Updated: Aug 19, 2020
LASTELLE are an Atmospheric Post-Hardcore band hailing from Oxfordshire UK. With comparisons being drawn to the likes of Devil Sold His Soul, Casey, Underoath, Being As An Ocean, and The Elijah; LASTELLE are writing music that blends the power and hooks of Post-Hardcore with the dense soundscapes and textures of Post-Rock.
We recently caught up with the band to discuss their latest release ‘Coping Without A Cure’, their life in lock-down, their musical tastes whilst growing up and addiction to Pepsi Max...
"I started playing piano at seven years old and the guitar at thirteen, as soon as I started jamming with friends I knew this was a great way to express myself. Touring was always a big life goal and now we’ve travelled the UK many times I’d love to cross the border and explore the world with the boys."
Firstly, I have to ask this at the moment, how have you guys been coping in the lock-down, what kind of things have you been up to since the lock-down came into effect?
Rich - Hello! Thankfully we haven’t been hit too hard by recent events, lock-down certainly put a pause on plans but we’ve powered through and are making the best of it. On a personal level video games and zoom quizzes have managed to stem the boredom.
Let’s be honest 2020 has been a weird year so far and things will probably be weird for a while. As an artist, especially an artist with a new single ‘Coping Without A Cure’ releasing soon. How has this affected your rhythm? This is the time you would be out the promoting the track!
Rich - Very true! We put our live shows ahead of everything and pride ourselves on getting out there as much as possible but that currently is not an option. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of behind the scenes work to do and plenty of free time to do it so we’ve made sure that we’ve stayed productive.
How did you get into writing and creating music? Was there a decisive moment or event that you remember that made you stop and think, wow, THIS is what I want to do with my life?
Rich - On a personal level music has always been a big part of my family, my older brother is a massive rock/metal fan and that certainly rubbed off on me. I started playing piano at seven years old and the guitar at thirteen, as soon as I started jamming with friends I knew this was a great way to express myself. Touring was always a big life goal and now we’ve travelled the UK many times I’d love to cross the border and explore the world with the boys.
Jonjo - It kind of happened naturally for me when I started playing guitar. I've never really learnt songs and was immediately trying to write my own stuff instead of learning someone else's songs. I started playing guitar when I was 13 to play in a band, and one of us had to step up and write the music, and it just happened to be me, and it just kind of stuck!
"'Coping Without A Cure' came together quite quickly. It stood out as a really powerful and dynamic track that would be perfect to front the next phase of LASTELLE."
How did the band get together?
Rich - LASTELLE formed after our previous band Vera Grace disbanded, of which Jonjo, Mike and myself (Rich) were members of. We weren’t ready to call it a day but felt we needed to start afresh with a new name and vocalist, of which Adam fit the bill perfectly. Fred joined shortly after on bass and we’re the tightest and most productive we’ve ever been.
Your latest release, ‘Coping Without A Cure’ releases on August 4th. Can you go into the creation process of this track a little more? How did this track come about?
Rich - We often start our tracks as instrumentals, mainly written by Jonjo and assisted by myself (Rich). The rest of the band bring together stories and ideas on what the lyrics could put across and Coping Without A Cure came together quite quickly. It stood out as a really powerful and dynamic track that would be perfect to front the next phase of LASTELLE.
Jonjo - Musically, this track is one of our more straightforward songs. The main piano / guitar melody was the starting point and the structure was built around that. Like a lot of our songs, there was no particular intentions for it when the writing process started. It went through a few structural changes, but it turned out to be quite different from the rest and we're super pleased with the result. Lyrically, it's a very personal song. I find our music to be a good way to talk about subjects that aren't so easy to put into words normally. I think this is a good example of that.
‘Still Winds’ is an absolute belter of a track and has received massive critical praise. Is it always the ambition of the band to always push the limits of what the definitive LASTELLE sound can be?
Adam - Definitely. We all have a mix of different musical influences; Jonjo is really inspired by post-rock, whereas I encourage that we include some catchy hooks. As a band we are motivated to produce music that draws from different genres – that, ultimately, creates our atmospheric post-hardcore sound.
Our latest single, Coping Without a Cure, is a perfect example of the music we like creating together. It has this wall of sound with textures of post-rock, finished with relatable lyrics that you can sing along to. We all cannot wait to play this live.
"'Bluebells' truly defines the LASTELLE sound. When we play this live there is such an energy, from the full-on intro, to the slow, emotionally charged ending. We try to make a LASTELLE performance an immersive experience and I love performing this song."
Speaking of ‘Still Winds’, you recently did an online guitar playthrough of the track on YouTube. How did this come about? Is it strange doing a video online playthrough without the rest of the band present?
Rich - Content is king in this day and age so we have been smashing out as much stuff as we can, we are all well versed in music video creation so performing to camera, even without all the guys, is second nature to us.
With everything still up in the air, what do you think the rest of 2020 will look like for you as a band?
Rich - I expect the music industry as a whole will exist exclusively online for the remainder of 2020, and we’ll be trying to think of ways to bring the experience of our live shows and new music to all our social media followers around the world, it’s a tough one to figure out but I’m sure we’ll see trends of content appearing from multiple bands in time.
‘Coping Without A Cure’ shows new unheard depths in your sound and just how far your sound and musicianship has come since the release of ‘Harrow’ in 2019, was this a conscious choice or a natural evolution of your sound?
Freddie – We’re all very happy with how Coping Without a Cure sounds and the feedback has been wonderful, so thank you for the kind, humbling words. Hopefully people enjoy it on record and we are desperate to share this live for everyone to hear. I think it was the next logical step after our last single “Bluebells” – particularly the end section of that track and how choral it feels as it closes. Vocally, Mike and Adam have worked really hard and I think they’ve both kicked it up another gear for this one.
If you had to choose one song from the LASTELLE catalogue that you feel encompasses the bands signature sound, which song would you choose and why?
Adam – I think our last single, 'Bluebells', truly defines the LASTELLE sound. When we play this live there is such an energy, from the full-on intro, to the slow, emotionally charged ending. We try to make a LASTELLE performance an immersive experience and I love performing this song.
"if you follow our [LASTELLE] Spotify page, you’ll find a playlist there. We keep that up to date with everything we listen to in the van and at home, and it’s full of bands that inspire us."
Can you tell us a fun fact about each member of the band?
Adam has been Straight Edge for over 8 years and Freddie can do a Rubik’s cube in under a minute (sometimes). Jonjo plays Dungeons & Dragons, and is a Level 11 Half Elf Bard. Mike can ride a unicycle (but never gets the opportunity) while Rich is addicted to Pepsi Max and can’t survive on tour without it; he is eagerly awaiting their endorsement.
What is on your playlist at the moment?
Freddie - We’ve recently curated a playlist for Saviour MGMT, over on spotify, which can be found on our socials until August 5th. Otherwise, if you follow our Spotify page, you’ll find a playlist there. We keep that up to date with everything we listen to in the van and at home, and it’s full of bands that inspire us.
Finally, as we are called Not A Phase, were you guys scene kids when you were growing up? If not, what kind of music were you rocking out back in your formative teenage years?
Adam - I was an all-out pop punk/ska kid. You know the type that every classic metalhead hates; sporting a fringe longer than my face and XXS clothing. I big fan of Blink, Capdown, Reel Big Fish and the like. Some funny moments that come to mind are getting knocked out in a Capdown gig and sporting a black eye for the next week and a wall of death on someone’s shoulder during Less than Jake amongst huge metalheads waiting for Slayer to play next. It was wasn’t till I was later into my teens that I started to enjoy heavier music.
Freddie – I have the same background as Adam, and didn’t actually get into much heavy music until my twenties. My first proper show at 13 was Rancid at Brixton Academy, and I lost one of my pink DC trainers in a mosh pit. I was a skater kid, so I was always on the fringe of being a scene kid, but never took the plunge.
Rich - I was most definitely a part of the “scene” and had the hair straighteners to prove it, but I listen to a wide range of genres from metal to rap/classical/pop/movie scores etc.
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