I have been speaking with Lost Cousins...
about their new single, Stay, and how it came together. I was keen to know how the band found one another and what the story is; if there is going to be more material coming through and whether there are going to be some tour dates approaching.
The guys talks to me about some rising artists to watch and the advice they’d give to approaching musicians; how they chill away from music – they reveal which people they’d like as ‘lost cousins’ if they could choose anyone in the world.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Our week’s been great! It’s been a little hectic between preparing for some upcoming shows and being consumed by the process of releasing new music - and a few other cool things we’ve been cooking up - but we’re excited to share our new material.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Of course! We’re Lost Cousins; a four-piece Psych-Rock band from Toronto, Canada. People have described our sound as a mix between Tame Impala, Local Natives; Washed Out and My Morning Jacket. Lots of big ambient textures but with a big dynamic range and driving rhythms.
Stay is your new single. Is there a story behind it?
There is a subtle story behind Stay. It’s about moving away from somewhere that you love to a new, unfamiliar place. Our drummer and singer Cam moved across the country when he was a kid and our band moved to a new city right after school, so the song sort of touches on both of those experiences. The lyrics are about sitting in the backseat of a car and staring at the changing scenery that passes while awaiting a new beginning.
Might there be more material coming next year?
We have another new single coming out on November 23rd and our debut album, In Scenery, is scheduled for Feb. 1st release!
I believe there is an interesting story behind the formation of Lost Cousins. Can you elaborate…?
Lost Cousins stemmed originally from the name of one of our songs. The group started as a project that gained and lost members through a ‘friend of a friend’-type system and was gaining new fans solely through playing shows. We had virtually no music online and so the band was facilitated entirely through friend groups. Due to the fact that the group started in university, each one of us had moved from a different city and ended up playing music together in another.
I think, because we all left friends and family in our respective homes, we felt a sense of new community, but also the loss of another. The name ‘Lost Cousins’ came from those feelings. People always say to us “Hey. I have some cousins I haven’t heard from in years” and that sort of explains what the band name means – feeling connected to people outside of your physical environment, who you might not have communicated with in a while. It’s that sense of community (whether near or far) that helped our group form initially.
Do you share similar tastes? Who are you inspired by?
We do have similar tastes; which is helpful when we are arranging our music, but naturally there will always be some differences in what we listen to and draw inspiration from. We tend to be most inspired by experimentation and uniqueness. Bands or artists that create sounds never heard before are huge inspirations for us and have shaped and directed our own ambitions in producing our music. We really admire and strive toward the intersection of enticing melodies or progressions that are supported by creative production ideas and innovative textures and sounds.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
We hope that our longtime fans can enjoy and resonate with our new music and that we can connect with some new people by the end of 2018. Since our first ‘single’ and E.P. in 2015, we only released one song before Mindmaker came out this year. We’re unbelievably stoked to finally share what we’ve been working on.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
As mentioned, our debut album comes out in February. Other than that; we plan to hit the road, take to the air and never come back.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Cam: On a personal level; we played at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa earlier this year and the acoustics blew me away. Everyone was seated listening to us (which is often not the case) and were therefore really attention to what we were playing. The sound could not have been better in that room and I was extremely happy to share our live sound in that setting. I’m also from Ottawa originally so it was a special night for me. I think, as a band, one of our first festival performances sticks out for sure.
Also - we played at the inaugural Wayhome Music and Arts Festival, which has since fizzled out of existence but it was an extremely cool festival north of Toronto run by the same team that puts on Bonnaroo. That show sticks out because we played to about 1000 people and, before that, our biggest audience had probably been about 200.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
We actually only have singles released before this, so our debut album will and does mean the most to us.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I think, if we could support any musician today, it would probably be either M83 or Local Natives – we’ve listened to those bands for ages now and would love the opportunity to play alongside them.
We’re not too picky with riders, but we do have this one thing going on where we ask for a Tide to Go Stick and then purposefully spill on ourselves before the set in order to make good use of it. Rituals.
Given the band’s name; if you each found out you had a long-lost cousin, who would you want that to be and why?
Cam: I would have to say some iconic producer/artist like Brian Eno.
Lloyd: I tried to think of something hypothetical but all I could think of was a real story that just happened - I actually was recently fortunate enough to connect and meet up with a second-cousin who moved to Toronto in September. We had met once when we were five and seven-years-old or so but had never met or even had a conversion prior to a month ago. He also happens to be a great musician and has started his Master’s in Musicology at the very same school in which I’m doing my PhD in Music Education.
Thomas: The music nerd in me wants to say Dave Smith - an early innovator in synthesizer design and manufacturing. I spend a huge chunk of my time obsessing over my synth keyboard possessions, and to meet the man who created them in the first place would be a dream come true. But, if we took that a step further and he was actually my cousin...?! (Smiles).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
We’re still in the middle of figuring all this stuff out too, but our advice would be to play lots of shows; meet as many new people as you can, and really try to connect with them. If you believe in your music, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and just go for it.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Within the next month we’re playing plenty in Canada - specifically in Montreal, Ottawa; Kingston and Toronto. We’ll be doing a lot more playing once the album has been unleashed on the world.
IN THIS PHOTO: Close Talker/PHOTO CREDIT: Jono Bernstein
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Here are a few we came up with:
Close Talker - we’ve toured with these guys and they are an insane live band. Their records are awesome and get better with each listen. Highly recommend this Canadian band!
Adrianne Lenker - not necessarily new because she also happens to be the lead singer of Big Thief but her solo record, abysskiss, is amazing and perfect for fall/winter vibes.
argonaut&wasp - great Dance-Rock duo from Brooklyn we’ve connected with a few times when we’ve been in N.Y.C.
The Brandy Alexanders - smalltown Canadian band with a big-time Psychedelic, Indie-Pop sound.
IN THIS PHOTO: Adrianna Lenker
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We do spend a lot of time together, but we all kind of have our own lives and ways to get away from the music outside of the band. We like to play Settlers of Catan a lot and going to see other artists is really cathartic for us. A few of us like to read and write which we find is a great way to remove yourself from the stresses of life.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Cam: Letting Go by Wild Nothing
Lloyd: out of your mind by Adrianne Lenker
Thomas: Only a Shadow by The Cleaners From Venus
Follow Lost Cousins