I N T E R V I E W
By Arpie Shirehorse
HUP caught up with Lake of Lake South ahead of the band's show at Nivara Lounge this coming Friday, March 31st (with Ancient Tapes and Glass Shards), to discuss their new album, the horseshit housing situation, discgolf greatness, and the weird and wonderful world of Ward Lane Tavern and its mystical metal bars!
Congratulations on the album! It sounds amazing, you've obviously put a shitload of work into it. How long has it taken to get to this stage? Were the songs all written with an album in mind or is it more a collection of songs from a period of time? I went on a bit of a musical hiatus after I dissolved Urbantramper. I just got a bit overwhelmed with the classic self-doubt and societal pressures that every artist deals with and almost made the smart decision to give up and get a good job. But when the art game's got you it don't let you go that easy. I wrote and released Good Keen Man in 2014 with another track and then put out a track a year. An album was always on the horizon but it didn't get serious until 2016 when I holed up at house in Whanarua Bay to write the rest of the album. I then teamed up with a mate from my netball team, Joshua Lynn, to make my computer demos sound good. We used a lot of synths, a lot of chorus/flange, and an actual plate reverb that he made out of a single bed frame.
I moved to NZ in 2005 and one of my earliest memories of discovering NZ bands was when I stumbled across UrbanTramper's 'Tokon and the Colours', particularly the song 'Shitty Flat' which I love - a lot of the songs on the new album remind me of this song. How has the subject matter changed between then and the songs on the new album? When I look at the track list for that album I guess the subject matter is pretty similar. Still writing songs about working crappy jobs. Still living in Shitty Flats. Still reading classic novels. One thing I've tried to do lately is imbue the songs with a strong sense of Aotearoa/NZ. I like singing songs about the cities, suburbs and coastline that I live in. It's important for artists to reflect their environment so as to offer their community distilled perspectives of place.
There's a real sense of resignation about the housing market on many of the songs, a kind of resentment that many of us have today about the state of what many consider a basic right. I'm guessing this is something you feel strongly about? Yes. I have a lot of friends who are studying or working in the field and it seems like the system is currently setup to benefit [wealthy] land owners and not renters. I'm not an expert on the housing market so I can't offer any academic critique or solution, but I can try and capture the mood of the people around me. People are fucked off. Houses cost millions of dollars and renting is becoming prohibitively expensive. The Government isn't doing anything and has effectively made a bunch of wealthy homeowners a whole lot richer.
What was the driver behind changing name from Urbantramper to Lake South? I felt like I'd lost momentum with Urbantramper and that there was a lot of baggage associated with the name. I needed a new start.
Any plans to play overseas? Yep. I'm heading to France/Europe in April then moving to Canada in June. We're recording an album with the Wellington Sea Shanty Society in Nantes and I'm playing a few Lake South shows around the place.
Any memories of Hamilton from previous shows? I saw you around 2007 at Ward Lane Tavern and was blown away! Yes I remember that show! I remember the big metal bars at the front of the stage. My contact lenses were real old and my eyes were killing me so I had to perform blind.
Some quick fire questions…Are National going to get in again this time round?
I like to stay positive. Nihilism is worse than National.
How many more years until Donald Trump leaves the White House?
It will be exciting to be in North America this year
Should GST on fruit and veges be eliminated? Yes
What NZ bands/artists should we be listening to at the moment? All the Home Alone Music bands obviously. Gulls, Benny's Videos, Glass Vaults, Boy Crush, Nadia Reid, Finn Johansson. Heaps more I forgot.
What is your biggest sporting achievement?! I'm currently ranked 107th in NZ for disc golf.
You can arrange a gig anywhere in the world by 3 bands alive or dead....where/who/what are we drinking? Dana Eclair, Danger Pin & my band. At Mussel Inn. I'd feel left out if I wasn't playing. I guess we're drinking their beer.