Hard-working UK rockers Lower than Atlantis are no strangers to re-invention. Their latest album “Changing Tune” is just another new departure in their constantly fluctuating sound, which has oscillated from hardcore punk to heavy metal, hitting plenty of points in between.
Their touring schedule is equally hectic, with the band scarcely having been off the road since they came together in Watford in 2007. Their current tour (playfully titled the “fuck it to the man tour”) kicks off in Ireland, with shows in Belfast and Dublin on April 13 and 14.
Guitarist Ben Sansom spoke to Goldenplec to explain what Irish audiences can look forward to from a Lower than Atlantis show. “We always like coming to Ireland,” he explained. “A lot of bands leave it out, but we always liked coming ever since we’ve started. I think that’s paid off. A lot of bands in our position would probably find themselves playing the Academy 2, whereas we’re playing the Academy 1.”
Lower than Atlantis have been compared to Biffy Clyro in terms of their passion for constant touring, something which has secured them a truly committed fan base. For Sansom, this level of touring is only natural. “In a rock band you kind of have to” tour that much, he explained, “because obviously you don’t get as much TV and radio exposure as pop bands/artists get. So the only way to connect with fans is to keep touring.”
Lower than Atlantis have also spent a lot of time playing as a support act to larger bands. Far from being a problem, Sansom says that Lower than Atlantis love “being the underdog in a way and playing to that sort of crowd”. Only recently they supported American punk rockers All Time Low on a UK tour, and they have some festival slots coming up this summer. “But I can’t say which ones at the moment,” says Sansom. “None of them have been announced yet.”
This wide range of live slots may have something to do with the fact that Lower than Atlantis have recently signed a record deal with Island Records, moving away from their independent roots. Despite releasing their previous albums through an independent label, most of their previous material was self-funded. “We were leading the way ourselves,” says Sansom, allowing the band to “set how much we wanted to spend. But at the same time we were really poor because we were spending all the bands money on making the record and releasing it.”
Despite being so busy, Lower than Atlantis have also found the time to plan for the future. They are already making plans for a follow-up to “Changing Tune”. “I think it’s going to be very different to what we’re doing now,” says Sansom, still passionate for experimentation.
“What’s the point in making the same record over and over again?” Sansom asks. For example the general sound of the Lower than Atlantis owes a lot to “old bands like The Police, The Cure and The Smiths.” But then “you get a few albums that one of us will go, ‘have you heard that new record, it’s so good,’ and then we’ll all listen to it. And that comes from all different genres, not just rock. For instance that new Bruno Mars album, we were all like, ‘oh my God, that’s amazing’.”
Sansom’s musical influences “might not be anything like our band, but we all listen to all different genres and take inspiration from there.” The problem with listening to one genre of music all the time is that “you just lose inspiration for ideas. There are certain ideas you can take from pop music and then integrate into your music. It might end up sounding completely different to where you got that idea from, because you put your own footprint on it, and different instrumentation, but it’ll sound original and it’ll sound interesting. That’s better sort of thinking in an industry where anybody can get a hold of any sort of music at any time via social networks and YouTube, so you have to think outside the box to remain contemporary and modern.”
And when can we expect the next album? “We’re going to start work on it at the end of the year,” says Sansom. “Hopefully that will be out in 2014 at some point.”