"I don’t really choose the songs, they choose me..." - hmv.com talks to The Lathums
After an incredible year couple of years that have seen The Lathums emerge from almost nowhere and defy the global pandemic by creating the kind of buzz not seen around a British guitar band since the arrival of Arctic Monkeys, the Wigan four-piece finally get to unleash their keenly-anticipated debut album this week.
Despite having their chances of touring hampered by lockdowns over the last year, the band have still managed to build a following thanks to a string of great songs, an eye-catching performance on Later... with Jools Holland and a live-streamed gig at the iconic Blackpool Tower, eventually finding themselves named on the BBC's Sound of 2021 list among the UK's most hotly-tipped artists.
Produced by The Coral's James Skelly and Chris Taylor and recorded at the pair's storied Parr Street studios in Liverpool, their debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be makes its arrival in stores this Friday (September 24) and ahead of its release we spoke to frontman Alex Alex Moore, guitarist Scott Concepcion and drummer Ryan Durrans about the album, their touring plans, and why they're sitting on a mountain of new material...
The last 18 months or so have been frustrating for a lot of bands and artists, but you seem to have had quite a year in spite of it - How are you all feeling now that the debut album is finally here this week?
Alex: "Me personally, I’m just excited for it to be out, and quite relieved to be honest!"
How long have you had the album finished and ready to go?
Ryan: "It’s been about a year, I think."
Alex: "Has it been a year already?! It’s flown by, that. I think that’s testament to how long we’ve been sat on it for."
Has it been frustrating or do you feel like the pandemic has worked to your advantage in some ways?
Alex: "I mean, it would have been better if all that had never happened, but it did, and we kind of made the best of that time as we could, really. It did give us time to slow down and prepare for stuff and more time to record the album. But I think you’ve just got to, as Bear Grylls says, adapt, survive, overcome."
What was the last song on the album to get finished?
Alex: "Which was the last song we recorded? I can’t remember…"
Ryan: "We did a few, because we carried on recording a few that didn’t make it onto the album, but the last one we recorded that did was ‘Redemption’, I think."
Scott: "No, I think it was ‘How Beautiful…’, we did that later."
Ryan: "Oh yeah, good call…"
Alex: "Ah, yeah that went on after didn’t it? Good call, Scotty."
You’ve been working with James Skelly from the Coral on your debut album, when did he enter the picture?
Alex: "We worked with him on our EP, before the album, because he works quite closely with Modern Sky and knows Alfie, our manager, the brothers and that. But yeah, I think it was just a good person for us to work with really, wasn’t it? He kind of suits our vibe, and he gets us."
What were he and Chris able to bring to the table from a musical perspective?
Alex: "Experience, and lots of it, to be fair. They just really know what they’re doing, basically."
Ryan: "They just kind of knew what a song needed to be before it was even recorded, and knew what it was going to sound like when it was finished, before we’d even played a chord."
Have they gotten involved with the writing or arrangement side of things?
Alex: “I tend to do all of that myself really, I write them myself, I don’t need any help with that. But I had no idea how to record songs or produce them or anything. It was more about getting the sound that we wanted, that’s part of the game I’m not really familiar with yet. Well, I’m not very versed in it.
“But kind of on a personal level, they gave advice on things to expect, how to take things in your stride, that there’s certain things you can’t control.”
What sort of album is this from a lyrical point of view?
Alex: "It’s just about life in general, things I see. I always say that I don’t really choose the songs, they choose me."
You’ve just been out in the road with Blossoms, they must have been your first live shows in a while – how was it being back?
Alex: "It was dead good, yeah, it was brilliant."
Ryan: "It was proper good just to see loads of people in a room and that."
Have you been able to road test any new stuff fans haven’t heard yet?
Ryan: "We’ve played one song that is properly brand new, we only recorded it a few weeks ago, no-one’s ever heard that before, so we’ve playing that for the past few gigs and people seem to love it. They’re buzzing off it. Considering that the gigs we’ve done so far haven’t really been our crowds, the audiences have all been amazing. I think we’ve managed to steal quite a few fans off Blossoms, hopefully.”
You’re pretty much coming straight off the back of the Blossoms support and into your own tour, is there anywhere you’re really looking forward to playing?
Scott: "Really looking forward to the Barrowlands in Glasgow."
Ryan: "Victoria Warehouse as well, it’s absolutely huge there, it’ll be mega."
Have you been able to plan any tour dates further afield yet?
Alex: "We’re not really capable of planning stuff like that ourselves! We’ve got people who are planning that, I think it will get sorted but the world’s just crazy at the moment, innit?"
Ryan: "I think people are still a bit wary of booking things that far off, but we’ve got some shows with Blossoms in Europe though, there’s three or four dates in Germany, Netherlands and some others."
Scott: "We haven’t gone any further than Ireland and Scotland yet."
So if you’ve had the album ready for a while, have you started thinking about a second one yet?
Alex: "We’ve already wrote it all, pal."
Scott: "And the next one."
Are you sitting on quite a bit of material then?
Alex: "Yeah, we are, because we had so much going on we’d just built up this backlog of songs, and Jim, our tour manager, he came in three or four times during lockdown and we just recorded them all onto his computer, loads of demos. The last time we checked there was 49 songs or something, at that’s only the ones we got down. There’s way more than that, so we’re in good stead."
Are you hoping to get another album out quite quickly?
Alex: "I suppose it has to be a sort of mutual thing doesn’t it, really? I’m sure we’d release an album every week if we could, but there’s a lot of politics involved. We just write the songs and play them."
How Beautiful Life Can Be is available in hmv stores from Friday September 24 - you can also find it here in our online store.