Supergroups can be a bit hit and miss, but Lowlives (formed of ex-members of The Defiled, No Devotion, and The Ataris), can definitely be filed in the ‘hit’ category. They’ve been getting a lot of love from the likes of BBC Radio 1, and have nabbed a slot on The Pit stage at Reading & Leeds Festival. Not bad for a band that’s only released two songs.
We caught up with frontman Lee Villain and drummer Luke Johnson backstage at the Reading date of the festival to find out how this has all happened, their soon-to-be-released EP, and a debut album that’s done and ready for 2019.
DP!: So, this is your first Reading appearance as Lowlives. How does it feel and what can we expect from you today?
LV: It feels fantastic! I came to this festival every year as a kid from the age of 9, so this has been number one on the bucket list since then. We can’t wait.
LJ: I can’t actually believe that this is our twentieth gig as a band today, so the fact that we’re playing Reading & Leeds kind of blows my mind! We’re fucking so grateful for this opportunity. It’s pretty crazy. The whole reason we released an EP was because of opportunities like this. We had an album ready but we weren’t ready to release it, but because we were getting shows and cool tours and stuff, we had to get a couple of songs out there.
DP!: You have all been in bands before, so how did Lowlives come about?
LV: Well, me and Luke are obviously both English men living in America. We kind of were friends through social media. He messaged me one day and was like “How’s the band (The Defiled) going?”, and I was like “…the band’s dead.” So, yeah, we just kind of hit it off. Then I said “Oh, actually, we need a drummer for a new band”, so I sent him some songs and he sent me some of his songs, we went down the pub, and magic happened.
LJ: Someone asked me “Did you all meet in a pub?”, and I was like… I wish we did, but it was actually on Instagram, haha! Then we went to the pub. It was called the Dark Room. It was pretty goth in there.
DP!: Would it be fair to say that you’re sort of starting back at the beginning?
LJ: Absolutely. Honestly, I thought I was out of music. I thought I was done. I’ve been in many bands, and I had a child, and got a real job. I was working for a tech company called Headspace, which is actually a British company, and I thought that was it for me. That I’d done my fifteen, twenty years of music, but then I realised it’s in you. You can’t ever pacify it. I ended up really wanting to be back in a band. I was just kind of writing music and then we connected on Instagram, and it really did feel like starting over for me. I did wonder if any of the old connections that we’d had will remember us, but they do, and that’s why we’re here. People remembered us from our old bands and remembered we aren’t arseholes. People were more than happy to help us out, so it’s been really awesome.
DP!: You’ve managed to create quite a big impact already with just two songs, tell us about those.
LV: We have a song called ‘Burn Forever’. I guess that’s our single at the moment.
LJ: We recorded that in February last year, and then we ended up recording the album with the same guy in November.
LV: The last time that we came over we were supposed to do a tour with The Used, but that got cancelled. We flew from LA to London and did all our rehearsing, and then we were on the way to Stockholm when we found out the tour was cancelled, so that was a fun one. It turned out to be good though, because we ended up pulling together a tour out of it.
LJ: Everything was funded out of our own pockets because we weren’t with a label yet, so we basically had two choices: go home, or try and push through it. We knew people we had worked with before, so we sent some emails, and somehow we managed to go from a cancelled eight show tour to twelve shows back-to-back. It worked out in our favour, because there was a bit of hype going once we got back to London. Daniel P. Carter played us on BBC Radio 1, and gave us a live session which we did at Maida Vale. So, when we got to London, we had 120 people at The Black Heart. It was wicked.
DP!: So, when will we hear more music from you guys?
LJ: I would drop it right now if we could!
LV: The EP is coming out on the September 21st.
LJ: The album is in the bag as well. We said when we started this band that we wanted to work with people who are like-minded, and we’ve chatted to some labels and we’ve got some people down to see us today. So, hopefully we’ll find a home for the album and get it out to you all next year.
DP!: What else do you guys have coming up?
LJ: We’re playing with Hell Or High Water back in LA, we’ve got the rescheduled shows with The Used after this, and we’re looking for some more shows October time, but that could be here or back in the States. We’ve just got our ears to the ground at the moment.
DP!: Lastly, who are you guys looking to catch at the festival today?
LV: Milk Teeth, we’re playing on the same stage as them. The Bronx, Black Foxxes… there’s a load of good stuff on our stage actually. We went and watched Dinosaur Pile-Up the other day. That was wicked. I’m going to try and catch Sleep Token today as well. It depends though, because I don’t have a raincoat, so it’ll probably all be tent based.
The band’s debut EP, ‘Burn Forever’, is out on September 21st 2018.