Looking for a new soundtrack to summer? UK indie rock band Lakes is offering just that with its new album, Start Again, out July 30.
The six-piece indie-rock ensemble recorded the album over the course of nine months and various lockdowns and explores themes such as mental health, addiction, break-ups and cutting out toxic friends. Don’t get us wrong— while the album does have some pretty heavy themes, the tunes also posses an airy and dreamy quality that remind one of long drives and toes in the water.
We sat down with lead singer Roberto Cappellina and vocalist, glockenspiel, keys, and percussion powerhouse Blue Jekins to dig into what Start Again is all about and get to know the band a little better.
Beyond the Stage Magazine: How long have you all been doing music? Did you always know it was what you wanted to do?
Roberto Cappellina: I basically drummed my way out of my Mum’s uterus…so yes, I always knew it was what I wanted to do! I had a drum kit when I was a kid, but we moved around a lot so I never really had a proper chance to play. My dad eventually taught me how to play guitar after years of me begging him (he used to be in a band), and I never looked back.
BTS: What is the inspiration behind “Retrograde?”
Blue Jekins: “Retrograde” is inspired by a particular experience of trying and failing pretty spectacularly to navigate an avoidant attachment, despite impassioned arguments for the cause on both sides. It’s about how confusing and frustrating it can feel to try and work together with somebody only to keep coming up against the same problems, and how sad it still is when you finally have to let it all go.
BTS: What was the process of creating Start Again like?
RC: We knew we wanted to expand our sound on the new record, so that was part of our approach from the beginning. The first album was written and recorded when it was just Matt and I, so even having a proper bass player in Charlie; writing proper bass lines instead of just playing route notes, progressed the sound massively. Also, being the only songwriter in the band before Blue joined, I was conscious of recycling old melodies, so I collaborated with Gareth, Rob, Charlie, Matt and eventually Blue when she joined, and turned their personal stories into songs. Without challenging ourselves, the album definitely wouldn’t be what it is.
BTS: What is your songwriting process generally like?
RC: I can tell you the EXACT process; Matt will write and record a piece of music and send it to me over Whatsapp. I’ll then listen and respond to the music, usually with a knee-jerk vocal melody made out of humming and the occasional word that sits right…after a while it soon becomes obvious what the song is about…so now you know…I’m a fraud.
BTS: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music?
BTS: What is one main message you’d want fans to take from your songs?
RC: I don’t think I’ve ever consciously sat and written anything with a preconception of what the listener will get from it, so with that mind, choose your own ending. I tend not to be too direct with my lyrics, so if anything, I want the listener to take what they want from the music, and interpret their own personal meaning. That unhelpful enough for you?
BTS: Who are your biggest role models in music? If so, who and how did they impact you?
RC: Because there are six of us, we have quite a broad range of influences, but the overlapping segments on the Lakes Venn diagram cover good 80’s pop (Phil Collins, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel), Midwest emo (The Appleseed Cast, American Football) and Fleetwood Mac.
BTS: Where does the name Lakes come from?
RC: Matt started writing acoustic demos back in 2016 and asked me to write some vocals for them, but rather than calling them ‘Demo 1, Demo 2 etc.’, he named them all after Lakes. I think the first two he sent me were ‘Michigan’ and ‘Geneva’. Pretty wild, right?
BTS: Tell me about your favorite moment on stage?
RC: The final night of our first tour back in 2019 we played a show in Brighton and it was the first time we realized we had an actual fan base outside of our mates and family – it was packed! There was so much love in that room…it was literally oozing out of the doors and windows.
BTS: What’s next/on deck for you?
RC: Our new album ‘Start Again’ is out July 30th, then we hit the road with our mates ‘I Feel Fine’ in September, with another UK tour to follow in December. Matt has actually started sending Blue and I Whatsapp demos for the next record, so I imagine album 3 will start to come together next year, and hopefully we can squeeze in a US tour at some point too!