Singer/guitarist Mike Duce checks in from the studio, where the Watford quartet have been tracking what feels like the album that saved their career…
Hertfordshire rockers Lower Than Atlantis are putting the finishing touches to fifth album, Safe In Sound, set for release next year.
They’ve also announced their biggest UK headline tour to date - including a stop at London’s historic Brixton Academy - so 2017 is shaping up to be a busy one. But, as Mike Duce explains, it’s felt like the most challenging time for the band he started in 2007…
“Over the [Changing Tune] album cycle, we were dropped by Island Records, our manager left us… it felt like no one cared about our band anymore! I was working on a couple of songs that I’d written for other people, but in the end I thought, ‘Lets make an album, we’ve got nothing to lose!’ At the end of the day, it beats working in an office!”
Work For It
If new single Work For It sounds like LTA are showing their heavier side, that’s partly down to the gear used. Historically, Duce has sworn by his Strats and custom First Acts, but to get the right tones for their latest single, it finally felt like time to go full fat…
“The new single was recorded on a Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier,” he grins. “I don’t use American gain, it’s not really my thing. I actually used a seven-string for it and it wasn’t cutting through on anything else - it sounded too muddy.
“Funnily enough, the guitar I used was the signature Jackson by a guy who played in Fear Factory for a bit [the Christian Olde Wolbers model]. I’m not big on the band, though! I’m not really a metal player - I bought it to write something heavy, and that was the first thing that came out.”
Back to ours
To streamline the recording process, the Watford quartet tracked the majority of the guitars clean in their own studio, opting to re-amp at a later stage.
“You can focus more on playing and worry about the tonal stuff later on,” continues Duce.
“It’s almost more annoying knowing you can do anything these days, you can lose a lot of time wondering what to do and how to go about it. We wanted to get a really good clean sound - concentrating on things like the right pickup selection.”
And naturally, having their own studio afforded the band new creative luxuries…
“We’re very lucky,” admits Duce. “You never really feel free recording in other places. You know you are paying an extortionate amount of money to be there. You don’t want to be £100k in the red, you won’t make it back unless you’re Justin Bieber!
“Our old label who were supposed to release the album basically said they didn’t care, we could take the advance and leave. So we were like, ‘Thanks and fuck you,’ and took it. We built the studio with it… which is basically the dream for any musician!”
Safe In Sound is out on 3 February 2017.