Music Q&A:
Lanterns on the Lake

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Two years on from the critically acclaimed Until The Colours Run, and several line-up changes later, Newcastle four piece Lanterns on the Lake returned with their third full-length record Beings last week. Frontwoman Hazel Wilde chats to Big Issue North ahead of playing Manchester’s Ruby Lounge, 2 Dec and Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 3 Dec.

How has the band progressed on Beings?
I think we have progressed with each release but with Beings I think we definitely feel a lot more confident in what we are aiming to do creatively. I suppose this record is a lot darker than our previous work and we feel comfortable exploring that side of things and don’t feel too restrained in terms of worrying if other people will like it. With this record we were aiming to please ourselves.

What informs the lyrical content of the album?
Beings is about a whole range of things. It’s searching for meaning in a shallow society, it’s a feeling of frustration and wanting more from life. People have described it as political and there is an element of that in there but it’s about a whole lot of other things too. I think I’ve described it as a “booze-fuelled existential crisis” before and that probably sums it up.

Tell me about the making of the album – you worked in isolation?
Yep, we are a pretty tight-knit unit and we don’t like working in recording studios or with anyone else involved, so we tend to do everything in our rehearsal room or at home. With this record, as with the last, we were writing for a few months together and demoing ideas before starting to record the album. It can be a long-winded way of working but we find we make our best work that way. When we are working in such a closed off way we can occasionally obsess over a song or even just a small aspect of a song for days at a time. It’s not that we are super-precious about making things absolutely perfect, but it’s just that it has to have that magic thing, which can sometimes take a while to uncover.

You’ve had a few members come and go. How has that changed the band dynamic and do you feel you have your ultimate line-up now?
Yes, we are going for The Fall’s record in band members leaving! The band dynamic hasn’t dramatically changed as me, Ol and Paul started the band and are still the core songwriters. Bob our bassist has been with us for about 18 months and Angela, who plays strings with us, has been around almost the same amount of time so we were working on the new songs for this record with those guys around. It’s a really comfortable and happy dynamic and I think we are as strong live as we have ever been.

You started out with a DIY approach – have you managed to retain positives elements of that despite commercial success?
It’s not like we have the commercial success of a band like Coldplay or anything so nothing much has really changed in terms of how we work. We still like to record, mix and produce everything ourselves – in our rehearsal room and at home. We also run the day-to-day management of the band and make all the decisions on everything, from which shows we want to play to which singles we want to release. We have creative control over everything, like artwork and videos, and we tend to either do those things ourselves or work closely with friends on making those. We are also still making our own special wax-sealed EPs by hand and things like that. I suppose the only difference is that now we work with some fantastic people who help us co-ordinate things, fund the release of the album and help us get the word out about our music.

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Lanterns on the Lake

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