Bites For Starters: Glacial swoons, chilling melodies and a field of their own belongs to Arctic Lake
With new EP 'Closer' out on Friday, we get to know the trio behind a winter soundtrack in the making
Published: 10:00 am, October 18, 2017
Have a guess where we are today folks? yeah, it’s Bites For Starters - offering you the first slice of a freshly cooked new band on the cusp of something you better keep your eyes on. See it as the stamp of approval that this band are ready, like a daily digest for the ears… if that even works. We promise we haven’t tried eating with our ears. Definitely never. Okay, maybe once.
If we could do it, then Arctic Lake would be right at the front of the queue - bringing a cleansing sense of natural human emotion distilled into gorgeous electro-tinged charms. Since forming a few years ago, the trio of Emma Foster, Andy Richmond and Paul Holliman have carved out their own very special blend of cathartic pop, measured and spacious in its delivery but hard-hitting at the core of what they do. From early singles to Radio 1 playlists, their new EP ‘Closer’ is a line in the ground for where they go next and a natural statement of ambition. Out on Friday (October 20th), it strips away any barriers that may be up and weaves a magic air of stardust that has you spellbound as soon as Emma’s voice glides across their stunning soundscapes. Whether it’s ‘Further’, ‘Living Under You’, the blossoming moment of release in closer ‘Too Close’ or latest number ‘Forget About It All’ - there’s a magic there that can’t be pinned down. Like London Grammar lit with a fizzing bright light that shines out in the night sky, Arctic Lake have everything it takes to reach thousands right in the gut.
Their spell-binding tales will come to London’s The Waiting Room on October 27th, but until then we’ve decided to delve deep with Emma, Andy and Paul to get the lowdown on everything Arctic Lake. Check the Bites you need to have on your fact sheet below, right after the tasty starter course of ‘Forget About It All’.
When they first met at University they started playing together quite quickly, but the music they were making was pretty much the opposite of the delicate tones you hear now
Paul: We played quite loud stuff in the beginning which seems really strange looking back now! We were definitely all friends first, I remember Andy and myself asking Emma to be in a band with us after a few too many at the SU one night – ‘Messy Monday’s’ if I remember correctly…
Individually, their musical influences are quite far apart - coming together to form their own mix
Emma: We all had a very different beginnings with regards to music. When we met, Paul was very much into his rock music, Andy was into his sixties and psych and I mainly sang jazz. As you can imagine our first sound was really confused but somehow we came to this quiet restrained music, it just seemed to write itself and we’ve never looked back.
Arctic Lake live on constant experimentation, something that has grown their sound naturally over the years to where they are today - oh, and Paul’s hair has definitely played its part too
Andy: Its feels like Arctic Lake is constantly evolving, which is what makes the band so invigorating. We're always experimenting with new sounds and ideas. To be honest with you the biggest change has got to be Paul's hair. It started off with this short and spikey cut, but now he's got this long Game of Throne-esque mane which I think really affects his playing. Just like his new barnet, his chords have also grown longer, more brooding and whimsical.
We need to be in an Arctic Lake car journey, just for the sheer joy of blaring Queen extremely loudly - together it sounds pretty bloody amazing
Andy: Overall I think a common interest in music is really important as bandmates- especially on car journeys because we're all happy to listen to the same music on the way to shows. I should probably tell you that we listen to super hip underground Icelandic music, but to be honest on most car journeys we listen to Queen.. Emma used to have a crush on Freddie Mercury when she was like 5, I love the drum fills, and Paul loves to sing the choruses real loud on the M25.
New EP ‘Closer’ is something the three of them spent a lot of time working over in order to get just right, capturing a moment and a memory in the songs they create
Paul: It’s definitely a snapshot of the time that we wrote it, listening to the songs always reminds me of everything that was happening at the time. The entire process from start to finish took quite some time but the writing actually happened really quickly, we went and stayed in a remote cottage near the coast just to hide away with no distractions, which was exactly what we needed really. The actual production took a lot longer, some tracks came together quickly but on a few such as Too Close we had to re-write most of the song, and then kept putting parts on, taking them off and couldn’t decide on how we wanted it to sound. I think we had 6 different mixes of that song – thanks to our producer Matt and mixer Chris for being patient with us!
They’re particularly excited by the music being made at this very moment, finding inspiration from a vast array of genres
Emma: Aaaaah, there is just so much amazing music happening at the moment! In general we really love artists like Bon Iver, Sampha and Bat For Lashes, but quite honestly we listen to everything. I wouldn’t be able to pick out even a group of acts who provided inspiration to us because our tastes are so varied; there is something beautiful rooted within each and every genre. That being said we really admire people like Aquilo, they are making stunning music and it is reaching so many people, their footsteps wouldn’t be so bad to follow in.
Arctic Lake are dreaming big, but rooted in working for every moment
Paul: The dreamers in us want to play stadiums around the world, headline Glastonbury etc. (maybe one day!), but for now we just want to keep pushing ourselves to make the best music we can and help it reach as many people as possible.
‘A couple’ with Arctic Lake in the North, can end in a story that can’t *exactly* be remembered fully
Emma: We were rehearsing up North and went out for a couple; we began by throwing shapes to Britney, casually floor sliding and climbing trees but the night descended into madness followed by a huge argument that we don’t remember but fortunately filmed via social media. Yeah, that was a low.. Unsurprisingly I lost my voice and we didn’t rehearse.
If they were a meal, Arctic Lake would be…
Andy: Hmmm, I've been thinking about this one all day and can't seem to settle on one choice. I mean the obvious contenders would be an Arctic Roll, or a vast amount of Ice Cream - they're cold and icy, and if you have too much, you'll probably end up crying - but I think they may be a little too 'inside the box'. A friend told me that it could only be Crème Brûlée, to which I affirmed it had be my Mum's Raspberry Pavalova, due to the fragility and lightness of the glacier-resembling meringue, contrasted by the pure and natural element of the raspberries sitting atop.
What comes next, is something they’re extremely excited by - even if there’s nerves in opening themselves up
Emma: It is always pretty scary releasing new music, you put so much energy and hope into it and the doubts really kick in the whole way along, you leave yourself vulnerable when you release it... but you just have to keep faith that others will connect with it. We would be nowhere without our fans, so to everyone who listens - you are amazing.
We’re pretty confident that connection is going to grow and grow to a whole heap of people that’s for sure. ‘Closer’ is out on Friday (October 20th) with the band headlining The Waiting Room in London on October 27th. You’d be one of them blooming fools if you missed it.
Give all this a try
Walthamstow's Olivia comfort in music more so than Dean wears her heart on her sleeve; every tune an introspective masterclass in storytelling.
New year, new music.
A rare bright point in a pretty damn difficult year, BENEE's arrival has been a serotonin shot in the arm. With her debut album finally here, the future looks brighter already.
The wait for shame's second album may seem to have lasted longer than it actually has. as they stand on the edge of a huge 2021, we get ready for a record that isn't supposed to be funny, but...
Like this? Subscribe to Dork
and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.