Antonia Landi

In interview: Steven Battelle (LostAlone)

In Entertainment, Music on April 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Exciting times are ahead for LostAlone

Having already toured with the likes of My Chemical Romance and Enter Shikari, LostAlone have an impressive list of friends. The reason for their success? The answer is simple: Their music. Having recently changed a third of their line-up and being on the verge of releasing a follow-up to their first album, exciting times are ahead for LostAlone. I had a chance to catch up with singer Steven before their show in Glasgow and talk about everything from perfect eyesight to massive egos.

 

To people that don’t know you yet, what would you describe your music as?

That’s always a tough one. I would normally just say ‘a rockband’ and I know that in this day and age people want to put you in a compartment and say ‘you’re this’ or ‘you’re that’ but personally, I would just say that we’re in the tradition of a rockband. Melodic songs, that rock.

 

I find your sound reminds me a lot of older rock bands from the 70s and 80s – would you say your inspiration comes more from the past than the present?

Yeah, personally I don’t really listen to any modern rock, I never have. There’ll be the odd record that comes through and I’m like ‚oh that’s great, and then touring; you know, if you’re on tour with a band then you end up getting into their music, and I’ve always liked listening to the bands that we tour with. But when I say old music it’s not even old rock; I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, mainly pop and probably not things people expect, and I do think that that’s why we sound like we do. Obviously my dad played me Zeppelin and Sabbath and stuff like that but I really personally love all that kind of pop music as well. And if it’s a good song, I can respect it whatever kind of genre it’s in. I think that’s what makes the sound of the band.

 

How would you describe the dynamic in the band? Did it change a lot when [bassist] Alan joined?

Yeah, it changed a lot. Personally, it became an a lot more positive band, and I would never slag anybody else off, but if someone ends up not in your band, then there’s a reason. Alan was just so enthusiastic about LostAlone and the main thing he brought to the band for me, apart from just being a great guy, was a desire to sing. When we get to the new album my idea is huge vocals, and we can really do that now, because Alan loves to sing, he’s not been made to, so the three of us really sing a lot now.

 

What do you miss most when you go on tour?

I think you’re asking me at the wrong time really! On the My Chem[ical Romance] tour I just made the decision that I don’t miss anything. I absolutely love being a citizen of the world, so I kind of find myself more missing the road when we’re back at home than missing home when I’m on the road.

 

Your lyrics contain some of the most imaginative phrases I’ve ever heard in a rock song – what is your relationship with words?

Thank you! It’s my kind of favourite relationship, really. Equally to music, I absolutely love writing words and the feeling you get when something pops into your head that feels quite unique. That tends to happen to me with no effort. If I was to sit down and try, which I do sometimes, it’s stuff that never gets used, whereas everything that ends up on an album or on songs I really like and care about is stuff that just kind of pops out of nowhere. Generally what happens is that one phrase will come from somewhere and that will really fire off the rest of the song very fast. I can sometimes spend a five-minute extreme period where it’s all done. Or then I’ll have some times where, in my notebooks, the same is started so many times and then we finally get there. But I can’t like bands, even if there’s the best melody, I just can’t like it if I don’t like the lyrics. If it’s something I think is lazy or just, you know, cringeworthy, I’ll just think ‚why?’ why would you just- you know, you had the chance. And I’m not saying that simple words can’t be absolutely amazing. There’s a song on the new record and a song on the first record, which is Predators In A Maze, where I think that’s quite straightforward lyrics, it’s just like you know exactly what I’m saying. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I’m not saying you have to dress everything in a metaphor but, it’s when people write things that I just find you know… ‘shining in the night’ and ‘I love the girl’. I just think there’s so many better ways of saying things.

 

Why should people listen to LostAlone? What do you have to say?

I personally think people should listen to us purely because we’re an honest band that is doing this for the right reason. I’m not saying a lot of bands aren’t doing that, but that’s my reason to listen to us. We’re quite a unique band and when we started the band I never dreamt that we would be, because I think that’s a really hard thing to get, but from what everyone tells us, you know, fans and reviews, everybody always seems to say there’s something very unique about us, whether that’s the combination of the lyrics, the kind of heaviness combined with the real kind of poppy, catchy harmonies. It’s kind of like the Beach Boys crossed with Sabbath, things like that, and I know people have tried that before, but we haven’t actually tried it, we just kind of ended up like that, because of the way I like to hear music.

 

Apart from music, what other art forms inspire you?

Well, I don’t know if there’s an art form. I mean I’ve been to see art and I like it, but the thing that inspires me the most is natural art, which is just being out in the wilderness. I really like going to places I’ve never been. Even just like on the last tour, the drive to Scandinavia, when you’re driving from Denmark to Sweden and there’s the ocean and it’s a very different kind of ocean to what you’re used to, it’s all ice and stuff. The same when I was in Switzerland, my favourite place, the mountains there are absolutely breathtaking and things like that can just send me into a kind of musical state straight away where I just have to write stuff. Sometimes it’s rubbish but you know when you’re just looking at the views and stuff and you see it, it’s amazing.

 

Do you have any hidden talents?

No! My only talent is writing songs, so everybody knows about that. I mean, at a stretch I’ve got extremely good eyesight, for things in the distance. I’m just trying to think of things. I can see things, like on a sign in the distance, when everybody else can’t see it. Yeah, so I can see things at a very long distance.

 

What makes you angry?

People’s failure to be good at what they’re supposed to be doing. You find that a lot in this industry, people get paid loads of money to be rubbish. I expect the best of myself, and of our band, and I expect the best of everyone working for us, and we get the best out of everyone, cause everyone knows the standard. We’re not like a partying band, you know. We know when to party, there’s definitely a time for that. But we’re not the kind of band that turns up and starts drinking and gets wasted. All the crew are friends and stuff but they all know what their job is and they do it and then we all kind of get into the zone.

 

Ultimately, why did you become a musician?

There’s not any reason, it’s not something I think I had a choice in. I’ve been asked this a lot of times, and I don’t remember not feeling it. It’s just something that I’ve always known I have to do, even when I was not good, I thought I was amazing. I think I had a massive ego when I was about 11. I would just tell anyone ‚I’m gonna be massive, it’s gonna be amazing’.

 

When will the new album be released?

I can’t tell you! You know what, that’s the question I wish I could tell you more than anything. We would’ve personally had it out already, but it’s the nature of the industry at the moment, it’s all really boring stuff to be honest. It’s on a business level, way above anything to do with our band and it’s affecting a lot of bands on the major label that we’re on. Everything’s just been put back. It just means that bands like us that aren’t massive yet have all just been told ‘you have to wait’.

 

Do you have any upcoming shows apart from the My Passion tour? Any plans to play some festivals this summer?

Basically there’s nothing that I can tell you about, actually. The plan is to be doing everything, everywhere. But I have to wait on confirming the release date of the album. We’re not allowed to do anything else until we do. It’s a real difficult situation, the album’s ready; it’s like 99.9% ready. It’s just the way it works. You don’t go and do these things unless the album’s come out, so we’re ready and we’re hoping but it’s in other people’s hands. As I kind of mentioned earlier, people need to do their jobs.

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