Energetic outfit The Late Aprils stopped by MoggBlog to have a good natter about new single ‘Clouds’, why performing live is their favourite and their usual writing processes.
To anyone new to your music, name 3 words that best describe your sound.
Soaring. Anthemic. Riff-tastic. We hope making up words is OK!
What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?
Each song we’ve written has been a bit different and there’s no method set in stone. In general, we all collaborate on writing, so we usually start with just a riff, or even a single lyric, before sharing the idea with the group and opening it up to feedback. Before lockdown that might mean messing around with an intro in the studio until we landed on an arrangement everyone was really into, but more recently we’ve been sharing quick sound clips on Whatsapp to get an instant reaction from the group. We’ll then start recording bits and pieces individually and growing the song from there. With our new single Clouds, everything started from a bass riff Louee played to the others on his phone, which was then worked on to form the skeleton of the track. At any one time we’ve got dozens of these musical seeds on the shelf, waiting to be turned into a future single.
Do you prefer performing live or recording, and why?
Definitely performing live, it’s the reason we all wanted to be in a band and there’s no buzz like the one you get coming off stage. The irony is that without lockdown, we may never have released any music at all. We’d probably have carried on practicing in the studio and sending off live demos to local pubs to get gigs. Being stuck at home encouraged us to rope in a producer (a mate who we still pay in crates of beer) and to finally get some of the music we’d been writing tracked and mixed. Luckily, this led to a promoter hearing our stuff on the radio and booking us for live venues much bigger than the ones we were contacting before, particularly the O2 Academy Islington. So at least in that sense, lockdown has helped launch the band.
What’s in store for you for the rest of the year?
It’s looking busy! The day after our new single Clouds comes out on June 11 th , we’ve got our first proper comeback gig at the Amersham Arms in South London. We’re headlining a full day mini-festival for indie bands, which we’re really excited about. That one is sold out, but there are still a few tickets left for our next big performance at the O2 Academy Islington on July 9th. Not only is that going to be a very cool experience to play, but fingers-crossed it’ll be the first event without social distancing, so we look forward to seeing a crowd at its sweaty best. We’ve then got a pretty busy schedule in August, including one or two festivals that we can’t announce yet, before we’ll get down to working on our first album release later in the year.
Tell MoggBlog viewers about your latest release! What’s the inspiration behind that?
Like a lot of our music, the writing process for Clouds started with a simple but catchy riff which became the main anchor for the song. We thought the combination of the opening bassline with the reverberating swell of the guitar had an ethereal sound to it, so landed on the name Clouds before we’d even talked about the words. Our lead singer Mike then used the title as a broad theme to help conjure up his powerful lyrics – which we all loved when he first performed them for us.
Getting the song to a place we wanted for the release didn’t happen quickly. While we always
enjoyed playing Clouds in live sessions, the first mix of the song we listened to sounded way too clean and classic for us. We ended up going back to the drawing board once or twice, landing on something much darker and up-to-date, closer to our core sound. With a slightly dirtier guitar riff over the first verse, building up to a soaring last chorus and a massive vocal on the outro, it gives the song a quality of moving from somewhere dark and insular to somewhere uninhibited and full of energy. This is basically what the song is about, moving from some kind of dark place towards a confident, personal freedom.
For this reason, we think the song is a fitting anthem for the lifting of lockdown restrictions. So many people have felt trapped, both mentally and physically, that we hope this song’s message will resonate. Clouds is about letting go of someone or something that’s holding you back or having a negative impact on your life, and the massive feeling of relief you get when it stops dragging you down. It’s about knowing your demons can’t touch you anymore and the sky is the limit.