In The Middle with Lake Komo

Lake Komo have certainly made a name for themselves over the past 3 years. Originally hailing from Lancaster, the quartet have relocated to Manchester and are already making waves in the Northern music scene. 2016 has seen them go from strength to strength with their latest single ‘Milwaukee’ earning a place on the BBC Radio 1 playlist, a summer packed with festival appearances and an extensive tour scheduled for October. Their keenly anticipated debut album is being produced by Cam Blackwood and will be released on Columbia records next year. Having already mustered a legion of fans in the North West, the next few weeks will see Lake Komo showcase their brand of lyrically driven electo-pop around the country. I chatted to frontman Jay Nudd ahead of their show at Lending Room on the 19th October.

What has been the highlight of your year?

I’ve just come back from Berlin! I went to a festival there last weekend where I saw The National, Damien Rice, Bon Iver etc. Have you heard of Sofar Sounds? Artists play in small rooms and they just play acoustically. All of the acts use that idea – they all play in really tiny rooms. That was amazing too!

How are you feeling about the upcoming tour?

I’m feeling really good! I’ve never been on a tour this long. I think I’ve got three days off in three weeks. It’ll be fun! I like touring, I like playing shows.

Tell me a bit about your album – is it a similar sound to your Ritual EP?

I would say that it’s a bit more folky. We’re trying to experiment at the moment. We’ve recorded about 10 songs and I want to probably record another 10. Then we’ll whittle it down to about 11 songs. It’ll sound a little bit bigger than the EP!

And when will that be released?

If all goes well, it will be next summer. That’s the plan but the plan is always changing. You’ve got to adapt to the situation – it could go quicker than expected or slower than expected. But hopefully it will be out next summer!

You recently relocated from Lancaster to Manchester – would you say that this has affected you as a band?

It hasn’t affected us musically. The music that we make is always going to be down to the music that we listen to and what inspires us. Where you are living does play a part but I don’t think that it particularly changes our sound. It allows us to have a more active lifestyle in terms of being out and about. Lancaster is very small. I’m not actually from there but I went to Lancaster University for 3 years and I lived there for about 5 years altogether. I do like it but that was never what I was going to do. I was never going to live in a small city. I always wanted to get into bigger ponds and Manchester seemed like the easiest option. We didn’t want to just move down to London! We thought that was too big of a step and Manchester is a nice halfway house.

The video for your latest single ‘Milwaukee’ saw you go to America – how was that for you?

That was amazing. That was another highlight of the year! I can’t pick between that and Berlin. I was in America for 4 weeks and we spent a week shooting the video. We got a car and drove up from LA, driving up Big Sur to San Francisco. Amazing. Then I just spent the rest of the time writing and flying around America! I found some inspiration and met new people.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
The new Frank Ocean album! Blake Mills, who is an American songwriter. Obviously the new Bon Iver record; he’s a big influence for me and that came out last week. Chance The Rapper’s new album is really good. Colouring Book – that’s been one of my favourite albums of the year. A mixture of things!

What has been your most memorable gig so far?

Hull, believe it or not! We’ve played there about 3 times and they’ve always gone bonkers. It’s always been absolutely heaving. So Hull is apparently a good place to go! We played a show recently in a church in Lancaster which was amazing. We had all day to set that up and make sure that it sounded right. We also played Bestival! It’s the kind of festival that I would go to so it was a nice privilege to play there.

What would you say to encourage people to come to one of your shows? What is a Lake Komo gig like?

What we’re trying to do is write emotional songs and try and weave them into the soundscapes. I like the idea of pop songs but we also want them to have a bit of depth. I guess we try and do both.

Your track ‘Manners’ in particular is quite heavily autotuned – what made you decide to use auto tune?

I started writing songs when I was 22. When I was 18, I was listening to the Kanye West album 808s & Heartbreak and that had a big effect on me. Obviously Bon Iver uses it a lot as well but it was actually Kanye that did it for me. That album was very inspiring to listen to. I wasn’t really a Kanye fan before that point but that album changed my perception. So I’ve had it on my mind ever since I was 18. I’m 25 now so that’s 7 years! I’ve always experimented with it and I’ll be experimenting with it going forward as well.

And finally, how would you describe your sound to somebody who has never heard of Lake Komo before?

Emotionally driven folk songs that are wrapped around electronic/pop arrangements and different soundscapes. That’s us!

Lucy Milburn

Image: EUPH

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