In The Middle with Lake Komo
Currently in the middle of their UK tour for debut EP Ritual, Lake Komo look to have a whirlwind of a year ahead of them. After three successful years, the band has gone grom strength to strength as they continue to make a name for themselves in a genre that echoes Bon Iver, featuring some old-school Foals dynamics.
We spoke with lead vocalist, Jay Nudd, who started to write and play music while coming to the end of his time at University in Lancaster, moving on to open mic nights. Just a couple of months in, Jay hit it off with drummer Maxwell, who knew local musicians Jess (keyboards) and Pete (bass). Within just weeks they had formed Lake Komo, “the band that you pretty much hear today”.
So where was the turning point was for this band? When did they begin to get more recognition, as they were thrown into this incredible fantasy of a year? Jay puts it down to a national Battle Of The Bands in Birmingham, that they were invited to just eight weeks into their journey as a band. Winning this, for him, was a huge turning point as it “really validated [his] decision to start this journey”, encouraging the band to continue pushing to do big things in music.
On Facebook, the band state that their genre is ‘action/adventure’… A clever metaphor of their lives as a busy, up and coming band? That they are filled with energy and enthusiasm whilst they play? That their music takes you on a personal journey, or adventure, of your own? All of these things apply, but to them it isn’t a definition for them or their music, just a small touch to allow the listener to decide who Lake Komo are for themselves. “I guess I just don’t like pigeonholing music.” Jay tells me. That said, the band take influences from artists along the lines of Bruce Hornsby, Kanye West, and John Martyn, and validate the assumption that Bon Iver has played a part.
Listening to their EP, it is clear that this band have a sound that is separate from many other up and coming bands at the minute. From gossamer synth, to spacey harmonies, alongside the melodic riffs of guitar, Lake Komo are truly something new. “Different” is their aim, as Jay doesn’t see the point in “making music that has been done before (and probably better)”. Whilst embracing the artists they love, they attempt to find their own sound, as the band layers these dream-like musical elements to create something powerful and fresh. The artwork for the EP is as original and creative as them, all created by Pete’s mum.
Jay states that ‘Tides’ is “probably the most accomplished” by means of songwriting, but ‘Thinktank’ is the “most important lyrically”. Whilst ‘Thinktank’ is a largely upbeat track, the lyrics echo a melancholy vibe, creating an emotionally satisfying vibe for the band and listener alike. “I guess I write about experiences and situations that have had a profound affect on me in some way or another, and the writing process is a way in which I deal with how I feel.” Jay reveals, with his heart on his sleeve, validating his sincere and impassioned lyrics.
In 2015 alone Lake Komo played Kendall Calling and Bestival, yet their most memorable performing experience is still their first Sofar Sounds gig:
“It was held in this beautiful bookshop in Manchester and our set was completely stripped back, which really tested the strength of the songs as opposed to the delivery of them. This resulted in us creating a really special connection with the audience in a way which we had never done before.”
After having already played seven of their twelve date long tour (which kicked off at the end of January), the band describe it as a “warm fuzzy blur”. Experiencing new places, meeting new people, playing songs that have had mounds of effort put into them, and all with good friends. Jay lovingly reflects on the tour: “Sure you miss out on some sleep but…I couldn’t recommend it any more!”
2016 is looking to be one hell of a year for this band. A band that have made a name for themselves on the music scene in a particularly short amount of time compared to many top artists of the minute. They plan to “enjoy the moment, and make the best music we possibly can”, as Jay adds, “bit of a contrived answer but it’s the truth!” After performing at some of the most popular festivals in the country, featuring on Burberry’s acoustic sessions in October of last year, followed by a number of headline shows to kick off 2016, and even a mention in Best of the Week by Apple Music, it seems that this band are already well on their way towards their dreams.
These wide-eyed newcomers are grabbing their spot in the foreground of British music with both hands this year, a spot they have made themselves with an abundance of both diversity and quality.
photo: Rob Blackham