Lake Komo Interview


Photo by Jay Theis
Photo by Jay Theis


What do you all you guys do in the band first of all?

Jay: I’m lead singer and play guitar.

Maxwell: Percussion!

Gareth: I’m on Euphonium.

How did you all meet and get together as a band?

Maxwell: Typical story really, we were sat at an open mic night and Jay got up and afterwards I suggested starting a band! Gareth I know from college as well so I got him involved.

Jay: I’ve been playing music for a good while but I kind of stopped playing when I came to uni until I decided to write some songs more recently which is where a lot of our material has come from.

Where did the name come from?

Jay: We started playing a lot of open mic nights and as more people joined we realised we needed a name but it was difficult to think of something for a while. It’s hard to find a name no one else has got or stands out so we felt Lake Komo was pretty unique. It’s actually a river in Italy in an area where lots of rich people live, which isn’t necessarily what we want to be associated with! But it’s stuck now and we feel it stands out from the crowd.

What made you decide to pick such an eccentric mix of instruments?

Maxwell: Harmonica just happened, it had to happen.

Jay: Euphonium is just a bit different, and we feel we needed that to stand out as the standard of campus bands is so high.

Who are your main inspirations?

Jay: Mumford and Sons have definitely done us a favour, they’ve pushed folk into the public eye. That’s really given us a hand. I’m not inspired by them personally but we’re in that category of course. I’m actually a big Ben Howard fan and City and Colour are also great.

Gareth: Our musical backgrounds are different really. I have a very much more classical background than the others, playing in brass bands and the like. It means we weren’t all thinking about thrash metal!

Would you say folk is something you all agreed on?

Jay: It was just a case of me saying these are the songs I’ve got and do you want to play really. We did all agree on some level. It is folk essentially but we have other interests and we don’t want to place ourselves too solidly in that area. We have a huge interest in electronic music as well like Radiohead.

So how did you sign yourselves up for the Kerrang Unsigned Longue Award?

Jay: We made a twitter during Battle of the Bands and a tumblr and a facebook and added people including Kerrang. We saw this competition and signed up after winning the final of Battle of the Bands. We unexpectedly got through to the last 16, that was an interesting morning! We had a bit of a conversation with them over the phone.

Gareth: It was a really crazy time, everything happened really quickly!

Jay: We then needed public votes when we were in the last 16 to get into the top 8. We just set about getting votes, but I don’t want to shove this band in anyone’s face. However, I knew that we needed some attention so we tried to publicise ourselves as much as possible.  Of course we got into the top 8. There were 2,500 votes and we had around 500 which went beyond my expectations. Lancaster has given us so much support!

When did you play in Birmingham?

Jay : That was when we were in the top 8 and it was really all down to us again to impress the judges. I wasn’t bothered about winning, this was a great point to get to. There’s always something bigger and it’s hard to say how high it’s going to go.

You’ve got this contact with Kerrang now, where are you hoping this is going to take the band?

Maxwell: We’ll be speaking to someone next time we go to Kerrang, it’s all up in the air a bit at the moment. We’ll be involved with the academy’s as well which are all around the country. We can’t go into too much detail but we got more than the original prize for winning.

Jay: They seem very keen to make something of us and the next trip to Birmingham will be an important one. Probably more important than the last!

What’s the dream then for a few years time?

Jay: It’s clichéd, but it’s not about money for me. To a degree it is of course, I’d like enough money to tour the US or something.

Gareth: I just want to play my euphonium to people that aren’t used to hearing it really, getting that style into the public eye. If people notice it more I’ll feel we’ve achieved something.

Maxwell: It’s a collective goal really, we don’t all have different dreams. The mainstream fame is not something we’re really interested in. When you have sound guys asking what a euphonium is I feel that’s when it gets interesting.

The euphonium is a really interesting choice…

Gareth: I have to say, in all the years I’ve been playing, I’ve never seen anyone play outside of a brass band. I’ve had to take a step back from the music I’m used to playing and learn to mix with different music.

Thank you guys it’s been really great to speak with and I wish you every success in the future!


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