By Kieran Webber
Relocating from Lancaster to Manchester last year, Lake Komo have been steadily building a growing fanbase in the North West. 2015 saw them supporting the likes of Jack Garratt, Boxed In, Hidden Charms, and Eaves, as well as festival appearances at Liverpool Sound City and Y Not festival.
As a band they have grown and progressed from their humble acoustic beginnings. Their recent EP, ‘Ritual’ (out now on Columbia), showcases expansive, bold arrangements; lush electronic soundscapes that act as an impressive backdrop for their emotionally driven songs and soulful vocals which instantly resonate with audiences.
We caught up with Jay (Vocals & Guitar) to find out more about the band and what makes them tick.
So how did you guys meet and at what point did you all decide to play as a band?
It was about 3 years ago now – I was finishing my final year at uni in Lancaster when I decided to start writing and playing songs to see how far I could take it as a profession. A couple of months into the process I was at an open mic night which Maxwell (our drummer) was also at. We hit it off straight away and he already knew Jess & Pete as local musicians and within a matter of weeks we formed the band and are pretty much what you hear today.
You recently moved from Lancaster to Manchester what was the reason behind the move and are you happy you did?
I think we all thought we had reached a point where we wanted to try living somewhere different. New challenges and experiences are always something we look for and we felt that moving to a new city would be a good change of scenery for us. Manchester is known for it’s strong music/art scenes and it’s been really nice to get amongst it all since we’ve moved here. Besides, i’m a big Man Utd fan so of course it was the right decision!
What are your personal influences when it comes to your music?
The big influences for me are Kanye West, Frightened Rabbit, Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie & John Mayer.
Do you share similar influences or does it vary? How does this effect your music?
Between the 4 of us we definitely go across the spectrum – Jess listens to alot of Jamie xx & Einaudi, Pete is a big John Martyn & Anais Mitchell fan, Maxwell is into Sean Carey & Radiohead.. I actually listen to a lot of Dr Dre & Jon Hopkins! In terms of acts that are a through line between us all I’d say Kanye, Bon Iver & Death Cab.
“Manchester is known for it’s strong music/art scenes and it’s been really nice to get amongst it all since we’ve moved here. Besides, i’m a big Man Utd fan so of course it was the right decision!”
I read in an interview with ‘The Visitor’ that the excitement before a show is “The best bit” how would you explain that feeling and why is it the best bit?
Performing live is probably my favourite part of being in a band. Apart from the adrenaline rush you get I also think it’s really cool that you can emotionally connect with a crowd of people that you don’t even know through a song that you’ve written.
Do you have any more memorable shows, if so what are they?
Recently we’ve been playing quite a few Sofar Sounds shows. We love these shows in particular as they have a completely different vibe from anything we’ve done before, resulting in a much stronger connection with the audience. They’re usually held in peoples living rooms and are completely acoustic and stripped back so it really tests the strength of the songs you’re playing, rather than the way it is delivered.
When you write your music is it collectively or is one of you the main writer?
I tend to come up with the skeleton of the song (the melody, lyrics and chords) and then I’ll take it to the other guys and we build it up from there with other ideas.
Is your music fictional stories or are they based on your experiences and emotions?
For me, the most important aspect of any music is that it conveys emotion. With that being said, I tend to write about experiences or situations that have affected me in some way or another and I guess the song at the end is part of the process of how I deal with it.
What are your opinions on the recent vinyl boom and why do you think as an audio format is has risen in popularity again?
Well I’ve just bought a new turntable so that might go some way to answering your question! I really enjoy listening to vinyl as it makes the process of consuming music a much more immersive experience for me. It’s a more old fashioned way of looking at it but my dad brought me up on albums as opposed to singles and I feel that a complete body of work from an artist is more important to listen to than just their biggest hit. To be bit nerdy about it I prefer the sound of it too, less compression!
“For me, the most important aspect of any music is that it conveys emotion. With that being said, I tend to write about experiences or situations that have affected me in some way or another and I guess the song at the end is part of the process of how I deal with it”
If you could explain Lake Komo in 5 words what would they be?
Northern kids making emotional music.
2015 saw some very good releases what were your top 5 of last year (albums)?
Dr Dre – Compton
Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
Tame Impala – Currents
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
Grimes – Art Angels
What can we expect from Lake Komo in the future?
You’ll have to wait and see.