Since the release of ‘World Record’ in 2011, Lower Than Atlantic have slowly but surely been on the rise to get to the point they’re at now.
With three other albums under their belt, multiple tours, a top 20 charting album and recent signing to Sony, they’re not showing any signs of slowing yet.
Gigging NI’s Connor Morris recently had a conversation with frontman Mike Duce ahead of their BBC Radio One appearance and Belfast show later this month on 18th April in the Bar Sub in QUBSU, Belfast.
Next week you start your UK & Ireland tour with We Are The Ocean, PVRIS and in Ireland, Only Rivals, are you looking forward to getting back on the road?
“Yeah definitely, big time. It’s been the first time in a while, we did a club tour in the summer, a testing the water kinda thing with new songs and then we’ve done a support tour and one London show. We haven’t properly toured the album in normal sized venues, so yeah we’re really excited about it and it’s nearly sold out as well, there’s like ten tickets left for one of the shows and then the whole things sold out!”
You’re a band that seem to play Ireland a lot more frequently than most bands, do you enjoy coming back to play in Ireland?
“Yeah definitely, I mean the thing is a lot of bands don’t do it because it costs so much to get a bus over on the ferry, and even if you do it in vans it just costs so much and it’s hard to even break even. We think we’d either just break even or make a loss every time we come. But I mean it’s not really fair on people, like there’s people in Ireland that love our band as much as people everywhere else you know, so why should we not go back and play for them? I mean we enjoy playing as much as the people at shows enjoy watching. We love it.”
Last year was a pretty big year for the band, supporting A Day To Remember, getting signed with Sony and landing your highest charting album to date, how has that been?
“It’s kind of like a pat on the back, cause we’ve been a band for nearly 8 years now and it’s nice to know that we’re still on the up. You know what I mean, we haven’t plateaued and we haven’t reached a certain point and then gone down, we’re always on the up, it feels really good.”
You’re going from playing intimate venues (in Ireland at least) to playing in front of huge audiences at Slam Dunk, what sort of setting do you prefer to play in?
“We like them both for different reasons. With the smaller ones, it’s more of a laugh you know, you can have a bit of a chat with the crowd and just play some songs and just sorta hang out. I mean that’s where we kinda cut our teeth, playing pub shows and stuff, for years and years we did this, so we like those shows for that reason. With the bigger ones you get to put on more of a show, like production, Co2 and stuff like that you know, so we like them both for different reasons.”
“We have a lot of International stuff coming up but none of it’s been announced yet. We’re shooting a video on Friday because we’ve got another single coming out and maybe have another single out after that.”
Are there any up and coming bands in the UK at the minute that you’d recommend listening to?
“It’s strange you should ask, the day before yesterday I went to see a band called NGOD. I don’t think they’ve got anything out but they’re amazing, they were really good. I went with Nick Hodgson who was in Kaiser Chiefs, cause Kaiser Chiefs’ manager has taken them on. So I expect big things from them I think, they’re one to watch I’d definitely say and I think they’ll probably release a single this year.”
When recording the latest album, did you go into the studio with a set idea of “this is how I want the album to sound?”
“No, it was very much, I’ll be honest with you, it was looking like we weren’t gonna be a band anymore and we weren’t gonna fucking see it through. My job when I’m off tour is I’m a commercial songwriter, writing for like boybands and stuff. I was just writing cause that’s what I do and I dunno, we just had some bangers and thought people needed to hear them so we just put the album together. It was kinda like we had something to prove again cause by a lot of people with the album before, it had been deemed unsuccessful, being dropped from Island Records and stuff like that and it was a bum out so we kinda had something to prove and fight back again, so I reckon that contributed to the overall sound of it. We never ever think “Okay, well this album should sound like this”, we’ve never ever done that, we just like chopping and changing you know?
Even though you earlier stuff from Far Q sounds completely different to the new album, is there anything you felt like you learned from around that point in your career that’s stuck with you?
“Well I mean I still love Hardcore, I’m supposed to go and see American Nightmare soon but I’m on tour. I mean we still listen to that stuff but it’s just not what we want to play. The goal for us is that we wanna be playing music and being able to live playing music, you know what I mean and it’s a lot harder with that style of music so I guess that might have contributed to the way that we sound. We’ve never played music that we didn’t love, we just love all kinds of music. All of the music.”
Yourself and Eddy Thrower worked with 5 Seconds Of Summer last year, can you tell me a bit about what that was like?
“That was just me but Eddy played the drums on some of the stuff with me, but he plays drums with One Direction on Midnight Memories and stuff like that, Eddy’s done a lot of session work. But yeah like I said that’s kinda my job when I’m home. There’s a certain freedom as well when you’re not writing just for yourself because it’s more, I dunno, so long as it sounds fucking good it’s just, when you’re writing for yourself it’s like “Oh God, everyone’s gonna judge me”, but when someone else is using the song you feel more free.”
If you were given the opportunity to tour with any band, who would it be?
“Any band? Gotta be Foo Fighters mate. We all met Dave Grohl on a night out in Melbourne in Australia a few weeks back and we were in this bar drinking with our mates and then fucking Dave Grohl just got out of a cab and came in with Pat Smear [guitarist, Foo Fighters] and we were like “What the fuck!?”. Yeah Foo Fighters definitely, that’s on the bucket list for sure. I’d probably cry, I’m thinking about it and I think I’d cry!”
Lower than Atlantis play Bar Sub in Belfast on 18th April 2015. It’s a sold out show.