The Lathums are the latest unstoppable force in British music, and on 24th September their debut album ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’ will drop. It is perhaps one of the most hotly anticipated debut records of the last decade. Produced by James Skelly and Chris Taylor at Liverpool’s legendary Parr Street studios, the album will feature several fan favourites from ‘Fight On’ to the ‘The Great Escape’ along with many new tracks for fans to get their teeth into. To understand the significance of The Lathums, we have to go somewhat back in time.
It’s been over 15 years since Arctic Monkeys released their seminal debut album ‘Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not’. Not since the mid-nineties had we seen a British band rise to the top of the tree so quickly and emphatically. Arguably more significant than the rise itself was the manner in which they achieved this success – the sharing of tracks over Myspace through early adopters set the wheels in motion and led to the band gaining massive popularity across the country even before the release of their debut album, which unsurprisingly shot straight to number one and became the fastest selling debut album in UK history. You can draw direct parallels with the rise of The Lathums. A band driven by people power; an unassuming tight knit group with an eye for writing the classics of the future.
Only time will tell if their forthcoming debut album ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’ can hit the heights expected; although if I was a betting man, I’d be certain to lump on. A sold-out debut UK tour off the back of just one EP back in February 2020 was quickly followed by the announcement of another one containing venue’s such as Manchester’s 3500 capacity Victoria Warehouse. Covid restrictions pushed plans back slightly, but the band will now embark on their extensive tour this September with many extra dates added due to phenomenal demand.
The band also played to a huge, jubilant crowd at Tramlines a few weekends ago with the band thanking fans and the festival.
“Words can’t describe how good that crowd was. Seeing what it meant to everyone to be back watching live music with their family and friends was something we’ll remember forever. Thank you Tramlines for making our weekend.”
I spoke to Ryan from the band to see what’s going on in the camp…
With Autumn approaching and a big headline tour coming up, how are you feeling after having to wait for so long?
We’re buzzing. We honestly cannot wait, especially after the Covid restrictions being lifted. Everything is looking good now.
You’ve had a pretty sharp rise. When you started the band, did you ever expect to reach those heights so soon?
Never, ever. For the first year or so when we became established and literally just started the band, we released a few tunes and played in pubs pretty much every week for a whole year. Back then we were just content with that, and it felt like the best thing ever. For us to do that first tour in February before Covid and then the next tour we do we’ll be playing Victoria Warehouse is just absolutely mental. None of us would have ever dreamed that two years ago that we’d be playing Victoria Warehouse. We had The Ritz booked for that tour originally, but we had to upgrade.
Your most recent single ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’ has echoes of The Housemartins – was that a deliberate influence that you wanted to include?
I don’t know. All of us take influences from the whole spectrum of music, so when a song starts to sound like something, it’s not on purpose but we kind of like it. We can flip from Housemartins to heavier tunes like ‘Won’t Take Long’. Going from either ends of the spectrum is kind of what we like to do. We like every song to sound different and to have some other influences in it that we’ve not used before. We didn’t set out to write a Housemartin’sy tune, but because we all like them it just came out that way.
When you listen to your music it gives a sense of uplift, and any videos I ever see of the band, you look happy and is if you are enjoying yourselves – is it a conscious effort to give off an overall positive demeanor? (On a side note I genuinely don’t understand how anyone can give you grief on Twitter).
I guess so. One of our things from ‘The Great Escape’ is peace and everything. We just love everyone, love doing what we do and love making people happy. Its why we do it. I think it just comes naturally. We’re all about the music and the feeling, rather than the showbiz. We’re in it for pure reasons of happiness. You’re never going to please everyone, but you’ve got to take that on the chin.
What sort has impact has James Skelly had on the band as a producer?
It’s a privilege to be working with him and Chris Taylor (the sound engineer). Those two together in a room can just make anything click and sound good instantly. I wouldn’t say he had much sort of influence on the sound but I think he pushed us to certain directions so the songs would sound better. Who doesn’t know The Coral? When we met him at first we were all so starstruck, like “Oh my god it’s James Skelly, singer from The Coral” and then we met Paul Duffy (the bassist), Ian and the drummer. They’re all just nice people and in the studio he (James Skelly) just knows that as soon as you show him something what needs to happen with it.
Do you have a set writing process?
Alex is the main songwriter really. So, he’ll go home and write a tune, then he’ll bring it into us and we’ll work it out as a band and stuff. Or Scott will come up with some chords or a nice riff and Alex will write some words over it. Some have come from Johnny as well, starting with a bass line. It’s a mixed bunch really, but Alex is the main songwriter.
Are there any other artists you’ve been listening to and enjoying at the moment?
Wigan is buzzing with bands at the minute. There’s The Stanleys, The Flechettes, The Facades and Joe Astley. There’s loads of new bands popping up in Wigan all the time.
Having achieved so much so soon do you feel you’ve been a positive influence and opened doors for other bands?
I hope so. I feel like someone needed to lead it and really get it going again and make it a thing for Wigan. I don’t want to sound big headed, but I feel like its given them hope. We know all those bands like The Flechettes, The Stanleys and The Facades. Scott has been mates with The Stanleys and The Flechettes before any of us were in bands. So it’s quite tight the band circle in Wigan.
Do you feel optimistic about the European touring situation?
We’re not getting too excited for it yet. We’re obviously all full of hope for it. Fingers crossed and all that, but if we can’t get out there, we can’t get out there and there’s nothing we can do about it. If we can change the dates to more UK dates, then so be it.
Find tour dates and pre-order the debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be: www.thelathums.com
All photography as credited or shared via The Lathums social media.