Mike Duce – Lower Than Atlantis (The VH Interview)

lta-mag

This interview first appeared in issue 8 of VultureHound Magazine – click here to read the mag


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It’s been just over a year since Lower Than Atlantis released their self-titled album, which has been followed up with headline tours and festival sets across the UK. The band are now “back” with a new ‘Black Edition’ re-issue of the album which features a selection of new tracks and covers, plus a tour to support it. We caught up with front-man Mike Duce as he was half way through a packet of Pringles…

The re-release of the self titled album is out, what was the decision behind going down a re-release route? I know there is new music on there, was it a case of wanting to get that out sooner rather than later?

What it was, when we released the album originally iTunes wanted some bonus stuff, Amazon wanted some bonus stuff so there were three versions, the original, iTunes and Amazon. The annoying thing there is never like “that’s a b-side that’ll do” we put 100% effort into everything and it was a shame because we felt like a lot of those tracks got lost. After the album came out we did a couple of good Live Lounge’s and we love covering songs it’s something we’ve always done so it was kind of like, let’s put everything in one place. So if you want everything from this campaign you’ve got it there neatly packaged.

In respect to the covers, you’ve got four new ones on the album with you all choosing a different one. Which one did you choose, and what was the reasoning behind that?

I chose ‘Strong’ by Robbie Williams because it’s got interesting chord choices, it just sounded like an LTA song anyway and lyrically; junk food in bed, being pissed, shagging birds… it just hit home I thought.

Did you do it and approach Robbie, because he’s tweeted about it praising it. Did you have to approach him first, or did you record it and ask ”can we put it on our album?”

No, with covers you are allowed to cover any song as long as you don’t change the structure of it. I don’t know how he found out about it, I guess people were tweeting him or something but that was a cool little nod. We also had an email from Vanessa Carlton’s manager from back in the day saying it was sick as well (the Vanessa Carlton cover) which was pretty cool.

The first time I saw you was supporting A Day To Remember, and the only thing I’d heard from you was the self titled album which is a little outside of my tastes,  but it surprised me how heavy you were live.

We are a lot different live, if you wanna hear a band sound like the CD, just go and listen to the CD. Things are always a bit different, you need a bit of balls live. We always aim for want of a better word, a more metal sound live we just think it hits a lot harder and sounds a lot better.

Do you think this latest album is a little bit softer?

Yeah, of course it is. I mean I was chatting to some other guy a minute ago and there are some songs on the album that I didn’t necessarily have my own band in mind when I was writing them. We LTA’d them up a bit and they serve their purpose, we’d never release anything we weren’t happy with.

The album, although you’ve been around for 7 or 8 years, feels like your breakthrough album. Do you think that is down to softening the sound a little, or was it just down to the fact you’d paid your dues and it was time regardless?

Maybe, I think possibly it’s a bit of both. It’s definitely a lot more commercially accessible but there was no body saying “we’ve sold out” with this album because like you said we’ve been a band for so long. When the album was being written we’d recently been dropped from our label, we didn’t have a manager, there was nobody, we did everything on our own. We wrote it for ourselves, and people seemed to like it.


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It must have been gratifying that you did do it all yourselves, and then a label picked it up. Because there is always that fear/worry of a label getting involved and interfering. So you put the album together, and then presented it to a label?

That’s exactly what happened, it was like “this is it, this is the album” and they were like “sounds fucking great, let’s go”. We had something to prove after the whole ‘Island situation’, it’s easier to say we were dropped; although we weren’t really- they just didn’t want to release any records yet let us keep all the money we’d been paid to make one, so we were laughing, built a studio with it and recorded an album. It was like we had something prove again at that time with the label, the manager jumping ship, my girlfriend binned me, everything went horribly horribly wrong and we were like “nah, fuck you we will not be told this is the end of our band, we’re going to go do it” and we did, we showed everyone.

…Phoenix from the ashes type of moment. I believe there have been hints at you returning to the studio, is there anything set in place? This is potentially the last headline tour on this cycle, and then there’s festival season. Have you got songs written? What’s the future looking like?

There is absolutely nothing mate, there are no plans at all. We don’t really know what we’re doing. We’ve had fun with this, so we’re just going to take some time off and see what happens. Not really thought about it really. I’ve been writing some pretty heavy stuff off the back of the success of ‘Hear We Go’ and ‘Get Over It’ it seems like the heavier LTA songs are the better received ones, so we’ll see what happens. I’m always writing in the band, outside the band, that’s what I do it’s the one thing I love about music is creating it, so we’ll see what happens.

You are about to go out on tour again in the UK, you’ve had a bit of a venue upgrade from earlier in the year. Was it always the plan to do a smaller tour and then jump up?

No, we don’t really think like that. We started this campaign back to basics in clubs doing like 200 capacity shows, we could have done bigger ones but we don’t really care. There was a fear we wouldn’t sell out this Roundhouse show and there is literally a handful of tickets left and it’s not until Christmas, it’ll be cool because they are venues we’ve played before but we’ve never headlined before so it’s just ticking off that box I suppose.

I know when we saw you in Nottingham earlier in the year and your brought Pvris out with you, the show was sold out and literally everyone was already in the room when they played. That must be nice as a thing of giving back to other bands.

We always pick bands that we think people should check out, or want to check out. I can’t stand it when I go to a show and all the pubs around the venue are completely full, and then people go “fuck, they’re on in five minutes” and go just to watch the headline show. We want to make it an evening of entertainment and fun, like a big party. We’ve got Brawlers doing half the tour, and Black Foxes doing the other half, then we got Moose Blood and As It Is rotating as main support each night. We could have just brought one new band along to open the tour, but we thought we’d give a couple the opportunity to play to some people.

Lower Than Atlantis are out on tour throughout December, and ‘Lower Than Atlantis: Black Edition’ is out now.


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