We caught up with Jon from Latitudes ahead of their headline performance this Saturday at StrangeForms...
*StrangeForms Festival takes place over the Easter Bank Holiday (19th & 20th April) at Wharf Chambers and features sixteen post-rock, post-metal and math rock acts.*
BAD OWL PRESENTS: We hear you'll be playing some new songs at StrangeForms - what can we expect from them and does this mean we can get excited by the prospect of a new album soon?
JL: The new album's about 60% written and should hopefully be nearing completion by the end of summer. It's a solidification of the darker, heavier, more expansive style of Individuation (2012) while leaving a bit more room for the crunch and heft of our debut full length Agonist (2009). There are even some emotive passages almost redolent of our 'post-metal' roots. Basically the new tunes are heavy as hell and chock full of riffs and rhythms, melody and atmosphere. It looks like this one will have less in the way of sublimated trance-outs and will mainly go straight for the jugular. But still be as melodic as anything we've ever done. All our best features combined but more so, like everyone always says about their new material.
We'll be playing 2 new tunes at the festival, they're pretty intense.
BOP: You last played Leeds in October 2013 as part of the Octernal Festival at the Brudnell Social Club. Do you have any particular memories of the show/event?
JL: My first memory is lovely beer at a very decent price! I suppose we stuck out like the proverbial thumb being the only metal band on the bill but it was fun to play! We pretty much had to leg it straight after but we all enjoyed watching Heart Ships with their Matt Berninger-esque frontman. Reminds me, should check their record out. I really wanted to see Islet but we had to dash so our driver could get us home and himself back to Manchester within the day to save us cash. Rock and roll eh?!
BOP: Latitudes are part of the Shelsmusic family, a record label based in California with an incredible roster - what are the positives and negatives of being on a record label based in another country?
JL: Medi and Shelsmusic took a punt on us after we crossed paths in Criterion studio as we were recording what was intended to be our first demo - albeit a professionally recorded one - which became our first EP when he put it out. We were his first release external to the Mahumodo/Shels continuum and we'll always be eternally grateful. They've been so helpful and loyal and without their early interest and belief who knows...we might have knocked it on the head at the first hurdle!
Negatives of a long-distance label relationship? Can't just go for a pint to shoot the shit and mull things over. Everything has to be done by email with the obvious time-delay - this can sometimes lead to difficulties, especially when an album has to be pressed up to tight deadlines.
BOP: Latitudes will be playing on the Saturday at StrangeForms - are you planning on sticking around for the day or weekend and, if so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
JL: Unfortunately we can't stick around for the whole festival as we are driving down to headline another all-dayer in Basingstoke on the Sunday.
I'm hoping we can get there early enough on the Saturday to check out Sunwølf - we were supposed to play with them last October but the gig didn't go ahead as we were added to Octernal fest instead.
When it comes to guitar music we've mostly had our heads in the underground metal world for the last few years so a lot of these bands are new names to us. I had a listen to Polymath and Lost in the Riots and they both sound like they should be very good live, looking forward to everyone really!
One of the more amusing things we did recently was comparing the poster for Strangeforms with the poster for FOAD metal festival in Manchester at which we headlined the second stage a few weeks back. Interesting to see that one week we're playing with Winterfylleth, Coltsblood, bands called Foetal Juice - myriad unreadable logos on a pitch black background - and then the next week we're billed alongside a much chirpier contingent of monikers on a poster filled with esoteric ephemera and Victoriana. I think it pretty much sums up where we are as a band - either we don't fit in anywhere (!)...or as we'd love to think, we're spanning a few sub-genres here and can potentially appeal to a few different audiences.
BOP: Latitudes are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
JL: Cripes. Could a question get more difficult? 4 bands! Um. Venue would be the Black Heart in Camden, it would be mandatory to consume 4 pints of their Rogue Juniper Pale Ale before heading upstairs. I'm going for a certain consistency of malevolence here:
9-10pm Deathspell Omega circa 2014 (First time on stage)
10:15 - 11:30pm Godspeed circa 2000 (Slow riot into Lift yr skinny fists)
11:45pm - 12:30am Joy Division circa 1979 (Unknown Pleasures into Closer)
12:45 - 1:45am Slayer circa 1986 (Hell Awaits into Reign in Blood)
Music to be played between bands: maybe Raime, Demdike Stare, Haxan Cloak, anything darkly atmospheric with minimal vocals, no guitars, minimal rhythm. Actually maybe something weird and choral - Ligeti's Lux Aeterna, early Penderecki...
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, what are Latitudes plans for the rest of 2014?
JL: We've been out of the game a bit over the last few months, mainly due to guitarist Adam and his wife having had a second child but there have also been other band members getting married and honeymooning, adult life taking over. Luckily enough the riffs are still flowing and the new music is sounding even more powerful and even more emotive.
After the 'mini-tour' based around StrangeForms we've a few more gigs coming up, including London in June with Witch Mountain/Necro Deathmort and hopefully more in the offing. We'll hopefully be hitting the studio late this year and releasing the new album early 2015. We'll see where that takes us.
Latitudes are due to headline StrangeForms at 10pm on Saturday 19th April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 from Jumbo, Crash & Wharf Chambers.
Day tickets cost £9 from WeGotTickets.com/f/7245