Number of post rock/metal bands incorporate in their sound a passion for universe and space travel. However, sometimes even a journey between continents can be massive challange. Every artist knows traveling issues, but I always giving Australian bands a bit of an additional credit. With Nathaniel D’Ugo, the drummer of Australian band We Lost The Sea, we spoke next to the tour challenges about the pandemic, the earliest inspirations, the best spots to recharge batteries and new album.
Fans in Czech Republic: We Lost The Sea will play with Solkyri on 18th of November in Prague’s venue Modrá Vopice.
Photos credit: Josh Groom
Hey, we are extremely honored, you included Prague, as a part of your EU tour. I am mainly thanking you, as I can imagine many challenges for an Australian band, including logistics, finance and covid regulations in each country. What is giving you the hardest time?
Thank you! Logistically it is always difficult to move this band around and that is compounded when we tour overseas. Thankfully we have a pretty good team behind us that looks after all the bookings etc., so that does remove a lot of the complications for us when it comes to touring overseas. The biggest challenge this time will be the amount of time we’re spending away from home. A couple of the members are new fathers, and this will be the first time they are away from their children for a few weeks. But in saying that we are so damn excited about heading back to Europe that nothing seems to be too hard to make it happen!
To switch into more optimistic department, give us please an idea about the Australian rock/metal scene and how come there are so many cool bands with a taste for atmospheric rock/metal? Next to Karnivool, I love Sleepmakeswaves and I gladly checked your tour partners Solkyri.
Australia has a great music scene but unfortunately, we have some state governments that want to destroy live music instead of helping it flourish. When the older members of We Lost The Sea were growing up there were venues everywhere and we were able to cut our teeth in all different types of venues. These days because of government regulations the number of live venues has been dramatically reduced. In other capital cities like Melbourne and Perth it is the opposite. They have lots of venues and supportive governments. On the other hand, Australia still has a great passion for music and art and people who will keep fighting to keep live music alive.
Any of your buddies, who would you like to recommend?
This list could be extremely long! Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, Lo!, Seims, Meniscus, Totally Unicorn, Lack the Low, Burial Pit, Brendon John Warner…
From where does this passion for space/graduating rock music structure come from? What are your role models and the earliest inspirations from that field?
This could be answered differently depending on which member you ask but for me I grew up listening to bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, Queen etc. I always loved the tracks that were long and took you on journeys. One of my all-time favourite records is Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds and I would listen to it over and over again always getting lost in the journey and the story. I was always attracted to these tracks that were longer than “normal” but could keep you captivated and listening.
I already spoke to a number of post rock/metal bands about challenges of the song structure within the peaks of the songs. What are your tools to avoid making it too complicated, ideally straight forward and having an alert of cheesiness just on the horizon?
First and foremost, we always try to write music that we would like to listen to. During the writing process we record everything we do in the jam room and listen to it over and over again. We take the time to listen to all the ideas and pull them apart and not just try and jam ideas together.
Were you guys space and astronomy fans as kids? Imagining space probes routes, reading books or watching VHS about planets?
As a group we are all in awe of both. As kids and as adults we stare into the night sky with the same sense of wonder as looking out to the ocean. I live near the beach and I often will go and grab lunch and sit on the beach looking out the ocean. It calms me like nothing else I know. I can sit there for ages just watching the water and listening to the waves.
What is your approach during songwriting? Can you please explain it let say on A Gallant Gentleman?
Writing A Gallant Gentleman was so long ago I can’t quite remember the process for that exact song. But the usual way it works is that either Mark or Matt will come to the studio with an idea. We’ll all have a play along to it and we’ll see where it goes. As mentioned previously, we’ll record that session and listen to it and take it apart, rewrite it, take it apart again and rewrite it. Basically, most things aren’t 100% complete until we are in the recording studio and putting it to tape.
Please describe to us the atmosphere on the Dunk!festival. Russian Circles’ performance there was one of the coolest I’ve ever heard and yours was also amazing.
Dunk!festival is amazing and what the Dunk! Team have put together is something really special. Unfortunately for us things didn’t go to plan on the day. We left Germany the night before and expected that we would wake up on the bus somewhere near Dunk! Instead, we woke up in a bus that was not moving and we were at a truck stop still in Germany. Turns out we had blown a tyre and the spares had already been used. In a panic we called our manager in Australia to try and organise something to get us to Dunk! We managed to find a tyre place near where we were, and we gunned it there. After drinking some amazing coffee machine hot chocolate and 2 new tyres later we hit the road straight to Dunk! We arrived not long before our set was due to start. We banged everything on stage and played before we were even able to catch a breath. Honestly, we really wanted to spend the day there, before we played, but it just didn’t work out for us. However the few hours we spent there after our set were amazing. It’s a festival full of likeminded people who are there for one reason only and that is to enjoy the music and art of all the performers that are there. We met some amazing people in the short time we were at the festival and can’t wait to do it again.
The biggest challenge this time will be the amount of time we’re spending away from home.
There are some really positive enhancements in your discography, for example female vocals and a trumpet on Mother’s Hymn. What was your motivation in that case?
The motivation is simply we love working with great musicians and seeing what they can add to our music. When we add these elements, we never write their part for them. We send them a rough take of the track and the idea that we have and then leave the rest up to them. Watching the track come together and seeing the way other musicians interpret our ideas, is a beautiful thing.
If we go further into the past, your debut album is packed with harsh vocals. Why did you decide to walk away eventually from that area?
After Chris passed away and we had decided that we would continue the band, we weren’t sure what to do. Chris was such a formidable frontman and vocalist to replace him, would be an extremely hard task. When Mark and I started the band, we wanted him to front the band and no one else. We did have a few jams with a friend of ours and while it sounded great, it was too hard for him and too hard for us to see someone else in Chris’s shoes. After that we decided that if we were going to remain a band, then instrumental was the way to go.
Pandemic and new tracks
There were hints of the future there, like gentle vocals and ambient post rock structure in Forgotten People.
I think because of doing stuff like that in the past, it made the transition to being an instrumental band a lot easier. Even with Chris, we had tracks like With Grace that has nine minutes of no vocals.
What was helping you in the doubtful periods, for example during pandemic, when you couldn’t tour properly and push your name forward?
We managed to squeeze in a couple of shows when different restrictions were lifted in Australia, so that was a massive help. Apart from that we all took time to work on ourselves and prepare ourselves for when we could return to normal. We also made sure to stay in touch with each other during the lockdown. Because we live in different parts of the state, we were able to meet up anywhere. When we weren’t able to leave out local areas, we hung out virtually.
How does it look with a new album? Were you able to write during a pandemic?
The new album is about half done. We had started writing and were making good progress before the pandemic, but then we essentially had a two year break from writing, when we couldn’t be in a room together. We did have grand plans to finish writing over email, but we’re the type of band that works much better, when we’re in the room together. As cliché as it sounds, we do a lot of writing by vibing off each other. Sometimes what sounds good on tape, doesn’t feel right when we play it together.