Interview: Losing Sleep

Interview: Losing Sleep

Over the past four years, Kingston-Upon-Thames quartet Losing Sleep have slowly been working their ways towards their debut album. Now with ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ set to be released this Friday (January 15th), they’re ready to take on the world with a collection of very favourable hook-filled and engaging emo-infused pop punk songs.

Although the initial sessions for ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ took place over a year ago with producer Bob Cooper (Hindsights, The Winter Passing) they still capture Losing Sleep at an ideal point when they are coming into their own. With their roots in the close-knit music community in Kingston and the general UK DIY scene, Losing Sleep prove to be grounded in their approach. ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ sees the band working with two of the UK’s most promising underground labels in Beach Community and Failure By Design Records. Whilst their forthcoming UK tour with Irish indie punk group The Winter Passing sees them hitting up a variety of DIY venues.

In the lead up to the release of the album, Already Heard caught up with vocalist/guitarist Liam Clayton to discuss the record, their roots, the tour and more.

AH: For anyone who isn’t familiar with Losing Sleep, how would you sum yourselves up stylistically?

Liam: We fall somewhere in the pop punk / emo genre, maybe more towards early 2000’s sort of sound, at least that was our original influence.

AH: Yeah from hearing the record, I get that vibe. You’re not a “typical pop punk band” where it’s all about the hooks, it seems there’s substance throughout.
Liam: Yeah, I wouldn’t want to dismiss any bands who play “typical pop punk” but I think our influences have always been quite varied and even changed over the years. I love pop music type hooks but I can never stop myself from making the songs a bit more complicated, or at least trying to add that depth and substance like you say.

AH: Losing Sleep have been kicking around for a few years now but it seems with ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ you’re taking things to the next level?

Liam: That’s definitely the plan. With earlier releases we were really learning how to write together as a band and working out what our strengths were. I’ve been writing music for nearly 10 years now and there’s always been ideas that have stuck with me and I’ve wanted to try. From my perspective, at least, I threw everything into this, especially lyrically. I wanted to make the best album that I could and I think we all pushed towards that goal.

AH: How important were those early EP’s and splits releases to help you find your feet as a band?

Liam: They were really important for us. The original 5 songs that we did were only really a demo, they sound pretty awful but they kind of worked as a first EP for us, and helped us gain a name for ourselves locally and get shows and even tour.

The split with T-Shirt Weather was also really important, it pushed us as a band in terms of song writing and our sound and even recording experience. It also helped solidify our friendship with those lovely Durham lads, which is the most important thing.

AH: The album was recorded with Bob Cooper quite awhile ago right?

Liam: Yeah we’d known Bob for a while and felt he would be the perfect person to make the album with. The initial recording was in August 2014 and we wrapped things up over the next few months.

AH: I guess it’s been frustrating not having the record out there when it’s over a year old?

Liam: It certainly took longer than we anticipated but I think that’s just how these things go, especially being new to making an album and then finding a label and getting everything ready to go, artwork mastering etc. For us we were just really excited to play the new songs and have everyone here them. I can’t tell you how excited we are for the 15th!

AH: What did Bob along with Alan Douches (Brand New, Saves The Day, Converge) add to the record?

Liam: Bob has the most amazing enthusiasm and a great attitude to recording that is really infectious and fun. As I said before, this record we had sort of been learning and getting better as a band, and I think Bob helped capture the sound of what we’d become after all that. He also really has his ear to the ground when it comes to current music, especially in the UK and so that was really great when it came to the actual sound of the record. He made us sound amazing.

For us, it was really cool working with Alan. Knowing that he’d mastered bands like Brand New and The Promise Ring, just having someone with that kind of experience work on our album was very cool. He definitely brought out the sound we wanted from the record and I think he was the perfect person for the job, he knew what we were going for.

AH: I get the impression that the bands roots are in the UK DIY punk scene. It seems with bands like Muncie Girls and Great Cynics getting more noticed (especially from bigger publications) is it a good time to be part of that scene?

Liam: Yeah we definitely come from that scene and we still feel like it’s really important, not just to us but to bands all over the country. Over the last few years the scene seems to have gone from strength to strength, considering that there was a time when underground UK music felt like it was really struggling. There are people putting on shows and bands coming out of every town and city so it’s really exciting. I think it’s great that with that, coming from that background of completely DIY, bands like Great Cynics and Muncie Girls can push further and reach more people, and larger publications etc will take note of them.

AH: In addition how has Kingston helped the band?

Liam: The music scene in Kingston was one of the reasons I choose to move here originally, knowing I wanted to start a band. It’s definitely been a huge part of Losing Sleep. I met Sean (our bass player) while he was working for Banquet Records (holding the Banquet sign on Eden Street!) and I met Chris when I heard him playing drums in a practice room at Kingston Uni where we both attended. We also played our first gig for Banquet (with Spraynard at the Fighting Cocks) and the record shop has been really supportive of us. We played an instore for our last release which was amazing and we closed last year opening for Moose Blood at Banquet’s New Slang club night. Those both felt like huge achievements to me.

AH: Yeah even from afar, I know how significant the Kingston scene is.
Liam: We still get some amazing gigs here and I would really miss that and Banquet itself if I ever moved away. They do an amazing job for the town.

AH: For the release of the album you’re working with two brilliant indie labels in Beach Community and Failure By Design Records as well as Dog-Eared Records in the States. Can you explain how you teamed up with those labels?
Liam: Once we had the album recorded, we started sending it to friends and people we had thought about working with in the past. Leigh from Beach Community had said he wanted to hear it and we were really excited when he said he’d like to work with us to put the album out.

Beach Community (Hindsights, Apologies I Have None) have worked with some great bands that we love so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It’s great for us to be able to work with a number of different people, so we jumped at the chance to have the record available on CD through Failure By Design who we’ve been friends with for a while now.

Dog Eared Records is run by Charlsey who I met when I lived in LA. She’s always been really supportive of the band and said that she would love to put the album out in the States when she heard it. Dog Eared is a fairly new label with a few releases on cassette. It’s cool to have the album released in four different formats, as well as having it available in America!

AH: The album is being supported with a tour alongside The Winter Passing. Call us bias but that is definitely a great band to be touring with.
Liam: Oh yeah. We’ve been friends with The Winter Passing for a while and as well as being lovely people, they are a brilliant band and they just put out their first album which is so good. When we first mentioned the tour idea to them we weren’t sure it would work out, but then they came back and said they could do it. We were so excited.

AH: The tour is going up and down the country. Any shows/spots you’re especially looking forward to?
Liam: I don’t think there’s anywhere we haven’t played before on the tour but in a way that’s exciting because I’m excited to go back to all of the cities we’re playing. We’ve only been to Edinburgh once so I can’t wait to go back there. We always have a great time playing in Manchester and Durham so those should be especially fun.

AH: You’re playing a few DIY venues like Nottingham’s JT Soar. Do you feel they’re the right type of venues to play for a band like Losing Sleep?

Liam: I think coming from that kind of DIY background we definitely still feel at home playing venues like JT Soar. Those shows can be some of the most fun and unpredictable as well. The venues are always different and you get to meet like minded people who are running things because they love putting on shows.

AH: Why should our readers come out a show on the tour?

Liam: The album will have come out the week before so people will have had a chance to listen, I think that will add extra excitement to us, to know that we’re not just playing songs people don’t know. For that reason I think the set will be really fun! Also The Winter Passing are always amazing live so we’ve all got that to look forward to. Hopefully everyone (bands and audience!) will be past the new year slump and ready to have fun. I really think it’s gonna be a great time!

‘Fear Of Missing Out’ by Losing Sleep is released on January 15th on Beach Community and Failure By Design.

Losing Sleep links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)