Interview with The Lake Poets

We’ve been following the amazing progress of Sunderland based The Lake Poets with great enthusiasim since the release of the first single ‘Cit by the Sea’ last year. Cat On The Wall’s Jo Whity caught up with Martin Longstaff, the man behind The Lake Poets, for a chat about the new single ‘April’ as well as finding out more about the band name and his relationship with record label Tiny Lights…

Cat On The Wall: I remember picking up a book when on holiday in the Lake District about The Lake Poets which I understand is where the band name takes its inspiration. Have any of the poets influenced you musically or lyrically? When and why did you decide to make music as The Lake Poets?

The Lake Poets: That’s exactly where I got the name from; in 2011 I was daydreaming about making music when I was supposed to be doing an essay and saw the title of a book about romantic poets from the Lake District. I checked no one had used it in the past and claimed it as my creative moniker. I am inspired by poets that utilise brevity and stark language to create straight-to-the-point yet beautiful imagery, such as Sara Teasdale and Norman MacCaig.

COTW: You have a new single ‘April’ coming out very soon. What’s the story behind the track?

TLP: The meaning behind ‘April’ is difficult to explain, it’s sort of about the rejection of comfort and safety and the complexities that often come with love, loss and betrayal. I am more interested in what it means to other people than what it means to me however.

COTW: As ‘The Lake Poets’ is more like a collaborative project than a set band who are the musicians you worked with for the recording of April and how did you meet them? Are they permanent additions to the line-up or are you happy for the band to remain fluid?

TLP: The band in the recording session was made up of my regular live band that I have played with for a year or two now, a few talented string players I know from the local gig circuit and The Futureheads’ Barry Hyde who popped in to do some piano. I am very lucky to be able to call on my talented friends and family for live gigs and recording.

COTW: How did you get involved with Tiny Lights and what is it like to work with them?

TLP: After the release of my self-titled and free demo, local DIY label Tiny Lights simply asked if I wanted to put a single out. I was reluctant at first as I was brought up to believe that labels were the enemy, but I soon found out that if you work with the right one it can be great partnership, which I feel is the case with Tiny Lights Recordings.

COTW: Your single launch shows in Newcastle were sold out! How did the shows go and what is it you like most about the live experience?

TLP: Both shows sold out in 24 hours, which obviously was a great feeling. Knowing that my fan base is as keen as ever makes me very happy and pushes me to strive to keep making better and better music, which I hope I am! My favourite thing about playing music live is the connection I get from the audience when they understand the sentiment of a song or they simply enjoy it enough to applaud or even sing-along. I never tire of it and never take it for granted.

COTW: What are you listening to at the moment?

TLP: I adore Leslie Feist and I am currently absorbing her tremendous album ‘Metals’ again. It is a masterpiece of subtlety and vocal acuity.

COTW: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?

TLP: I have a pretty big show with James Morrison coming up, as well as few gigs around the UK and further afield to look forward to. I am also doing a very special gig at Durham Gala Theatre on July 19th with a 36 piece Brass Orchestra whereby I will be debuting a song written especially for the event. I can’t wait!


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