Gordon JL Auld: Been well! Nice to be back at touring and playing music related to a new record.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single?
G: The first single from the new album is Run. It kind of epitomizes all the newer styles and songwriting on our new record. We wanted to have the new single be punchy and show some of the new sound we’re working on. This record is sort of a new direction for us sonically but still has some of the old in it too. Run is probably the most different kind of song compared to the older Lowlands songs. It’s growly and I feel like, strangely relaxed and groovy. At least that’s how I feel when I sing it. Completely enveloped by it. Like I’m in another place in time.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
G: It was written late at night in a barn in a bit of a trance. That’s all I’ll say.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
G: The video for Run is out! Shot by Colin Harrinton, it turned out beautiful. I usually hate music videos, especially where the band is playing in them but this video manages to capture the ideas in the song really well and not be a ego-stroking light show at the same time. That was important. My ego is big enough already. Colin and I wanted to create a short narrative suggestion but not try and tell a whole store in four minutes. The song is kind of the same thing. It hints and pieces of a story but is only suggestive the listener or viewer has to fill in the gaps with their own imagination or life experiences. There are some beautiful shots in there and some really sublime yet uncomfortable spots as well. Love how it turned out. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR7DOpx7RyI
The single comes off your new album Erie – what’s the story behind the title?
G: Erie after the lake, we’re doing a record for every great lake in Ontario. This is the second installment in the record project.
How was the recording and writing process? What was it like to work with Gavin Gardiner and how did that relationship develop?
G: It was a learning experience! It always is. As far as the writing goes having the band members as they are now has been a huge change. Originally Abe Del Bel Belluz (lead guitar) and I would write a song, play it with whatever lineup the band had at that time and record it just laying down the song and seeing what it needed after that. Now we are more of a team. Beside Abe, Matt Monoogian (pedal steel) and Joseph Gallo Jr (Bass) are both involved in the writing process. We work on arranging songs together and then at the end of the day they are the ones in the studio laying that stuff down. These guys are such talented musicians and songwriters and awesome to work with. The new record Eire was produced by Gavin Gardiner of the Wooden Sky. he also was the engineer on the record so a lot of the new sound is because of his input. He was a great guy to work with. So chill and easy-going yet he challenged a lot of things that I thought made Lowlands sound like Lowlands. That’s one of the reasons we were able to change and grow our sound in this recording and why I’m so excited to continue this record project. In the end I think he made me realize that it wasn’t a guitar sound or drum beat that made the band unique. It was Love the whole time man.
How much did he get to influence the album this time?
G: Gavin did a great job of stepping up when something wasn’t working and trying something new, whether that was coming in and playing something himself, changing an arrangement or just an amp sound or something. At the same time he was great at just encouraging me when things were clicking to just keep going. I think someone who’s listened to our last record Huron and Erie would see how Gavin influenced this record. Harmonica especially.
Would this album follow the same theme as your previous record?
G: I think this album follows theme in that it’s part of the same project but from a writing point of view both records are collections of songs that follow different themes and feeling, represent different points in time, different relationships. The record doesn’t follow them, it’s just the way these songs come out, the way they are recorded. I don’t feel like I have that kind of control over how we make music.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
G: It’s hard to say, it could be a life experience, often a dream, a story I hear, thinking of a friend or lover or just being in an altered state of mind where the song gets written in a strange and appealing way. Again I like the idea of not getting so specific in narratives because it closes doors in people’s minds. If you need to use your own ideas or experiences to complete a narrative it brings the listener that much closer to the true feeling and meaning of the song. When you create your own meaning for a song either by putting your own ideas into it or by associating it with a certain time or moment you become part of it and take ownership over it. It’s a beautiful thing baby!
Any plans to hit the road?
G: We’re currently on tour through the fall mostly in southern Ontario with the Wooken Sky and with Groenland. So far it has been amazing!
What else is happening next in Lowlands’ world?
G: We’re working on a new record part three in the great lakes record project. So we’re looking to get back in the studio when we’re done this tour and work on some new stuff!