Say hello to London four-piece, ISLAND.
London four-piece ISLAND release their debut album ‘Feels Like Air’ in April; it's a rich opus that relishes in freedom and escape. It also sees them head out on a big old UK tour this spring, including a night at London’s KOKO.
Hey Toby, are you guys enjoying 2018 so far? What’ve you been up to?
Being the year of our debut album, we welcomed 2018 with open arms! As weird as it may sound, we’ve been working on new music already this year. It’s nice to get the creative juices flowing after a long Christmas break. We’ve also been prepping for the release of the third single from the album - ‘Ride’ - which we’re especially excited to share with the world.
Congrats on finishing your debut album - what was the creative process like? Were there lots of ups and downs?
Thanks. The creative process is very much varied with us - ideas always come from the most bizarre and unexpected places, usually forming into a song quickly, but it’s the structure and detail that we spend so much time trying to nail. It’s the same in the studio - we get completely hooked on the tiniest little elements of the tracks/mixes, which inevitably comes with huge ups and downs, but in the end, that’s how we achieve exactly what we’re aiming for.
Was this your first time having a bash at writing a full-length?
Yeah, it was. Having released two EPs and one double single so far, it was refreshing to have the opportunity work on a full body of work. Initially when we’d decided we were going to write an album, we didn’t have much of a purpose, and as a result, the writing process was bit slow and stale. However, after lots of time spent on the road touring, listening to loads of great albums while travelling through Europe and the UK, we realised we wanted to make a record that could soundtrack any type of journey - be it in a car, plane, train etc. With this theme of ‘driving’, everything started taking shape and the songs kind of fell into place in a very short period.
Did your aims for the record evolve much while putting it together?
We decided early on what the track-list was going to be, and we knew we wanted to capture everything as live as possible - so we quite literally went into the studio and played the record from start to finish together, as we would a live show. Having laid the foundations of the energy and vibe, we then overdubbed a few bits here and there to bring out some more clarity and generally polish things up a bit. At times we thought about adding to the instrumentation on a few tracks, but ultimately we wanted the whole record to translate exactly from the recordings to the live show. Production-wise, we definitely pushed ourselves in order to really step things up from our previous work. We were careful not to overdo anything though, to make sure the record would still have a raw and natural feel to it.
What lyrical themes do you cover across the release? Are any tracks especially personal?
Rollo is mainly the man behind the lyrics, but I think it would be fair to say that the record definitely touches on a few common themes. Of course in fitting with the whole driving theme, all the songs are imagined as if from the point of view of a passenger on a journey. I think the last tune on the album - ‘Lilyflower’ - is Rollo’s most personal, and it’s also the only acoustic track.
What else do you guys have planned for the next few months?
As well as continuing to work on lots of new music, we will, of course, be hitting the road again soon to play lots of shows around the UK and Europe. The tour will lead up to our biggest headline show to date at KOKO in London, which is going to a huge highlight for us. We’re also in the process of booking festivals for the summer, and hoping to get over to some exciting new countries & cities.
Headlining KOKO must feel nuts, have you seen any notable gigs there before?
It does feel completely nuts! When we first started playing together, I always said that KOKO was one of my dream venues to play, so it’s a huge honour to be able to headline there. I’ve seen so many great acts there before, but I think the most recent highlight was Cigarettes After Sex. I’m pretty sure they invented the word ‘vibe’.
ISLAND’s debut album ‘Feels Like Air’ is out 6th April. Taken from the March issue of Dork - order your copy below.