More about: The Lathums
As The Lathums consolidate critical and popular claims that they are The UK's Brightest New Indie Hopes with their debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be, the boys—Alex, Scott, Johnny and Ryan—let us in on the context behind each of the songs that will be driving them into the big-time.
'Circles Of Faith'
Alex Moore: We wrote this when we were in the Tippings Arms. That was a pub that we used to practice in: we’d play a gig there every month to pay the rent on practicing. I started improvising at first, I like to just babble on until something feels right, and I came up with this mad melody. It was just stuck in my head and I couldn’t find a song to put it to. I tried it this one I had called ‘Circles of Faith’, and it just felt right. It came together.
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'I’ll Get By'
AM: Some songs just come to you, almost falling out of the sky, and this was one of them. It’s just an expression of innocence, really, and worked as a kind of therapy for me at the time it was written. I didn’t write ‘I’ll Get By’ or any of the songs from this period intending them to become an album, I just wrote them for me.
AM: We’d just come off a run of gigs before the pandemic, and while I was flying high from that and buzzing, I ended up stopping at my friend Tyler’s in Bolton. I woke up the next morning and I didn’t really feel much – usually the morning after a gig I’ve got a buzz – but I felt a bit empty in a weird way, so I started playing this upbeat chord thing, which would become the chorus.
The actual song is about the French Resistance: it’s like a lover’s tale. I’ve always liked history and World War II; I don’t know why I was so intrigued by the French Resistance at that point. Obviously, the obstacle is Nazi Germany, but it’s an against-all-odds thing. It was a million-to-one for the Resistance – it was mental what they did. It’s a do-or-die lovers’ tale.
'How Beautiful Life Can Be'
AM: That was a lockdown one. I just thought that we were on the cusp of something so amazing that kind of got taken away from us. Everyone’s had that time taken away from them, especially the young ones. And that’s not just education but learning about yourself: it’s massive at that age. It’s been taken away from them. They’ve got used to a strange normality.
We could understand and comprehend why we couldn’t gig at the time, but for the young ones, they couldn’t really understand why they couldn’t do the normal things that they used to. “Let the children have their chance to sing” was a bit of light at the tunnel really. I’ve seen how good it can be when things are back to normal.
'The Great Escape'
Scott Concepcion: Juxtaposition was my word. I learned that in High School drama lessons.
AM: It’s the optimists against the argumentative – why do you always see the bad in things? Take what there is and enjoy it. For this one, I remember really wanting to escape from where I was at the time, and it’s not that there wasn’t much hope but we were definitely not established as a band at all at that point. And I remember thinking I really want to get out of this and make something better for myself, and I can do it through the songs.
I think it might have been the offset we needed as a band to really get us going. I’d wrote songs before the band, but as a collective this song really brought us together.
'I Won't Lie'
SC: “My friend Colin at college showed me how to do a diminished 7 chord, so once he showed me this move, I knew I wanted to use it, but with a different chords. Now the diminished chords aren’t nice to listen to at first, they build tension and they want to go somewhere else. We were recording the album when we wrote this one and it nearly didn’t end up on it.
'I See Your Ghost'
AM: It’s like Romani-folk-party music or something. I started playing this thing and, like I do, I just kind of improvise and talk nonsense over it. So, I developed it a bit more, got some words that I thought would fit nicely and it compiled into this mad scat thing. When you write something meant to be sung that fast it does stay in your brain, it’s quite mad.
SC: We didn’t really rehearse it, the chorus only got wrote in the studio, we hadn’t really played it. When it came to playing it, it was one of the ones we did in the studio the least, but it worked. There’s a lot of guitars but it’s not quite as obvious.
'Oh My Love'
AM: It’s very much typical of the type of songs I write and there are, or could be, a whole load more like this on the album. But we need to keep things moving and the styles across the album varied. I wrote the verses for ‘Oh My Love’ first and then left it alone for weeks without the words for a chorus, but they eventually turned up. When it came out as a single it was the right thing to do, it was ready to go out there and have time to breathe before it came back to join the rest of the album.
'I'll Never Forget The Time I Spent with You'
AM: I was in London for this one. When I've finished playing a gig, I can start feeling a bit strange, it’s like a surreal feeling as though I’m not quite me for a bit. It can last for the rest of the night, or it can last for half an hour. It’s always a bit different depending on what’s going on. So I was just in the van, my guitar was there, I started playing the little part. I started singing “I won’t forget the time I spent with you” and it just stuck.
'I Know That Much'
AM: It’s more or less the same as with ‘The Great Escape’, getting rushed through in a way. It went from pubs, to smaller live venues and then suddenly we were in Parr Street recording it for the album. It means a lot as it was written during a time when I had no idea what was happening, the band was together, but I was working a job at the same time. A kind of limbo stage before everything kicked off, but it says everything about keeping faith and not giving up.
SC: This was the first tune we ever recorded!
AM: ’Artificial Screens’ was when I was just coming into normal life, coming out of being a bit of a hermit, a bit of a loner. I had to start using my phone to get in touch with people and to do things. I was well annoyed at it, I didn’t like it – I'm not right for this world, the digital era is not my thing. I’m still not very good at it. It’s an observation though, seeing people everywhere, all the time on their artificial screens.
'The Redemption Of Sonic Beauty'
SC: When I worked at an Italian restaurant there was this woman called Sabina, she didn’t speak much English, but I told her I was saving up for a piano, I was doing the gestures for a piano. At the end of the night, she gave me £50, and the chef translated that she gave me £50 to get a piano. I had £50 of my own, put it with that, and as soon as I got the piano, I started playing ‘The Redemption of Sonic Beauty’ – money well spent! Sabina is still part of it all, she comments on every Lathums post on Instagram and Facebook.
AM: It’s a good way to end it – what are they going to do next? I’ll show them!
How Beautiful Life Can Be is out now.
More about: The Lathums