Date: August 3rd, 2012
Venue: Hevy Festival, Kent
Interviewer: Zach Redrup
Format: Written / Audio
Since their hardcore humble beginnings, Lower Than Atlantis have seen their fanbase grow at an incredible rate as their sound diverted through a gritty grunge rock and currently cruising comfortably in something far more pop-rock/pop-punk. Now signed to a major record label and set to release a new album in a few months, we spoke to guitarist Ben Sansom and bassist Dec Hart before their set at Hevy Festival to talk about the new record, playing at a mainly hardcore festival and more:
DP!: So here we are at Hevy, how are you guys feeling about your set later on?
Ben: It should be good. Well, I mean, I hope it’s good. It’s obviously changed a lot since last year when we were here. It’s got a lot heavier in terms of the bill along with the layout. It’s a lot more open.
Dec: Yeah, the line-up is more catered to the heavy metal crowd.
Ben: Yeah, it should be fun though.
DP!: Does it feel a bit daunting? Obviously you guys are a lot more melodic aside a lot of the other bands here.
Ben: Well, when everyone’s had a bit of a drink and wants to have a bit of a sing-a-long, there’s us. So maybe it’s good that we’re a bit lighter.
DP!: Something for the crowd to chill out a bit to.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, I’ve seen a few LTA shirts out there and I still think it’ll be a good show.
Dec: We’re a sick moshing band. Everyone will be moshing out. Guys will be like “I’ve been moshing all day, my moshing shorts are all drenched in sweat. [laughs]
Ben: They’ll be all moshed out.
DP!: Have you guys been moshing out today?
Dec: Nah, I left my mosh shorts back at home.
DP!: All moshed out from last year I guess?
Dec: Yeah. I’ve basically just been scoping around, having a look what’s here. I literally just walked to the camp site and met some friends. The view over there is mental, have you seen it?
Dec: It’s literally just fields everywhere. Everyone else is just walking around so drunk. I was like “Mate, have a look at that view. It’s amazing”.
Ben: What I’ve learnt about this festival is that, you turn up at like 1:00pm and every person that I saw is like “I’m wasted”. By 11:00pm everyone is gonna be in bed. People are gonna peak very early on the first day of the festival and that is the one thing you’ve gotta learn not to do. You can’t peak too early.
DP!: So tomorrow and Sunday they’re all just gonna be, well, fucked.
Ben: Nah, they’ll be alright, because they’ll just get up late because everyone will start late. But today, because everyone’s fresh they start at like 12:00pm.
Dec: That’s it then. People are peaking now, and it’s like 6:00pm. The heat doesn’t help either, y’know? Beer, water. Beer, water.
DP!: There’s at least another 5 hours of bands to go. They’re not even half way through the day.
Ben: No, that’s true isn’t it? I said to them, they’ll be dead by 8:00pm.
Dec: Or, tactical chunder, a cheeky bit of food and then get back on it.
DP!: Is that your technique?
Dec: Yeah. Nah, I can’t do that. If I’m sick from drinking, that’s it. I’m in bed. That’s it.
DP!: Game over.
DP!: So what’s your ‘drink of choice’ at a festival?
Ben: Definitely a gin and tonic, but I do like a cold beer when it’s hot. Gin and tonic is my normal drink though. It’s really refreshing I think and you don’t feel horrible in the morning, y’know?
Dec: For me, you can’t go wrong with a nice cold Corona.
DP!: With a lime slice in it?
Dec: Yeah, you’ve got to have a lime in it. I don’t really drink before we play, but I have luke one drink maybe half an hour before we go on. So I do a nice strong gin and juice. You know, like a tropical fruit mix. If there’s bits and it’s proper fruity, you feel like you’re being healthy but you’re actually getting drunk.
DP!: You played with Blink-182 the other week, how did it feel playing with one of the biggest pop-punk bands in the world?
Ben: It was a good laugh. It was a shame they couldn’t do the last show with Mark being ill, but apart from that it was amazing. Really good shows.
DP!: How did you find the reception with their fans?
Ben: It’s hard, because I think a lot of people are like “I don’t care about the support, I just wanna see Blink and then get off”.
Dec: Especially with the shows we played being their intimate shows. They’d done their arena tour already, and like Brixton capacity is 5000 and Manchester is like 3500. For them that’s quite a small show, but that’s 5000 fans that wanna see Blink. If we played like a 100 capacity room with what was just LTA fans with support bands, they’re not gonna get as good of a reception as us because it’s such a small and intimate gig. But, we did it to pick up fans and they’re like one of our favourite bands.
Ben: Yeah, it was an honour to play them. It’s like Mike [Duce, frontman] said on stage, like “This is the reason I’m here. I’m playing Tom Delonge’s guitar right now.”
DP!: You’ve got your new album ‘Changing Tune’ coming out soon, are you happy to be finally getting it out there?
Ben: Yeah, it’s been a while. We recorded it in April.
Dec: It’s kind of gradual with us releasing one single and then the next single is coming out later on in the year before the whole album comes out. So, there’s not long now before everyone starts properly hearing it. The first single’s video is out and it’s already had like as many views on YouTube as the previous single that came out 6 months ago in a matter of weeks. So, clearly people are liking it.
DP!: You signed to a major label for this record, how has that transition been? I know you guys started on Thirty Days Of Night, then A Wolf At Your Door Records and now you’re on Island.
Ben: It’s evidence of good hard work really, isn’t it? Nothing comes over night.
Dec: But even now we’re kind of a DIY ethic band. Even now they don’t do everything for us, we still have to okay everything and then put little bits of ideas in here and there. It’s not like “we’re on major label, where we sit in our major labels and do nothing, smoking cigars”.
Ben: Things have changed, like financially they will back the band. But like, we still have 100% input into the releases.
DP!: In comparison to your old days; obviously now you’re a lot bigger and the sound has changed. There’s a lot of bands here playing hardcore music like you used to. Do you ever miss playing hardcore or the scene?
Ben: I think the only thing with that is like, there’s a lot of passion in the scene and everything but you’re so limited to what you can actually do.
Dec: Yeah. I think a lot of bands like that, it’s quite elitist as a genre of music, so if you branch out too much people are “oh, they’re fucking sell outs”. That’s like, we’re people who don’t just like one type of music. There’s some punk bands I love, but there’s also some pop bands that I love too. If you’re gonna think like that, you’re an idiot.
DP!: You released a video for your new single ‘Love Someone Else’ a little while ago, where you’re all in an American styled diner. How did you find the shoot for that?
Ben: It was a good laugh really. We didn’t really do much, did we?
Dec: Yeah, it was mainly just a bunch of actors.
Ben: It was pretty easy, we had to have cold burgers and chips though and had to make out that they tasted really lovely.
DP!: That’s the only acting that you needed to do then?
Ben: Yeah. They were like “Have a bite of your burger. Have a chip” and in my head I was like “Oh no, this is horrible” and I was pretending to love it. When the actual food came out, which was the same that we were eating but actually warm, I was like “I don’t want this anymore”.
DP!: What else have you got planned for the rest of the year, except of course the actual album release and headline tour?
Dec: The headline tour starts September 30th until October 14th. We’re going to Ireland on the back of the UK dates. Then there should be some possible support tours, but it’s all in the works at the moment. But it’s all gonna be good.
DP!: Aside from all that, is there anything else you’d like to add to share with the readers?
Ben: Hmm, I’m not sure really.
Dec: Don’t let anybody tell you what to do.
Ben: Have a good laugh.
You can also read our review of the band’s festival performance that day by clicking here.
Written by Zach Redrup
Interview by Zach Redrup
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.