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Lamb Interview


Having just witnessed a magnificent performance by Lamb in Manchester and while my performance review is being concluded I offer this interview from 2003.

London, 24th October, 2003

To coincide with the band’s latest and greatest album, BETWEEN DARKNESS AND WONDER, we interviewed Lou Rhodes to find out more about the album’s creation. Lou also talked about the band’s musical journey, and hopes for the future. We at Shakenstir believe that the new album will lead to securing the broader audience the band seeks and deserves.

I included your last album in our list of the best albums of the year. But it seemed to me that it did not receive the recognition it deserved (i.e. radio or TV airplay, award nomination…). It was beautiful, distinctive, and very accessible. So what do you think are the reasons why it didn’t succeed as it should have done? Or perhaps it met your expectations?

No, it definitely did not meet our expectations. I think it was because it was a timing thing. It kinda came out and disappeared in a way because of all the shake-ups in the record company at the time. I think it didn’t get the kind of promotion that it needed. It just fell into the record shops and people who wanted it bought it. It just didn’t happen. So that was quite frustrating but I think it was just a timing issue really.

Did you feel disappointed at the time?

Yes, because we really did feel it was a really strong album and we wanted it to get out there to people. And it’s really difficult with our kind of music because we’re not the sort of band that get on mainstream radio and that’s one way to sell albums. You just need to be a bit more creative when promoting our stuff and there was people getting fired all over the place when the album came out. So it was really bad timing.

Following up from that would you say that commercial success is a major factor for you in the production of a record?

Not really for us. I guess it’s a kind of necessary evil (laughs). Our main concern is making music that we love and I guess the only way we can sustain that is for people to keep buying records. I do get a bit frustrated with the fact that we are still kind of in a ghetto. I think our music has the potential to reach a lot broader population. I think there’s a misapprehension as to what Lamb is out there. A lot of people haven’t heard of us, and if they have they say ‘aren’t you kind of trip-hop…?’ The people who do a lot of our press issued a press kit including ‘20 things you didn’t know about Lamb‘ thing. And most people called her back and said, ‘wow, they’re young, we thought they were travellers…‘ People have weird conceptions of what Lamb is. It’s just strange - a lot of people say, ‘yeah, I’ve heard of you and I think I should have heard your music but I don’t know it…‘ There seems to be a kind of block in people actually getting to hear of us… So succinctly, commercial success is not a great concern but reaching a broader audience definitely would be very nice. We’ve been doing this for a long time and you would expect more people would have been able to hear us by now…

Your new album is a natural, progressive and excellent follow-up. What are your hopes, aspirations for it?

I guess more of what I was saying just now. I would like to kind of break out of the ghetto a little bit. There’s a price you pay with that. I think one of the things is that our fans are really, really devout followers. We get emails to the site and many are really incredible and moving. Some of it is really extreme stuff, like life and death stuff. And I do kind of wonder if we reached a broader audience whether some of those people would feel like we weren’t theirs any more; that we kinda sold out… so there is that kind of consideration. But I don’t want to live in a ghetto for the rest of my existence and I’m really proud of it as an album. And when you’re proud of it, you just want to show it to the world.

Tell me about the meaning of the new album’s title.

Well it’s partly because there is a song on the album called Darkness (laughs). I guess we wanted a title that kind of left people intrigued, to draw people in… I guess the lyrics are kind of enigmatic in some ways. And also the thing with the album is that (something I’m really proud of) it’s very human, it’s just very honest in the way it deals with the human experience - I hope. I think people in the past have thought ‘oh God, Lamb are so happy all the time…‘ And this album actually deals with the darker sides of existence as well, the sort of shadow stuff that a lot of us don’t want to look at. And it deals with those extremes and hopefully highlights the whole thing that without darkness there isn’t light, and visa versa. You don’t see the wonder of the world unless you’ve seen the darkness in it.

There seems to be more emphasis and clarity in the vocals on the new album. Could you tell me about this?

Yes. We’ve been on a bit of a journey with the vocals, with the relationship between vocals and the music. I think there’s been a lot said in the press about the arguments between Andy and I - I mean when we formed Andy came from an instrumental/electronic-based background. To him, at that stage, vocals were just another instrument and he always had this thing about each instrument is okay but you have to get them to shut-up. I think that’s how he felt about vocals - that there was a place for vocals but you have to get them to shut-up as well. And to give the electronic music space, and so on… And of course there was always this conflict because I came from a song writing background and so for me the journey of the song was the most important thing. But for him, getting all the sounds that he wanted into the soundscape was key. We couldn’t cram all that in.

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Manchester 2009 - Gallery: The All-American Rejects
The All-American Rejects

Live - Gallery: Eric Clapton 2
Eric Clapton 2 Live - Gallery: Chrissie Hynde
Chrissie Hynde
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