Lower Than Atlantis have just released their fifth album Safe In Sound, claiming number 8 in the chart. Following their first top ten entry the band are embarking on a tour around the UK, including a show at UEA Nick Raynes LCR on March 9th. We got in touch with lead singer Mike Duce for a chat about the album and touring.
How are you today, Mike?
“I’m pretty good thank you, I have the day off so I’ll probably go to the gym, play some guitar”
Does playing guitar become a chore once your band has effectively become your job?
“No not at all, I love it. It doesn’t feel like a chore because I’ll just start writing the next album. When it does become your job and you have a little bit of time off from tour you do sometimes, it is like turning the radio off in the car, but ultimately it’s what I love and it’s me. You know, it’s what defines me as a human being, music. So yes and no”
How does it feel to have a top ten album?
“It feels good you know, not because of the pat on the back or the validation, it’s more that we’ve been a band for ten years and over that time a bunch of our peers have broken up or peaked a couple of years ago. We’ve always been sort of skulking along doing our thing, a slow burn and it seems to have paid off and I feel like we’ve kinda paid our dues now and built our foundations, we’ve got something to stand on now. It’s just nice to know that after ten years people still fucking care, you know what I mean? Even more people than ever care”
Big influences on the new album?
“People always ask about influences, I mean we all like pop music, we all kinda grew up going to hardcore shows and rock shows and we like the greats: The Smiths, The Cure, The Police, stuff like that but I couldn’t pick anyone that we’ve been directly influenced by. In general I guess the songs are just about life. I’m very normal, sort of British working class guy so I guess it’s just relatable shit”
Are there any major themes throughout the album? Will you, for example, sit and listen to the album in years time and immediately spot certain things going on in your life?
“Yeah definitely. I think what most people do is write an arse load of songs over a couple of years and then they’ll pick the best ones, then a few experimental album tracks. There were ten songs written for the album and there are ten songs on the album, and they were all written in a couple of months which is a short space of time. So I guess it’s all about how I was feeling over the course of two or three months. It’s all kinda relatable shit like being pissed off or being sad or being in love, monetary woes all the ordinary bullshit that everyone puts up with. Also the kinda reuccuring things that come up in my life, the sort of things that go in rotation if you know what I mean.”
In 2014 you said that people looking up to you should get a better role model. Do you think this has changed at all?
“I’d say definitely, I’ve done some things I’m not proud of and I never asked anyone, sort of kids, to look up to me or whatever, we were just a shitty punk rock band from Watford playing dive bars and stuff. I don’t know, I can understand some one who was gunning for that big pop star career, they asked for that sort of thing, but I always though I haven’t.”
What’s your best story from the road?
“I can’t say mate, I’m not incriminating myself, I don’t want to go to jail”
A bit more light hearted then, favourite karaoke song?
“I always used to do The Police, ‘Message In A Bottle’ on my own but I do ‘Summer Loving’ with my girlfriend. We went on holiday with Dan Lancaster, the geezer who priduced our last two albums and the first, Bobby (Rob Damiani) and Doyle (Tom Doyle) from Don Broco. Can’t even remember where we went. Me and Bobby did ‘Mysterious Girl’ by Peter Andre and I was absolutely smashed, and I didn’t realise he was filming it all and posting it online. So I woke up in the morning and was like ‘what happened?’ So I’m going to say ‘Mysterious Girl!'”
If you could make a band of people living or dead who would be in it?
“Sting on bass and vocals, me on guitar and vocals, and Eddie from my band on drums and then Foo Fighters’ keyboard player Rami Jaffee, he’s sick. That’s my band.”
Do you have any particularly interesting instruments on the new album?
“A lot of it is programming stuff as we all do a bit of producing, yeah it’s just additional production this time. People think they want the same album four times, but they don’t, they just have a nostalgic attachment to certain albums. You’ve gotta evolve and adapt with the times if you want it to be sustainable as an artist, like look at Bowie.”
Any new artists you have your eye on?
“I love Chon, and their album Grow. It’ll change you life.”
You’ve come to Norwich a lot, when you come here with the tours there anything you will do in the town?
“Norwich has sick buskers so I’ll probably walk around and check out all the buskers.”
Lower Than Atlantis play Norwich’s LCR on March 9th: tickets.