Progressive rock – or post metal, if you prefer – act, We Lost The Sea, have been rocking around Sydney since 2007. With their deeply personal and cathartic 3rd album, and first instrumental album, Departure Songs, we are taken along an extremely intimate journey of self-evaluation and passionate farewells. In order to celebrate this artistic creation, we had a chat with guitarist, Matt Harvey.
First things first, for those that may be unfamiliar with you guys, can you tell us a little bit about how you met and what brought you together as a band?
We formed out of a couple of metal bands from the same area. One of the guys hassled one of the other guys to start a band until he relented and said yes. And now we are here.
The subject matter for Departure Songs is very specific, “Failed yet epic and honourable journeys throughout history, a celebration of life and triumph over the ordinary and also a tribute.” How did you decide upon that concept?
WLTS have always had stories and themes running through their albums and we wanted to keep that idea for the new record. It was also much more important this time. The songs needed grounding in some kind of meaning for them to make sense to us. This was our first attempt at writing an album without vocals for the first time ever. It started with “Challenger”, that story fell into place really easily and made things immediately more interesting and emotional. We then decided that the songs all needed stories attached to them. The rest weren’t all easy to find and relate, but it all went from there and eventually evolved into a concept album. Departure Songs is a dedication and a tribute to our bro Chris Torpy and all the people in those stories. The songs are the catharsis of all of that.
There’s a lot of reference to outer space, astronauts and basically anything cosmic in your music. Where does your fascination with this theme come from and why is it so prevalent in your music?
We’re all fans of science and in particular the universe and space exploration and all that. Massive geeks basically. The idea of space is mind blowing and being an astronaut would be cool as shit. “The Quietest Place on Earth” has a space kind of vibe going on in the themes. The song “A Quiet Place” is about Joseph Kittinger who was the first man to jump and parachute from the stratosphere in 1959 and described being up there like it was the quietest place on earth. Basically, we like a good story.
You create all your own artwork, has the relationship between artwork and music in representing the band always been such an important thing for you?
I think so. I may be a bit bias as I’m a designer and artist who can totally see a connection between music and art, but I think it’s always been an important thing as part of a representation of a band and I’m sure a lot of people would agree. Image is defiantly a big part of a lot of music scenes/genres. Even people who rejected image, that becomes their image. For example punk became known for it’s ‘aesthetic’ whether it liked it or not. A lot of famous artists came out of that era and created an entire movement. In reference to Departure Songs, the artwork evolved out the storytelling theme we had going on. I wanted to capture those stories and make a series that would help create a more immersive experience for people while trying to leave some room for their own imagination.
We want to know the people behind the instruments. What are your guilty pleasures?
Food, beer, wine, good and bad music tastes, buying way too much musical gear, more food and more beer. Then arguing about all of these things in the tour van.
You guys have played some big shows, supporting Rosetta (US) and now playing a big string of shows for Departure Songs. When was the moment that you realized that you were onto something pretty special?
I think this is a subjective thing for people but honestly for me the moment came after we lost Chris and the band was in disarray and it took a while to figure out what was happening. When the time came where we all clicked again and Departure Songs started to become a thing. We all bonded really tight over the tragedy and I think that was a really special moment.
The Wandering Lamb is all about a love for new music and an urge to share, what new music, artist or band is enticing your ears right now that you have an urge to share?
Right now… I’ll pick one because there are so many. Recently I’ve been really loving a group from Scotland called Young Fathers. They’re like a mix of pop, soul, hip hop, African, electronic and something else. They use their voices a lot to create so many layers and have a really driving pulsing rhythm through most of their songs. It’s just really interesting and modern. Their live show is intense and awesome. I would recommend listening to their album Dead first. They also just did a colab with another favorite band of mine, Massive Attack, on their new EP. Check that out too.