INTERVIEW: Shapeshifting tropical LONGLIGHT

Pic by Westenberg

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Lucas: It’s been a tough year! But we are luckily seeing things taking a very positive turn. Seeing live music return has been a joy and given us a lot of hope.
Jo: Hello, thank you for having us. As Lucas said it has been an extremely emotional year, mentally challenging yet productive all the same. I lost my father in January, though thankfully my band mates helped me through that period.  We also finished a record and began a new one and I’m excited for the future but still a little apprehensive.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Alara”? 

Jo: Like many of the songs it started as a country tune that was pushed in varying directions. I wrote the chorus first, it’s very simple: ‘if you need me, I’ll be here’.
I was playing with the idea of needing help, some people don’t offer it they’re just providing it, they are there for you. Like my mum, hence the line ‘ you wont ever go hungry’ also in the chorus. I’m really excited to play this one live and dance around.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Jo: An ex best friend, my mother, a tinder match. But centrally, the cereal my mum gave me and Lucas when we were recording, ALARA.. It is banging, especially with soya milk maybe they’ll give us a lifetime supply huh.

How was the recording and writing process?

Lucas: Our process is pretty all over the place! We finished writing the song during a studio residency at the infamous Buffalo studios in East London. Joe had a slow, Prince like demo that he showed to the multi talented Aidan and me late at around 3 am. They sat around the piano and I recorded a rough version, which we showed our producer the next morning. He immediately suggested doing it double time and we all jumped on it. We added drums, bass, synth, vocals and harp, and by the end of the day we were all jumping around dancing in the control room. We knew we had something special.

And then we completely pulled it apart! Which is something we tend to do. There are at least three versions of Alara that may or may not ever see the light of day. We explore the many shapes a song can be, each of us trying to pull the song in the direction we believe it should be. Conflict and compromise and trust in each other eventually lead us to the end result, but that can take some time. I am a trained sound engineer and I also produce other artists, and Danny, Jo and I play several instruments, as well as having a fantastic band contributing to the tapestry. So there’s often many ideas floating around,.

Jo : It would be good to share those three versions in time, I loved the journey, I’m excited to build on this experience too, which we have done already in the next record which is nearly finished

What was it like to work with Danny Allin and how did that relationship develop?

Lucas: Danny has been the single biggest influence in our careers so far. He saw Jo playing at Ronnie Scott’s and offered to help us record a track that never got released. After that he took on a bigger role, from engineering to producing the band and in the process completely shaping our sonic identity, from a classic guitar band into something way richer. The palette he brought spanned influences from Kendrick Lamar to The Ronnettes, from Punk to Electronica, which will become more apparent with each release. Basically there are no rules, as long as it sounds good. But he also pushed us to become a much better version of ourselves, making bolder choices, writing better parts and in general not being afraid.

Jo: Through clashes and mashes, harmony and time we have truly found someone in Danny that lets us express ourselves to the max, yet pushes us beyond the comfort zone, discovering new ways to play music and new ways to be expressive. It’s been incredible, I just always want to start something new, and I have a lot of new songs, so my goal is to focus on the present and learn to enjoy and acknowledge what I have created with the guys.

…I am buzzing for our new Christmas song though hehe

How much did he get to influence the song?

Lucas: Loads. He took it into a more electronic place, whilst encouraging me to write that melodic guitar line when I was very stuck. But ours is a very collaborative process, and everyone’s print is clear in there. We see Danny as being our personal George Martin, minus the suit and plus a punk DIY attitude!

What role does London play in your music?

Jo: its nightlife, spontaneity and ruthlessness have shaped our personalities. I’m not living in the city at the moment but I work here a lot. I used to love rocking up to random shows on any night, that freedom to see live music is a privilege I won’t forget and one I and many others miss dearly, particularly nights at Spiritual bar in Camden. A place I honed my craft and messed up loads and had dramas but a place that is built on music, unlike any other in London. I love it there and I love the owner Rafa, he has been like a father to me as I have grown up.

What else is happening next in LONGLIGHT’s world?

Lucas: We are preparing the live show, which is very exciting. We have really missed being onstage together and with our band so that’s taking up a lot of our time.  We are also collaborating with other artists, and as soon as we finish the second record we will be looking to gig as much as possible.

Jo:  Apart from our festival slot at 110 Above we are plotting shows in Devon, as well as returning to our home Spiritual Bar and playing some warm up secret Sofar shows. Loads in the pipeline!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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