Described by NME as ‘Manchester’s best kept secret’ Lowline have taken on the baton from classic sounding Manchester bands, and taken it somewhere entirely new by creating their own distinctive coda; uplifting songs with dark undertones, a sound perfectly capturing the vibe of their home city.
After releasing the album ‘Lowline‘, the band have started something which they intend to take to the masses – Andy Hewitt dropped by the Live4ever Ezine to talk us through the rise of the band, and the various moves they have made while getting there.
Congratulations on your self titled album, we at Live4ever love it, as do the rest of the music press which has given the album some fantastic reviews.
Yeah, it seems to have gone down well. Reviews aren’t the reason you start playing or recording but it would be a lie to say we’re not flattered by a certain amount of attention.
Stand out tunes like ‘Sound of Music’ and ‘Outside’, you can hear the influences in there but you know you’re hearing some thing new. Did you have a good idea what you were after sound-wise before going into the studio?
Because of the way things were with us we did a lot of touring before we started the album properly, so it was just a case of capturing the power and urgency of a live show and adding to it. It all came pretty easy in the end once we were able to get into a studio, it took a lot of hard work to get to that point though.
Lowline are more than comfortable being influenced by Manchester’s musical past, unlike movements like ‘Fuc 51’ who reject Factory bands like Joy Division and their past/influence. Your album sort of sticks two fingers up to all that wouldn’t you say?
Like anything I think you have to embrace the past, absorb and learn from anything that leaves an impression on you, then make it work yourself. Not a great deal of thought went into our sound, we didn’t sit down and discuss what we should sound like, but that doesn’t mean subconsciously we weren’t influenced by The Chameleons or someone like that. We’re proud to be from Manchester but it’s no musical badge of honour, you have to earn that yourself.
The Lowline website states, “in voluntary hiatus caused by simultaneous accidents to both guitarist Andy Hewitt and vocalist Robbie Rush resulting in hospital treatment to both,” what’s the story behind this bad luck?
We were a couple of weeks shy of going into the studio and I smashed my shoulder up in Germany. It was a bit of a mess so I ended up needing a couple of operations. About a week or so later Robbie severed the tendons in his hand. It set us back a couple of months unfortunately, but we managed to write ‘All Your Scares’ and ‘Suicide’ during that period so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
Tell me the thoughts behind the warehouse gigs the band played in Salford and Ancoats. Kind of similar to what The Stone Roses did in 1985 around Manchester.
It was just a really great building we were rehearsing in at the time and we managed to convince the owner it would be a good idea. We got a taste for playing a different type of venue after that, realising you don’t always have to make someone else money just to do a gig. As long as the sound was good and the people turned up that was all that mattered to us.
What’s a Lowline gig like?
We like to go on late to give everyone a chance to get warm. The sound is massively important as we want people to feel it as we hear it. To try sum it up; raucous, powerful and relentless.
You financed the album from funds from a lengthy European tour. Was this to gain more control over the making of the album?
Ultimately yes, but we didn’t have any other options. The initial label we were with went bust so we were out on out own again. Our original producer went AWOL with half of the album recordings, so we had to start again as we wanted a cohesive album – not one that was cobbled together from different sessions.
As a result we found that we were completely in control of everything; where to record, who with, the tunes, the order and what to do it with, the only had part was getting the money together to do it, which took a long time but made the album more of a achievement. It’s not the story of a month in a studio – it’s the story of years working and scraping, saving, rehearsing, touring, recording, mistakes, failures and ultimately achievement.
Oasis producer Owen Morris and Nick McCabe, who was the sound of The Verve, are both fans and have been involved. What does it mean to the band to be working with such names?
Yeah, we had some great rehearsals with Nick, a couple of gigs and recorded a tune. Unfortunately we only have a rough monitor mix such were the circumstances so we were never able to release it. Owen was great with us and gave us the opportunity to believe in ourselves, there is a fine line between genius and insanity and he walks it with a lot of success, we learnt a lot from him.
Any more single releases to come from the album?
Absolutely, Jagz Kooner is mixing ‘Disco Killers’ as we speak, so we’re really excited to hear the finished article. We are planning a full release over here and again in the States to hopefully earn the album another day in the sun.