individualism but where else did your lyrical inspiration come from?

Steven: I think generally it’s a fight album. The first track “Obey The Rules You Lose” – that line I think sums up how I had been feeling. I think if you do try and be the good guy and be nice, quite often you get fucked! And I’m not saying I wanted to be horrible, I just wanted to say don’t live your life to what rules have been laid out for you. Like, you’ve got to go to school then you’ve got to go to university. Don’t conform to anything at all.

I always talked about destiny and legacy too. In five-hundred years even if we’ve not been a successful band, our music will still exist even if it’s just somewhere on iTunes! – Always try and think big.

Altsounds: Have any of you got an album that you couldn’t live without, if you had to choose just one?

Alan: The Green Album by Weezer (their second self-titled album). I listen to it so much.

Steven: Wow, nice choice.

Mark: One album?…Well I know what you’re gonna say (looking at Steven).

Steven: No you don’t actually! You have no idea. Mark’s just trying to deflect the fact that he can’t answer a question like this.

Mark: Nope, I can’t pick one album - that would be my answer. I don’t hold one piece of music in that high esteem. For instance there’s people that say, “When I listened to Nevermind (Nirvana’s infamous second album) it changed my life” - I haven’t had an album that’s had that kind of impact. There’s been so many collectively over the years.

Steven: For me? Well I can’t separate Queen albums. That’s a given. But then another would be Marina and the Diamonds’ The Family Jewels, which is one of my favourite albums.

[Steven can't live without Marina and the Diamonds]

AltSounds: So keeping to a similar theme, if you could steal a song from history and claim it as your own, what would you choose?

Alan: I’ve been asked this question before and I got slated for my answer because I said “Happy Birthday”! I’d be made for my life, but these guys made me feel ashamed because they were coming up with meaningful, decent songs!

Mark: I’d say “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Steven: Ok, well I’ll have to play mine to you because I can’t remember the title (Gets up and goes over to his laptop on the dressing room counter).

AltSounds: Hmm ok!

Steven: It’s from the end of a West Wing episode (American drama set in the White House) and I had to get it off the DVD because I couldn’t find it! Ah, it’s called “England Arise” from Posse Comitatus (episode 65). I just absolutely love it.

AltSounds: So you would take credit for this piece of music if you could?

Steven: Do you know what? I’m just going to! That’s the new single. Done.

Listen to 'England Arise' from The West Wing:

AltSounds: So aside from music, do any of you have other passions that you would have pursued if a music career hadn’t worked out?

Alan: I’ve always liked drawing and anything to do with Art really. I do quite a lot of painting (AltSounds notices the intricate henna-like tattoo that Alan has drawn all over his hand throughout the interview). I’ve not painted for about 3 years though because of being busy with the band.

Mark: Yeah I’m similar; I’ve always had an interest in Graphic design. Although I also have a passion for fixing things…(A few chuckles fly around the room before he elaborates) Old cars specifically! I’ve never thought about it as something I would do long-term though, it’s more of a hobby. I don’t think I’d like to do anything else but this.

Alan: I can’t even think about anything else that you would do (Looking at Steven’s bewildered expression).

Steven: I can’t…I can’t even…Ummm. It’s the only question I have nothing to say about! I write music and lyrics all day so there’s no other option for me. I don’t think I’d even exist.

AltSounds: Can’t believe I managed to stump you like that! Ok, so have you got any goals for the rest of this year?

Steven: (Perking up again) Yeah, for me now it’s about really pushing forward. We had so many delays on the album and now I just don’t want to stop. We already have the next album ready; we just need to record it. So my real hope is to have that done by the end of the year.

We want to emulate the bands that we love from the 70’s; back in a time when bands would record an album (at least) every year. In the rock world now, bands record an album and then it’s not until three years later there’s something new. Label’s want to milk everything they can out of 12 songs. Whereas in the pop world right now, Rihanna’s about to record her fourth album in four years. It’s easier for people like her because she could do a vocal part if she was here, for a track that’s being put together for her somewhere else.

So I don’t see why we can’t go on a tour, then go into a studio and then have tours booked straight after. That’s what I’d like to do. We’re so proud of our album but because it was so delayed, I think we need to catch up and get something new out. We need to be where LostAlone should be right now.

Watch 'Love Will Eat You Alive' - single out now:

AltSounds: Next up - Quickfire round!

AltSounds: Leather or denim?

Mark: Leather.

Alan: Er…lenim (Laughs)

Steven: That’s what I was gonna say! Ok, so I’ll say deather (Chuckles).

AltSounds: Cereal or toast?

Alan: Cereal. When I was in America, I went mental for cereal - I had about 10 different varieties.

Mark: Sorry, I’ve got to choose both.

Steven: Yeah, I straight out refuse to separate them. For me they’re one thing that I have every day.

AltSounds: Ok, guess I’ll have to accept that! A school Geography lesson or History lesson?

Alan: History.

Mark: Back in the day I would’ve said Geography but I’m more into History now.

Steven: I’d agree with Mark as well. I think one thing we all collectively enjoy outside of music is watching History programmes. When we were making the album I watched a program about the history of America in 42 separate 1 hour parts.

AltSounds: Woah! Ok so, Queen or The Beatles?

Steven: Queen. I absolutely adore The Beatles – I want that on record! But I have to choose Queen.

Alan and Mark: Queen.

AltSounds: Star Wars or Star Trek?

All: (Quickly) Star Wars!

Steven: Have you not noticed my trainers?! They’re limited edition Luke Skywalkers (Lifts foot up to reveal orange customized Adidas trainers). My pedal board is one-of-a-kind too – A custom made Star Wars guitar pedal board. So I’ve got an EQ pedal which is called R2-EQ and a Wah pedal called Obi-Wah Kenobi. They both look amazing. So Star Wars definitely!

If you were to ask InMe the same question (in the other dressing room) they would say Star Trek – they love it.

AltSounds: Ooh, so has there been a bit of rivalry going on this tour?

Steven: No, there’s no rivalry. Star Wars is just simply better!

You can catch LostAlone on their UK headline tour - Dates can be found HERE along with the rest of their European tour dates with InMe supporting.

Read my full review of their latest album I'm A UFO In This City HERE.

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