“I’d love to make a record with Trent Reznor…” – hmv.com talks to letlive.…
California soul punks Letlive made one of 2013’s outstanding albums with the raw, jagged and incredibly powerful The Blackest Beautiful. They returned to the UK over the weekend to play Slam Dunk Festival and we sat down with frontman Jason Butler to talk about their plans for their next record…
How has this European trek been so far?
“It began with me seeing my mother, she took a train down for Glasgow to see me, so that was wonderful. The crowds have been so cool, it’s been very inspiring.”
How have the songs from The Blackest Beautiful been going down live?
“Awesome, it’s so validating and flattering to hear people singing along and knowing these songs. It’s been so fantastic.”
After your shows at Slam Dunk, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
“After this, we go home for 10 days and then we fly back for Download, after that we do a bunch of festivals across mainland Europe and then we fly back home and we start writing out new record. Then we do Reading and Leeds and take indefinite time off to write our next record, to write a record that’s worth people’s time.”
Have you made a start?
“I’ve written a few songs and I’ve got a phone full of guitar riffs and drums and vocals. I think we’ve got something to get us started.”
You said you’ll need indefinite time off, does that mean you need a lot of time to write? Or could you get it done quickly?
“I think it’s all subjective, it could be quick, it could take years. You shouldn’t put a time limit on songwriting, I know some bands work better under pressure, I personally do not. The creative process will take some time to come to fruition, I think as a band we’ve earned that time too.”
How would you like the record to move on? Would you like to make a different record?
“I want to write a bigger record. We took a very raw approach last time and there’s been a lot of wincing at how raw the production is, but that was how the record should have been presented. It was a cool launchpad to make a bigger record next time round, with more production. Also I think the people who listen to Letlive will expect something different, we’re a forward thinking band, not just socially, ideologically, but sonically as well.”
Do you have any producers in mind?
“Yeah, I’ve been throwing around ideas with my girlfriend, who is also an artist, and one name we come back to is Charlie Andrews, who did the Alt-J Record, his organic approach to some very obscure sounds really suits us. Also Garth Richardson, he did Biffy Clyro and Rage Against The Machine, I love those records. Also Emile Haynie, he did The Neighborhood and Eminem, all that shit, and that’s my shit. But most of all, Trent Reznor, I’d love to make a record with Trent Reznor.”
What kind of album will your next record be lyrically? Are you in a different place now?
“Yeah, a very different place. The last record was me writing about a personal quest that I thought was going to end with a void in the department of romance. My ability to be vulnerable was limited, I couldn’t do it. Now, I’ve found someone who has completely reshaped that, they’ve dispelled all those notions and I’m happy. I’m also going to be a subversive individual, it’s in my DNA, but I’m excited to talk about the success I’ve seen, not just in romance, but in life. I’m not in such a dark place anymore.”
It’ll be interesting to hear a Letlive record with happy lyrics…
“I definitely don’t like to be too cheesy, but I’m ready, I’m ready to talk about it, I’m happier in my life, in my conversation, I always want to be authentic and this is where I’m at now.”
Are you experimenting with more instruments?
“So many more instruments, I’ve taken on some myself, I grew up playing instruments, I went to band class just to get near more instruments, I want more percussion for sure on there.”
Finally, what records have you loved so far this year and what are you looking forward to hearing?
“Woodkid, such a great record, a brilliant album with such great thematics, I loved that. For later this year, my buddies in The Ghost Inside have been writing, always got to big up them. And Frank Ocean, he’s one of my top five artists from the last 10 years, I want to hear what he does next so much. Also Chance The Rapper, I cannot wait to see what he comes back with.”
Letlive’s new album The Blackest Beautiful is available from hmv stores now and can be previewed by clicking on the icon on the right-hand side of the page.