We spoke to Declan Hart, the bassist in Lower Than Atlantis, about the band’s new album ‘Safe in Sound’ and their upcoming UK/EU tour.
Congratulations on the release of ‘Safe in Sound’, how have the fans reacted to the new album?
D: Really well actually! Honestly, I don’t think we’ve had this kind of reaction from an album before, it’s been quite mind-blowing really, we genuinely didn’t expect it to be this well received!
The album has also been well received by critics, including Kerrang! who called it “a brave, bold and ambitious album, and the finest of [your] career so far”, how does it feel to be getting so many favourable reviews by respected music magazines?
D: It’s awesome, anyone giving you praise is a good thing. It’s nice to finally see both fans and critics championing our band, because before there were times where the fans liked it but the critics weren’t as keen. We don’t write music for critics though, that’d be crazy… we write for ourselves and our fans, but it’s nice to see everyone embracing it.
Did you feel a sense of relief after releasing ‘Safe in Sound’? Since it was your first album since your self-titled one released in 2014…
D: It feels like a massive weight off our shoulders. That first week of the album’s release was potentially one of the most stressful weeks of my entire life to date, we were just trying to do everything we could to get that Top 10 record and we managed to do it. Funny story actually, the day we found out whether the record had reached the Top 10 on the album charts, Eddy and I were driving in his car to the studio to rehearse and his car broke down, so we were just stood at the side of the motorway in the rain waiting to find out!
You’re about to hit the road for your biggest UK and European tour to date, which cities in particular are you looking forward to playing?
D: Without a doubt, London. We’re playing Brixton Academy, it’s such an iconic venue, and the thought of us playing there gives me chills down my spine. Every time I think that we’re headlining that venue, it’s just a mental thought. One of the first CDs I ever owned was one that my dad gave me, it was Faith No More: Live at Brixton and I thought “Imagine if I could play that venue one day” and now we’re actually going to.
When you’re on the road do you tend to live a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and party after shows or do you prefer to just chill out in the tour bus?
D: We used to say “Yeah man, let’s go out and get wasted every night!” when we were younger, but we’re professional musicians now. We still have fun and we’ll go out when we can, but we want to put on the best show we possibly can for our fans who’ve payed for a ticket with their hard-earned money.
One of my friends, Euan, is a huge fan of yours and when I told him I’d be interviewing you, he wanted to me to ask you if there are any songs in particular from ‘Safe in Sound’ that you’re most excited to play live?
D: I’d say my favourite to play live at the moment, because it’s really the only one we’ve played live so far, is ‘Had Enough’. I really enjoy playing that song live, but I can’t wait to play a few more off the album. I don’t want to give away the set list for the tour, obviously we’re going to play the singles but we also want to play some tracks from the new album. Not too many though, because we realise that people want to hear the hits as well.
He also wanted to know if you have anything special planned to celebrate the fact that you’ve been a band for 10 years?
D: To be honest… No! The band formed 10 years ago, but it’s only in the last 5 years or so that things have started ‘happening’ for our band. When we started, it wasn’t so serious, it took a long time for us to get serious about doing this. Although, I’d say this whole tour and album cycle is really a celebration of that.
Looking back on that time, what advice would you give to your younger selves when you started Lower Than Atlantis?
D: I was thinking about this recently… At times, I’ve thought that we should have done stuff differently, but now I think that we wouldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t learnt from our mistakes. You only really learn through making mistakes. It doesn’t have to be music, the same applies to anything in life. And if you don’t take the leap of faith and just do it, you’ll never know. And if you fail, that only makes you stronger, because you know that you at least tried and you know to do something differently next time.
You’ve had some pretty big career highlights so far, but what would you say has been the biggest?
D: With everything that’s happening at the moment with the new album, every day there seems to be something new that’s amazing to me. I think Brixton will be the highlight of our career so far though.
You played the Main Stage at Leeds Festival last summer, and I saw that you had such a huge crowd. How was it for you performing on such a legendary stage with a crowd of that size?
D: Seeing as we went away for most of 2016, Reading and Leeds felt like a bit of a comeback and the start of the whole lead up to this new album. It was mad to see that all those people were still there, caring about our band, despite taking time out to make the album. In fact, more people cared than before we took a break!
Another band who’ve recently done the same are You Me At Six, who you supported in Europe back in November, I was wondering if you’re friends with them personally and have they inspired you in any way?
D: Yeah, they’ve always been really good to us. In 2011, they took us on a tour along with Deaf Havana as the main support, and that was the first time we ever got to play Brixton Academy. We owe them a lot, they gave us a platform and introduced us to their fan-base. They’re really nice guys, I don’t have a bad word to say about them.
And finally, on a bit of a random note, if you could be a cocktail, what would you be and why?
D: I’d probably be a Long Island Iced Tea… They have a bit of everything and when you drink them, you end up on the floor!