The Kaje talks changing identity to Lowlakes

The Kaje first met Melbourne based musicians Lowlakes back in January when the quartet (Thomas Snowdon, Jack Talbot, Bill Guerin and Brent Monaghan) wowed us with a stunning rendition of “Song For Motion” as part of The Kaje SessionsSince then they have stunned us with their scintillating eponymous debut EP, so we wasted no time in touching base with the boys once again and asking them a few important questions about their recent release. Lead singer Thomas Snowdon happily obliged us with the following responses…

You were known for many years on the live circuit as The Moxie, what prompted the change in name?

We had played together as The Moxie since 2005, in which time we added a member (Brent) and moved from Alice Springs to Melbourne. Changing the band’s name was always on the agenda and we thought about it more seriously in the planning of the EP. Lowlakes represents the music we want to make. It’s visual.

The change in name has prompted a drive in momentum, leading to your debut EP. Was this a conscious decision?

In many ways changing the band name inspired a fresh start. Without the identity of The Moxie, we felt freer in exploring different corners of our songwriting; that we could arrange our songs exactly how we wanted, rather than how we thought we ought to. This was an important step for Lowlakes and (I think) it’s led to a positive change in our collective psyche.

The EP shows a real move from The Moxie material-do you see the two projects as separate entities?

I think they are different, although the songs and much of the premise on which Lowlakes is based was formed as The Moxie. Lowlakes has explored in more depth what we thought was special about The Moxie, although it is more minimal than The Moxie was and probably a bit more spontaneous.

How would you define Lowlakes sonically?

The four of us are heavily influenced by gloomy and atmospheric music. I think this taste is reflected in Lowlakes’ sound, which we like to think is a bit dreamy, a bit spooky, and a bit interesting.

The EP contains four tracks-how did you decide which songs would be the best introduction to Lowlakes?

That was quite a long process. We all had a soft spot for “Song For Motion” and “Arctic House” – and wanted to have them on the EP. We had a bunch of other songs, but struggled to come to unanimous decision on what tracks to put on the EP. Our producer helped us to choose a collection of songs that most accurately reflect Lowlakes; we like that there’s some pop and some gloom.

Can you give us the lowdown on the four songs..

They are all pretty sad. I think we wrote all of these songs in my (and Jack’s) tiny brick walk-up in Brunswick on days when it was raining. That’s pretty much how we do it; our best stuff comes out in bad weather.

I suppose the songs are all pretty introspective. They aren’t the kind of songs (we think) that inspire any shared sense of joy. They talk about things that I wouldn’t want to share with people. They talk about things that we’ve felt and experienced but probably rarely talked about – if that makes any sense.

You are receiving all manner of comparatives-from Radiohead to Antony & The Johnsons-any personal favourites?

We were surprised and very flattered at some of the comparisons drawn of us. I don’t think there’s any single group that we model ourselves on, but a few, whose sound and whose vibe we really like. Radiohead and Antony & The Johnsons are two. The National, Talk Talk, and Slowdive are just as influential on us, as are a large handful of others; the four of us draw bits from everywhere.

With the EP receiving universal praise, do you feel mounting pressure for its successor?

We’re actually just genuinely excited about getting back into the studio. We already have several songs which we are keen to track and are possibilities for the next release.

And finally, what is next for Lowlakes?

We’re going to play some shows within Australia and are heading over to the USA in September/October for some too. We’ve started planning another release too, if all goes to plan, it will be out at the end of the year; we’ve caught the bug for recording.

WIN!!! Lowlakes have kindly given The Kaje a handful of signed EPs-if you would like to get your hands on one, then simply email with the answer to the following question… Thomas Snowdon lives with which of his bandmates? (HINT: The answer is in the interview!)

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

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