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    We Lost The Sea

    "Post-Rock Transcends Barriers"

    Interview von Anne
    08.01.2021 — Lesezeit: 9 min
    Deutsche Version lesen
    We Lost The Sea
    Bild/Picture: © We Lost The Sea

    For the start of 2021, I have prepared a very special sensation. I recently met Mark Owen from We Lost The Sea via social media. He asked me for an interview and voilá: here it is!

    Can you imagine interviewing one of your absolute favourite musicians? Everything that is running through your head now: That's exactly how I felt. I was so happy that I was hardly able to keep my questions short. As you can imagine, this article has become a bit longer. Of course, it is well worth reading. Mark not only talked openly about the band's history and the plans of We Lost The Sea. He also had some music tips for me, which I am sharing with you today.

    Anne: Thank you very much for this interview! I'm so excited about getting to know one of my favourite bands! How are you doing today? How are things going in Sydney? Are you staying there at the moment?

    Mark: Thanks for having me! I am doing ok; I am on my lunch break at work, I just had a coffee in the sun, things are ok. Sydney is like many other places in the world at the moment, it is all a bit strange, but there isn't much anyone can really do except try and stay safe, I guess. We all live in the greater Sydney Area, two of us are about 150km apart, so we are spread out and haven't spent a lot of time with each other, but the few times have been fun, we played four shows at our favourite local venue over two nights, that was fun!

    Anne: Sadly you had to postpone your 2020 tour. What are you doing instead? Are you working on new songs?

    "If we can't tour we want to put out a new record"

    We Lost The SeaThe Grove Studios. Bild/Picture: We Lost The Sea

    Mark: We did have to postpone and like everyone else we are really bummed about it, however luckily for us we don't live off touring, so it's ok, I really feel for the bands we know that do live off it and are doing it tough. We are writing, slowly, but Matt and I have been sending ideas back and forth to each other, and we had a killer weekend away at a studio with Tim Carr who did Departure Songs with us. We started on new stuff, and we are all pretty excited to get stuck into more songwriting. If we can't tour this year, hopefully, we can put out another record!

    Anne: Are you planning to visit Europe in 2021?

    "We can't wait to get back to Europe"

    Mark: Our 2020 tour has been rescheduled, and like everyone else, I think we are just waiting to see what happens before we announce anything. There are still travel restrictions in Australia, so we can't leave even if we wanted to. I don't see 2021 happening at this stage but fingers crossed, I cannot wait to get back to Europe.

    Anne: The post-rock scene seems to be quite intimate - everybody is connected, and the few labels maintain an open contact. Events like Dunk! Festival feel like big family meetings. Why is this possible in this music scene? What distinguishes it from other genres?

    Mark: That's a hard one, I think that post-rock is pretty niche and people who love it REALLY love it and are quite vocal about it - so it's no surprise that that has fostered into a pretty tight online community. I think it tries to be reasonably inclusive, and it feels like a genre where people are just excited about the music, not so much the "scene". I still see some pretty stupid and petty shit on Facebook and things like that, but that's just people, right?

    Anne: I pretty much enjoyed your gig at the 2017 Dunk! Festival. You played there in a row with several Australian post-rock bands. Those were lots of incredible concerts. I will never forget these days. Did you see some shift in your fanbase since then? Do you have more fans over here in Europe now?

    "We loved every minute of Dunk!festival"

    We Lost The SeaPicture: We Lost The Sea

    Mark: Dunk! was our first overseas touring experience, our first show outside Australia. It was extraordinary for us – the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of heartaches and many many years of excellent and terrible times. It was such a great experience and the European tour that followed I consider one of the best times of my life. We had such a blast meeting people who enjoyed our music, and we got to talk and share stories with so many people from so many countries. From a pragmatic point of view, it helped grow our fan base, but from a personal point of view, it really helped to solidify why we do this, and we loved every minute of it.

    Anne: How would you describe your relationship with Dunk! Records?

    Mark: We LOVE Dunk! They are like family to us. Wout and Luc and everyone we have ever met or dealt with have been so supportive and excited about the band and what we do, and have such an amazingly positive attitude. I cannot imagine wanting to work with anyone else in Europe. They care about the bands, their fans, the festival, they are socially and environmentally aware—the best.

    Anne: You've been on tour in Australia, Europe, and China. I can imagine this very rich in contrast and exciting. Would you say that the music scenes are very different?

    "We want to connect people with our music"

    Mark: The music scenes are very different, yes, but at the same time, they aren't really. I guess the beauty of playing instrumental music is that it transcends any language barrier, and we have people responding to our music the same way all over the world. There are a few significant differences in social behaviour, the way gigs operate all that kind of thing, but it's still a band playing music and connecting with people at the end of the day.

    Anne: Besides Dunk! Festival - Which post-rock events would you recommend?

    "We would love to play ArcTanGent"

    Mark: All of them! I bet all of them are struggling at the moment. We'd love to play ArcTanGent one day; I would love to get to POST in the states, After Hours in Japan, Bergmal, Post in Paris - All of them! Is Glastonbury Post-Rock? It should be.

    Anne: Please come to ArcTanGent! I would really love to meet you there! I am also a big fan of the Glastonbury post-rock festival. The landscape is so beautiful over there. It would be a perfect fit, I guess. Should more people listen to Post-Rock? Should more people listen to Post-Rock?

    Mark: Yes, please buy our records so I can keep touring! As Phoebe Bridgers says "the only thing worse than touring is not touring." Insincerity though, I think a lot of people listen to post-rock without even knowing they do. Many movies, TV shows etc. are using post-rock music, and people are consuming without actively knowing they are. If we can make five per cent of those people aware of the bands they hear, then life would look very different for many bands.

    Anne: That is so true. I have thought about that so many times. You've founded We Lost The Sea in 2007. What has changed since then?

    "Telling stories is our passion"

    Mark: So much has changed! I was a baby in 2007, so much life has happened, for all of us. We've been through some memorable experiences and some really horrible things, apart from the obvious of losing Chris, we've dealt with a lot of personal issues together, health issues, just the trenches of the everyday banality of life. We've ended up in an amazing and lucky position - I've been able to see the world and play music to so many people from all walks of life.

    It feels like I've got six girlfriends sometimes and we fight and bicker, and we do things that annoy each other, but the six dudes (including Mikey, our sound guy) are family to me. The thing that hasn't changed is the passion for telling stories with music, taking people on a journey, and playing music with heart.

    Anne: Tell me about your influences. Which bands/music do you like best? Which artists had the most significant impact on your work?

    "The first part of 'Parting Ways' was influenced by Gospel"

    We Lost The SeaPicture: We Lost The Sea

    Mark: We all come from such a varied point of view but for me personally when it comes to writing music for We Lost The Sea, I try to draw influence from all kinds of places such as The Nick Cave and Warren Ellis soundtracks, Hans Zimmer, GY!BE, Cult of Luna, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Queen, Pink Floyd, old soul and gospel music - anywhere! The first part of "Parting Ways" was heavily influenced by this old big evangelical gospel album I found randomly - so anywhere!

    Anne: Did you always make music? Where there any projects before We Lost The Sea?

    Mark: I started playing the guitar in my early teens, and from that point, everything was just all about music. That doesn't mean it was all good. I played drums in a terrible metal band that I thought was good until literally the day I walked into Matt, Carl and D'Ugo's band's rehearsal. They were called "Omeratá", and I remember sneaking into their rehearsal and watching them play this song "Left to Settle".

    Everything changed - I basically quit playing the drums and decided that I was going to focus on guitar and then it all changed from there. Kieran our bass player and our singer Chris and two of our previous guitarists played in a band called "Sound The Mute". They were like child prodigies. They were blowing bands with much older seasoned players off stages all over Sydney, often Chris having to lie about his age or hideout the front until just before his set and getting on stage because he was underage.

    Check both out here:

    Anne: Your latest album "Triumph and Disaster" from 2019 is one of the best records I've ever listened to. Every time I put it on the record player, I discover new details. What's the story behind it?

    "We are proud of 'Triumph and Disaster'"

    Mark: Thank you so much. We are immensely proud of it. It was a slog to write that's for sure, so it means a lot to us that it's connecting to people. We had a lot of anxiety about following up Departure Songs, and we wanted to write still something that had a heart to it, a soul to the story. We are all big believers in Climate Change and the damage we are all doing to the planet and thought we could use a narrative to raise awareness about that, while at the same time telling a story that people could connect to. So its a story about the end of the world but it's also about love and hope and the love between a mother and her child.

    Anne: Who is the woman singing on the track "Forgotten People" on your record "The Quietest Place On Earth" from 2012? I like her voice.

    Mark: Her name is Bel and she's actually Carl's wife! When I wrote that song on the piano I had an idea for how I wanted it to sound and Bel came in and brought something to the table better than I could have ever hoped for. She writes music and sings in a project called "Olive".

    You can check it out here:

    Anne: Your music is very versatile. I love the spaces in-between. You know, these phases between the quiet and the heavy parts when you can feel the energy of something that will happen in a glimpse of an eye, and it's going to capture you completely. Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you when writing music?

    "We want to take you on a journey"

    Mark: We try to write music that has an energy, that has tension, something that is cinematic, something that holds your attention, that sucks you in. We want you to come on the journey with us and end up where we end up as well. First and foremost we are guys who love music, love playing music, love writing music, we'd probably be doing this even if no one was listening - although I am happy people are. So we try and write music that collectively excites us. So we write what we like, what we want to hear.

    This means that sometimes due to the sheer number of band members, we compromise on an idea and sometimes someone will really dig their heels in and fight for an idea; this tension creates an exciting space for creativity. The flip side is that occasionally spontaneous ideas become the main idea or change the complete direction of an idea, I think if you are open to and try to not close off to something too quickly, there is always the sweet spot.

    Anne: Are your rehearsing session more like big jam sessions or are you more for structure and an exact planned process?

    "The most important thing is the vibe"

    We Lost The SeaBild/Picture: We Lost The Sea

    Mark: Honestly sometimes it is just us staring at each other like stunned fish. Most of the fun action happens outside the jam room, standing around having a laugh and a beer. We like to keep it pretty relaxed, and while we often drill down on a single idea, we are entirely open to just sitting on an idea and playing it over and over again horribly until it starts sounding good. The vibe is the most important thing; if the song doesn't feel good, it isn't going to sound good. It is always a lot of hard work, and we overthink and over analyse everything, but we continuously are drawn back to how something feels to play.

    Anne: Like many other post-rock fans I'm pretty much into vinyl. I can't even describe the feeling when putting a new record on the turntable and listening to it for the first time. Do you think so, too? What is it that makes us enjoy the simple things so much in these fast-moving times?

    "I love vinyl"

    Mark: I love the format of Vinyl, I love seeing the artwork nice and big, and I love the feeling of holding a tangible product. Matt does such an amazing job with our artwork, and Dunk! and Translation Loss are so supportive of his artistic vision that there really isn't a better way to consume our music.

    Anne: What's up next for We Lost The Sea?

    Mark: Well if the world suddenly opens back up we might tour a bit, but I cannot see that happening, so for now, we'll play a few local Australian shows and focus on writing and recording a new album.

    We Lost The Sea At Dunk!festival 2017

    © 2024 · · Anne Reis