Interview and session: Watford rockers perform 'Message In A Bottle'
Catherine Elliott
15:04 28th September 2012

Watford punks Lower Than Atlantis are soon to release their third studio album Changing Tune through Island records after scoring a major label deal. This marks a big change for the band having left the days of smaller labels and self-releasing far behind.

Gigwise recently caught up with Mike & Ben J from the band to discuss their rise to rock stardom. They shared their thoughts on You Me At Six, how they’ve now ticked just about everything off their bucket list and hanging out with Blink 182...

How does being released on such a major label as Island compare to the release of Far Q and World Record?
Mike: We’ve still got a say in everything we do, but there’s just like this vice behind us. The good thing about it is that these people have been there and done it all before, they have the experience to say don’t do this mate. There’s been a huge team behind us on this record with regards to just about everything. We sit back a lot more now, we’re a bit like the yes men.

Ben: The big difference is the financial side of things, as we're self-releasing everything before and had to pay for all of it. It’s a weight off not having to worry about that stuff anymore, and just to be able to concentrate on the music, getting to record in a studio as prestigious as Rock Field was pretty sweet too.   We’re not driving round in solid gold limos or anything though, or with like diamond encrusted toilet seats… all im saying is that we have the money to do exactly what we want to do.

Your sound is very different now to what it was in 2010, what's happened in the last couple of years to change it?

Ben J: We’ve always listened to rock music, even when we were doing that we’ve never really listened to that heavy stuff, we’ve just grown up a bit I guess.
Mike: We do listen to everything though as cliché as that sounds, who knows what the next album might be, could be a jazz one?! Jazz- punk –Christian- death metal or something… 

Below: watch Lower Than Atlantis perform 'Message In A Bottle'

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The 'Love Someone Else' video is set in an American diner - but was filmed in the UK. Would you have preferred a trip to the US? 
Ben: No not at all, but I’ll tell you something that has annoyed me, like so much. People have said to us like ‘hey why is it shot in an American diner man you’re from Watford. Are there many American diners in Watford’? I just feel like saying why does our music video have to be set in the place where we are from?! That is just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Idiots man -think about it!  

You once said that 'playing live was the hurdle to jump before you can get drunk'. Is this still the case as you prepare your October tour?
Mike: No we really love it, It’s not like supporting where I can get quite nervous sometimes.  It’s more nerve-wracking because you can go up there and everyone is like ‘who are these idiots, what the hell is this rubbish?’ But now we headline tours and we headline shows. You can judge by ticket sales it they’re going to be half decent. So yeah we really enjoying playing live these days a lot more.
Ben: I’m not gonna say any names but there are a lot of bands that play gigs and the whole thing just looks shit, boring and bland. We try and take pride in playing live, especially in the past year we’ve put on a really good show. I watched a KISS documentary the other day, they put on a mental show, like flying across the audience on a zip wire type shit, I’m not saying that is going to happen, but one day maybe… You might see us spitting blood that’s on fire at each other, and spitting wasps out. 

There seems to be a wave of new bands growing huge amounts of support. Which bands do you think are leading the return of rock?
Ben: We are the biggest rock band on our scene, and then there are all the other little ones. We’ve kind of moved up in the grand scheme of thing, we think anyway. So apart from us i'd say Deaf Havana, Young Guns, You me at Six are like the biggest though. They're out of our scene a bit now, their actually doing pretty well in the more mainstream scene which they get a lot of stick for.  
Mike: I’ve never listened to them or seen them play live or had even heard of them before they blew up.  I don’t know who would be giving them stick.  I say fair play to them mate. I hate that, people are always trying to support bands in doing something like buying the T-shirt or going to see them live, and then when they get big people tend to stop listening to them because it doesn’t feel like their little band anymore.  They need to realise that you wouldn’t for instance start a business with the hope of staying at the same level the whole time and not progressing would you? Not that our band is a business… that’s gonna get picked up somewhere now isn’t it?  

What did you learn from your time supporting Blink 182 - and did you get to spend any time with the guys?
We got to hang out with them a couple of weeks before those dates and we were in Marks dressing room, we had a chat about music and he said that he’d been given our album, but hadn’t listened to it yet.  Eddy was talking drums with Travis too which was pretty cool.  
Ben: We really need to write a new bucket list man, we’ve done everything on it now! The only things left are to play Brixton Academy and tour with Foo Fighters, they are our remaining goals. Not to sound big headed but if there was one band who would suit it (touring with Foo Fighters) from the UK, I would pick us!
Mike: We’re just generally all round good blokes and we’re a right on good laugh
That you are Lower Than Atlantis, Thank you. Their new album ‘Changing Tune’ is out October 1st and you can pre-order it now. Also watch out for lead single 'Love Someone Else'.