Featuring former members of The Defiled, Amen, No Devotion, and The Ataris: Lowlives have had a really impressive year since they have formed. Firstly, they have passed 45,000 streams on Spotify of their single ‘Burn Forever’, as well as performing a session for the Radio 1 Rock Show, and even selling out their first London headline show.
The alt-rock supergroup is releasing their debut EP Burn Forever on Friday, August 31st, with the vinyl version coming out on September 21st.
We caught up with vocalist Lee Villain to talk about the EP, as well as the formation of the band.
How does it feel to finally be getting the EP out? It feels like it has been a long time coming.
Lee Villain (Vocals): It’s definitely been a long time coming, myself and Luke started writing together in November 2016 so we’ve been raring to go for a while now. We also finished the album 8 months ago so we’ve been sat on a lot of material. Can’t wait to finally get out there and play some shows
You are self-releasing this EP, is this to basically cut out the “middleman” of picking a label and be fully in control of your music and vision for the band? How was the writing process for this release?
Not really, we are just taking our time sorting the right deal for us. We figured in the meantime let’s just release a couple of songs on a limited edition vinyl to keep people going until we release the record.
I bet it was gutting when The Used had to cancel your first tour, personally I thought it was amazing how fans rallied round to help you fill the UK shows! How did they go down at such short notice and what was the reception?
Lee- It was truly amazing how people got behind us and helped us out of such a ridiculously bad situation. We were obviously already over from Los Angeles and were already en route to the first show in Stockholm. We were in Belgium when we got told it was off. It was unreal the number of friends in the industry old and new that came to our aid though. We ended up booking like 13 shows in a row so more shows that we had booked before the Used dates got cancelled.
Kind of turned a negative into a huge positive. Four guys from quite different musical backgrounds – did you consciously aim for the style that Lowlives became or did it all come together organically?
Lee- I think it came together pretty organically. Even when I was doing the Defiled I was always writing these kinda punk/grungy songs on the side. It’s always been more natural writing this kinda stuff, I guess it seeped into me as it’s kinda like stuff I grew up listening to as a kid. That’s where me and Luke clicked writing-wise as we both grew up obsessing over bands like the smashing pumpkins, early Foo Fighters, Alice in chains and Weezer, so it was very natural for us to write. We didn’t make a conscious effort when we started writing together to make Songs in that kinda vein. It’s just what came out
I have to be honest here as a massive Defiled fan I was sceptical at how your vocals would fit in Lee with this kind of music but now having heard it, it seems as though you have settled in with no problems. Is this something you have always wanted to explore. Was it you (Lee) who picked the other members or again did it just come together organically?
It’s kinda always how I’ve sung, I haven’t changed my voice or anything, I just don’t growl anymore and a lot of the Defiled was just screaming. I always used to get told by fans of the Defiled that my voice had that kinda grungy thing going on….definitely feels nice to not be screaming as much.
Memberwise me and Luke had been friends through social media for a while as we were both brits living in LA. We started talking online and he asked how the band was going and I said we split up and I was working on something different and I’m looking for a killer drummer. We clicked instantly and so we started talking about who else would be up for doing it and he said he had a pal called Steve who was a wicked bass player and the best guy…we contemplated doing it as a 3 piece for a while but we just really wanted that extra layer…again me and Jax just knew each other through social media as he did a record with Beau Burchell who we did Burn Forever with (and did the rest of the record too). I messaged and said would you wanna come to try out, sent him loads of songs and he turned up and nailed all of em. Before we even finished the first song we knew he was the last piece we had been looking for. Dude can shred! Feels amazing being in a band with 3 guys that are unreal players
Has the move to the USA kind of affected your mood/ writing style? Or was it a case of just all of you wanting a change?
Lee- yeh I think it definitely did when I first moved and was still doing the Defiled. It’s hard to write angry songs when the sun is out and people are happy. LA doesn’t influence my writing in a positive way though…there’s a lot of people that move out here to find fame so there’s a lot of people trying to fuck everyone else over to get ahead. A problem I found is there’s sooooo many bands out here that just whack on a shit ton of makeup and play to an insane amount of backing tracks. Almost everything is on track. I wanted to make a band that is the antithesis of that. No tricks, no tracks, no fucking autotune. What you hear is 4 guys playing their hearts out and if it’s sloppy then it’s sloppy. Punk rock isn’t meant to be perfect.
So what’s next for Lowlives?
The EP comes out [on vinyl] September 21st, after that we will be touring our asses off and releasing our debut record
The Burn Forever EP is available on August 31st, vinyl edition released on September 21st.