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Interview: Introducing... Lost in the Riots

by CoraOMalley
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on 31 January 2013 in Introducing

If you're making post-rock in a place like Watford, you're bound to stick out. That's exactly what Lost in the Riots want to do, and it turns out they're damn good at it. The band have been in steady ascent for a few years now, sharing the stage with some post-rock luminaries, and there's even more of that to come now that their debut album, the excellent 'Stranger in the Alps' is ready to be unleashed upon the world. Gareth O'Malley's been listening to it pretty solidly for the last month or so; he decided that he'd like to ask the band some questions. So emails were exchanged, and the questions therein fielded by band leader Adam Edwards. You can read what he had to say about the album, the creative process behind it, and indeed, what it's like for LITR in a town known more for its hardcore scene than anything else - as well as whet your appetite for the LP with a stream of lead single 'Sentinels'.

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Gareth O'Malley: What's it like being a post-rock band in a place such as Watford? The area isn't exactly known for bands like Lost in the Riots.

Adam Edwards: Watford has become pretty well known for producing bands such as Gallows, Sikth, Lower Than Atlantis over the last few years. I'm a fan of them all and have a real respect for how well they've done considering the non-existent music scene we have. I don't think we're done any more of a disservice than other bands in Watford because of the music we make, though I think it works to our advantage that there aren't any other bands playing this kind of music here. 

GO'M: I'm going to assume at least one of the members of the band is a fan of 'The Big Lebowski'. Am I right?

AE: "Well, that's just like, your opinion, man."

GO'M: You made this album entirely off your own backs. Again, I'll assume you had full control throughout, but then it took a year, right? Is it something you'd do again for the second album?

AE: In total it took around 8 months from start to finish. Doing it ourselves was very liberating, and I think for a lot of bands, it's the only option out there. We'd had some studio experience before when we recorded our previous release - Sinking Ships - and whilst we are all happy with how the EP turned out, we'd decided that we wanted the album to be an in-house project pretty early on. I assumed role of engineer and producer for the record, which was prompted by an impulse buy on a few bits of decent studio gear and then spending the next few months trying to absorb as much information as I could from tutorials and magazines. We started the album back in April with drum tracking at a rented studio space in Dorset, and we worked the rest of the recording around our day jobs, and a European and UK tour. The guitars and bass were recorded in my flat, then later re-amped at the studio space along with live overdubs. As for doing it again - We all learned a lot from the process and the experience you gain when doing it yourself definitely puts you in a better position for the next time round. We've never wanted to compromise on quality in any area of the band, so it was important to us that we were all happy with how the album sounded - I think we achieved that. 
 
GO'M: What was the toughest thing about creating 'Stranger in the Alps'? Was there a steep learning curve you had to deal with whilst making it?

AE: Most of the songs on the album were written over the last 2 years - and in the case of Heartfelt Wolf are much older - so we wanted to do the songs justice. We had our fair share of unexpected problems when recording - guitar cab speakers blowing and a TubeScreamer pedal picking up German radio are some of my personal highlights - but when that happens, you're forced to deal with it quickly and then in a position to account for the problems the next time around. I think one of the toughest things about mixing your own music is that you're already overly familiar with each track. It's really important to get an external pair of ears on each mix as it can offer a fresh perspective.

GO'M: I'm hearing hints of earlier And So I Watch You From Afar in certain songs on the record, which leads me to ask - what/who were you influenced by whilst writing it?

AE: Whilst it's no big secret that we are fans of ASIWYFA, we all have our own musical niches that we sit in and I think that comes across strongly in our song writing. I find it really interesting how different people interpret our music, because they will always relate something new to something they've heard before. A classic example of this was us being likened to playing "Papa Roach riffs". It's all relative.

GO'M: What's your favourite gig you've played so far?

AE: We've been lucky to play some amazing shows and for some great people in the short time we've been around. Whilst I can't call a favourite, I can tell you that Leeds, Bordeaux and Brussels have been incredibly kind to us when we've played there and we always look forward to getting back.

GO'M: There's quite an impressive post-rock scene in the UK at the moment - are there any bands you'd most like to play with?
 
AE: Anyone and everyone. There are some really great bands in the UK right now and we've been able to have share the stage with some of the best (and worst). It's actually quite difficult for us to turn down offers to play a show as it's what we feel we do best. Every gig is a gamble, but that's half the fun. 
 
GO'M: Finally, which of the songs on the album is your favourite, and why?

AE: That's a difficult one, and simply because it changes so frequently for each of us. Mood and situation have a bearing on that too - at a show, it's always satisfying to kick into an energetic and up beat song, but equally as enjoyable for me to listen to one of the more restrained tracks. What's your favourite song?

[It's 'The City Burned']

Stranger in the Alps is released next week and is up for pre-order on Bandcamp.

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