The Lathums See How Beautiful Life Can Be
There must be something in the water in Manchester. I can’t think of another part of the world that is responsible for one of the deepest pockets of some of the most legendary bands of all time. It was the home to monumental hitmakers like Bee Gees, Oasis and Take That, post punk purveyors Joy Division, New Order and The Smiths and still influential to this day artists like Stone Roses and The Buzzcocks. That’s a lot of special for such a small place. We can now add The Lathums to this esteemed list. The Lathums haven’t been a band for a long time but they’ve already made their mark on the UK Music Scene. Their debut album, How Beautiful Life Can Be, came out last September and ended up at the number 1 spot on the top of the British Music Charts. It’s easy to see why.
The music the band makes is definitely filtered through Manchester’s nostalgic past, it’s swimming in layer upon layer of Johnny Marr-esque guitar riff and has the grandiosity and emotionality of all the bands listed above. The record is a compelling statement for such a young act. Now, with pandemic restrictions lifted the band, formed of singer/songwriter and guitarist Alex Moore, lead guitarist Scott Concepcion, bassist Johnny Cunliffe, and drummer Ryan Durrans, is off on the road in America for the first time. When we catch up with them in Austin for SXSW, Moore explains their humble origins, the synthesis of their debut album and how they are coping with the huge changes in their lives.
“It’s amazing over here,” explains Alex Moore, The Lathum’s soft spoken frontman on the phone from his hotel room in Texas. “We played our first gig last night. It was loads of fun. We’ve actually been here for a couple of days, first time in America and let me tell you it is a whole other world over here. It’s big!” The excitement in Moore’s voice is palpable but there is also a level headedness to everything he says. Before meeting the rest of the band in music school in 2018, Moore explains how he actually discovered a love of writing music a little later in life than most who are drawn to this industry. “I’m a late bloomer I suppose,” he says in his emotive Mancurian accent. “I have always had a connection to music, with singing my own little songs to myself as a young lad and making little songs up for myself but I only really delved into other peoples music when I was around 16, maybe 17. I enjoyed listening to other people’s things but I don’t want to be influenced by anything. I want these songs to come directly from me.”
As a bit of a self described “hermit”, Moore says he now spends much of his time home alone, with his guitar, getting songs ready to show the band. “I usually just sit at home and write. I’m a bit of a hermit,” he says with a laugh,”and stay at home and tinker and when I think I’m on to something I’ll show it to the band and we’ll play and work on it and really build it up from there” Moore and the group do things that a lot of the magic they managed to capture on How Beautiful Life Can Be, didn’t come out of their rehearsal space but when they take their songs into the studio itself. “I think, personally, that a song really comes to life in the studio. You need that space to craft and hone it and then it becomes “itself” when it gets recorded. We’ve had a lot of help from a man called John Kettle, he’s like our musical guru. We don’t really know the technical sides of recording, you know besides our instruments and he helped shape the sound we wanted to capture through the studio. The vibe comes from there.” Letting the songs they write take shape while being put to tape must lead to some surprises along the way that neither the songwriters nor band probably saw coming. “To be honest all the songs surprise me,” Moore exclaims with a chuckle. “I think it’s because I bring them in and have only really heard them on an acoustic guitar and then we start recording and all these new parts and ideas start to form. It really brings so much freshness and excitement to everything. It’s not just about the production because the song needs to have emotion behind it. I think the studio is just a really great place to present your music instead of really forcing it before you even go in.”
Now with the band on tour finally, we discuss the experience of having a huge roomful of people singing the songs, that you banged out on an acoustic guitar, then discovered in the studio, right back at you. “It’s one of the few things in life that you can’t really describe,” he says with awe in his voice. “There’s no words to describe it because you dream of stuff like that when you’re younger, like becoming a footballer or a rock star or something. It is overwhelming. That is actually one word I often use just around the fact that other human beings are listening to words that I wrote down in my bedroom on a piece of paper.” It’s an interesting thing to see evolve over time. That initial spark of inspiration that can turn into something that becomes part of a stranger’s memories down the road. “Every crowd you play for takes these songs you’ve made and makes them their own. They become part of every listener’s experience after it gets recorded. If they find something to love about it, they make it their own and it becomes the soundtrack to their own experiences, and that’s an amazing thing.
Order How Beautiful Life Can Be by The Lathums HERE
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