2015 Artist Survey: Lanterns on the Lake

Paul Gregory, Oliver Ketteringham, Hazel Wilde, Bob Allan, and Angela Chan on Star Wars, Gun Control, and the Apocalypse

Feb 02, 2016 Photography by Ian West Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, CHVRCHES, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, How to Dress Well, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.

Here are some answers from Paul Gregory, Oliver Ketteringham, Hazel Wilde, Bob Allan, and Angela Chan of Lanterns on the Lake. British quartet released their third album, Beings, on Bella Union last November.

Top 10 Albums of 2015

All: Would you believe that between us we haven't really listened to anything released in 2015? We can't believe that either...but turns out it's true...?!

What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point? 

Paul Gregory and Oliver Ketteringham: Highlight so far has been Beings coming out, and seeing it finally out there in the world. We spent a long time making this record and it's very close to our hearts. We are two dates into the first tour of Beings and it's been such a blast to play the songs live. Low point: trying to make ends meet whilst waiting for the album to come out. Various zero hours contracts and grimy call centers taking the place of songwriting and recording. 

What are your hopes and plans for 2016?

Paul: We are playing a hometown show at the Gateshead Sage with The Royal North Sinfonia in February 2016. Playing with the orchestra is something we have always dreamt of doing and to see it realized is quite unreal. There is talk of us going to SXSW and maybe doing some U.S. shows around that too in 2016, so that's our hope right now

With the launch of TIDAL and Apple Music in 2015, there are more streaming music options, but the same issues of adequate artist compensation persist. What are your current thoughts on streaming and which service would you most like to have your music on?

Paul and Oliver: Streaming is extremely important for music noweverybody has access to more music than ever before, and it's mobile without the need to synch MP3 players/iPods etc. The service these sites provide is pretty amazing for fans and the artists. We have met a lot of people who found us on Spotify, for instance, who have come to see us play directly because of that. That, to us, is a beautiful thing. I use Apple Music every day, and before that I used Deezer; it's changed the way I listen to music (in a good way). But on the other side, the artist compensation, that really has to change, it absolutely has to. If it doesn't, the future for indie bands (like us, for instance) is uncertain. The ratio is skewed, indie artists are reaching over a million plays and even then the returns are so low it's barely noticeable. That is not right. Whilst creative fulfillment is a wonderful thing and a great motivator for music makers, there needs to be some kind of financial recompense for the creators, and not just the companies that provide or have a hand in a listening platform. It's no secret that somebody is making a lot of money out of streaming, but it's not the indie labels and it's not the artists. 

What are your thoughts on Friday being the new global release day for albums? Is it helping or hurting album sales?

Oliver: Don't know too much about it but if an album is good it will still sell regardless of the day of the week it's released.

Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?

Hazel Wilde: I think you can get good pop music and bad pop music just like you can get good indie music and bad indie music. I wouldn't know what is in the Top 40, to be honest, though. 

What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?

Oliver: With Donald Trump appearing to be a genuine contender it's very difficult to see it as anything other than some kind of satirical spoof TV drama about a U.S. Presidential race.

Paul: Bernie Sanders is quite refreshing. It draws parallels to our own [British Labour Party Leader] Jeremy Corbyn. 

Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift's 1989 (and then Father John Misty covered Adams covering Swift). If you were to cover another artist's album in its entirety, which would you pick and why?

Hazel: I'd love to do the whole of Definitely Maybe by Oasis. I've thought about that a few times. 

Have you ever been fired from a job (be it a day job or musical one)? Why were you fired?

Paul: Yesa call center job in NewcastleI was rubbish at it and touring in a band didn't quite fit in with their holiday allowance. All very amicable, but still a good old-fashioned firing.

What's your earliest music-related childhood memory? 

Paul: My dad bought an outrageous music system for the house. The speakers were the size of guitar amps. He put a vinyl record on and I can remember the bassI can't remember what the record was he put on, I just remember the bass. It was a nice feeling!

What outrageous request would you most like to put in your tour rider as a joke?

Angela Chan: A three-bird roast.

What's the most disastrous date you've ever been on?

All: We're English, we don't really go on dates, we just go to the pub, get hammered and wake up next to our future wife/husband with a hangover.

Which Star Wars character are you most like?

Angela: Chan Solo.

Paul: Darth Paul.

Bob Allan: Bob-afett.

Oliver: C3P-0l.

Hazel: An Ewok.

Where do you see yourself in five beers?

Paul: Trying to pack down our gear after playing The Moth Club London...quite literally, we're on in 30 minutes! 

Mass shootings continue to be a problem, and yet the U.S. government still has yet to take action on curbing gun violence. What are your thoughts on gun control?

Oliver: It's quite difficult to say from a U.K. perspective because gun ownership is such an alien concept over here. It just seems utterly bonkers that people would wander around with a lethal weapon that is manufactured for the express purpose of killing people on an everyday basis and this be endorsed and even supported at a governmental level. But gun ownership has a cultural underpinning in U.S. history and society that make it very hard to see the arguments in a balanced way. Nevertheless, to us it doesn't seem to be a massive leap in logic to link the mass availability of guns in the states with a large amount of mass shootings.

If Mark Kozelek starts a fresh beef in a forest and nobody is around to write a 600-word thinkpiece about it, does he still make a sound? 

All: No...

If the world was ending in 24 hours, what would you do in those 24 hours? 

Oliver: Eat cheese and listen to The National.

Which part of America or which specific state do you find it most challenging to tour in and why?

All: All of it, as the visa costs for U.K. bands now make it nigh-on impossible for U.K. indie bands like us to tour in the U.S., full stop. 

How prepared are you for the apocalypse, zombie or otherwise?

Oliver: I have a range of theoretical survival strategies in place, but have stopped short of the actual stockpiling of goods and supplies. I'm quite looking forward to it, though.

If your house were on fire, what would you grab as you were running out?

Oliver: The door handle.

www.lanternsonthelake.com



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