Get to know... Curse of Lono

Credit: Isy Townsend

There's a new album on the way from London alt-rock outfit Curse of Lono. 'People In Cars' is set for release on 19th November via Submarine Cat Records, and promises a poignant, cinematic listen for fans and newcomers alike.

Recorded throughout lockdown during a period of devastating loss and grief, the new record displays a new side to Curse of Lono, one calmer, quieter and and more personal than ever. Captivated by lead single 'Let Your Love Rain Down On Me, we caught up with the band to chat about the story behind 'People In Cars' and what's on the horizon for Curse of Lono.

Hello! You’ve just announced a new album, tell us a bit about it?

Hi there. The new album is called ‘People In Cars’. It’s produced by Oli Bayston (Spiritualized, Teleman, Boxed In) and engineered by Iain Berryman (Wolf Alice, Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon). We started recording it during lockdown last year and finished it early this year. It’s a bit more spaced out than our previous records. It was a weird time to make a album but I’m really happy with it.

Your new track ‘Let Your Love Rain Down On Me’ has given us a glimmer of what’s in store, would you say it’s a good representation of the sound of the rest of the album?

Definitely. It’s quite a varied record but this gives you a really good idea of what to expect.

You recorded the album during lockdown, how was that? Do you think it’s resulted in a change in your sound/songwriting?

It was a very different experience to our last album. I was in the studio with Oli and Iain and the other guys had to come in one by one to lay down their parts. It was pretty tough for the band but it allowed me to make a more spaced out and intimate sounding record. The writing process was different as well. I did a lot of stream of consciousness writing. I lost my Dad in April last year and the experience of holding his hand as he passed was a hard one to write about. I lost my uncle a month later and an ex partner of five and a half years three months after that. I was too raw to consciously turn those emotions into songs so I would just grab a pen and start writing anything that came into my head. I wrote three pages of stuff a week after my Dad passed. A few months later I sat down at the piano and turned those words into the song ‘Man Down’. The last track on the album ‘Timeslipping’ is another example. I just pressed record on my little dictaphone and started singing anything that came into my head. None of it was planned. I think the demo was twenty-two minutes long. I was exhausted when I was done. The next day I listened back and started editing it down. It’s still over nine minutes long but I love it. It captured the moment and my emotions in a way that my conscious brain couldn’t.

Which is your personal favourite of these new tracks?

It changes every day but ‘Let Your Love Rain Down On Me’, ‘Steppin’ Out’ and ‘Ursula Andress’ are always near the top of the list.

Where did you look for inspiration during the writing process? Are there any other artists you’d say had an impact on the way it sounds?

When I started writing the album before the pandemic life was great. We had just come off an incredible headline tour, things were good at home and I was in a great place. I got really into using photography books to get into writing mode. The pictures suggest a narrative and a vibe and sometimes that can start a chain reaction. My favourites for this album were ‘Tulsa’ by Larry Clark, ‘Young Love’ by Ewen Spencer and ‘People In Cars’ by Mike Mandel, which the album is named after. When the first lockdown happened, things changed rapidly. Life became very insular and I was surrounded by death and grief. Hence the stream of consciousness writing and the more pensive and considered tone of the album. I’ve never sung so quietly before. It just felt like it wasn’t the right time to make a racket. As far as other artists go, I was listening to a lot of Lambchop, Khruangbin, Yo La Tengo, The National. That sort of stuff. I’m sure that rubbed off on me as well.

The new music scene is as strong as ever, who are some breakthrough artists you’ve had your eye on recently?

There’s a new female singer songwriter called Belot, who I really rate. Quirky, alternative, bedroom pop with an edge. I’m also totally obsessed with Willie J Healey but he’s probably broken through already.

Anyone particular you’d like to have join you on tour later this year?

Tess Parks features on the album so I’d love to get her over from Canada to join the madness. I wish John Murry could join us again but he’s got his own tour in November.

What’s next for Curse of Lono? Any surprises in store?

Yes. But they are surprises so I can’t tell you too much. We are talking about releasing a colouring book and an ambient spoken word piece but let’s see how the music connects first.