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

THEATRE REVIEW: The Lost Happy Endings, MAC (Birmingham(

This year the MAC, Birmingham presents it’s festive delight – The Lost Happy Endings

A fantastic and magical tale about what happens when one night a wicked witch steals the happy endings to bedtime stories. It is up to Jub, the keeper of the happy endings, to save the day and ensure sweet dreams everywhere in this lyrical story about storytelling.

The scene is set with a floor “littered” with pages of books, the book theme continued as steps to the higher areas of the staging, therefore the centrally placed home of  Jub, and on the left the tree with the high branch from which the happy endings are distributed made of books.  The rear of the set was a forest and the right front hand of the set a small row of houses where the recipients of the dreams lived.  Excellent use of lighting gave depth and width to the set and ensured that there would be no confusion for young people as there was no need for set changes.

A small cast of four with fun and eye catching costumes keeping the theme of a children’s fairy story but one that was easy for adults to enjoy too.

The performance is lively and the characters believable, the play able to intertwine several classic children’s stories within the performance thus mixing a new story with several story threads with which they were familiar.  Throughout the performance the characters used BSL sign language as well as spoke their lines, I believe that the use of sign language added to the performance as facial expression and gesture are a vital element of BSL.

 The MAC generally provides a warm, family friendly and inviting environment which this production epitomises this totally, with it’s warm, happy go lucky and adaptable show.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Eleni Kypridemos

The Lost Happy Endings is showing at the MAC, Birmingham until 7th January 2012.

Who The Kaje Would Like To See Comeback In 2012…

2012 already boasts a Steps Reunion and sees the NKOTBSB tour hit these shores, so with our taste buds wet with anticipation, here at The Kaje we let our imaginations run wild when we discussed the ten acts (it was difficult – apologies to Daphne & Celeste who just missed out!) we would most like to see back in the charts and on the tour circuit in 2012….

10. 911

9. Kriss Kross

8. Amy Studt

7. Point Break

6. Gabrielle

5. Sleeper

4. The Moffatts

3. Rooster

2. S Club 7

1. Eternal (with Louise)

The Kaje Tips For The Tops 2012!!!!

Each new year is filled with questions – simply because everybody wants to know what will happen. While we are completely incapable of predicting the future, here at The Kaje we thought we would take a brief moment to highlight a selection of music acts that we hope will breakthrough to the big time in 2012…

20. Asami

Former Popstars (Australia) contestant Asami took time out from the reality TV circuit to become a Yoga instructor and battle health issues before deciding to recruit some close friends and relaunch her music career. With two EPs already under their belt, 2012 could easily be the year for Asami to break through with their bright and breezy pop.

19. The Jezabels

Having already conquered their home country of Australia, university pals The Jezabels have now set their sights on world domination. With a growing fanbase on these shores, it is only a matter of time before they become household names.

18. Frank Ocean

Having honed his craft as a member of OFWGKTA, Frank Ocean is now perfectly placed launch his debut effort into the mainstream. More than just another rapper, Frank Ocean eloquently assesses society in his touching numbers.

17. Michael Kiwanuka

With a support slot for British soulstress of the moment Adele already under his belt, Kiwanuka is all set to make 2012 his own. A man who can send shivers down your spine with one single note, Kiwanuka will move you beyond the realms of the possible.

16. Poppy & The Jezebels

Birmingham school friends Poppy & The Jezebels nearly broke the big time a couple of years back. However their big break never quite arrived. Rather than give up the ghost, the quartet headed back to the drawing board and are finally ready to unleash what promises to be a blinding debut.

15. Strangers

The Departure’s David Jones is another former nearly-but-not-quite who is far from ready to give up his musical goal. While disheartened by his mainstream failure, he decided to continue in his quest and it appears he has found strength in his darkest hour. Strangers are better than anything he has done to date.

14. Antonio Lulic

Antonio Lulic is an act who knows how to use social networking. Having first come to The Kaje‘s attention after we saw a tweet that fellow singer/songwriter Ben James Miller had tattooed Lulic’s lyrics on his arm, we turned to YouTube to find out more. And boy were we blown away…

13. Jack Robert Hardman

Jack Robert Hardman’s simple and straight forward approach to home recording has to lead a wealth of vocally charged folk pop that hits all the right marks. His debut single “Famous” is all set for a January release and we just hope he gains the radio play he so rightly deserves.

12. Blue Angel

London’s Blue Angel first came to our attention with the stirring “43 Days” which documented violence on a London bus. With subtle beats blended with a blinding vocal, we were equally excited by the follow-up “Beautiful Day”. With a promise of an album in 2012, here at The Kaje we are already salivating with excitement.

11. Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson may be familiar to some of you from the disturbingly frank documentary “We Need To Talk About Dad”, however there is much for to Johnson than a troubled past. Johnson is a frank, honest and uplifting singer/songwriter who makes you smile and cry simultaneously.

10. Stooshe

X Factor’s Little Mix may have already been hailed as the next big British girl band, but we think these three Londoners may well beat them to the crown. Fresh and funky but in a good way.

9. Radio Star

Melbourne’s Radio Star may also be known as The Sunny Days, but regardless of what pseudonym they use, they create fun 80s inspired indie pop that has been missing from the 80s revival. With the boys relocating to Europe in April, we suggest you get your hands on their eponymous EP in preparation for the explosion.

8. Parnell Page

Parnell Page is another upcoming who came to The Kaje‘s attention through social networking. Having seen a tweet about his Saint Saviour cover “Fallen Trees”, we immediately went on the hunt for the haunting vocalist’s original material. If this Jack Hawitt penned number is a taster of what is to come from his debut EP then we are truly unable to contain our excitement.

7. Bobbie Gordon

Another upcoming British talent with an Adele connection. East London’s Bobbie Gordon spent time as Adele’s backing vocalist, before facing up to her own secret ambitions. With Adele advising her to chase her dreams, Gordon left the tour and has just released an unbelievably brilliant EP.

6. Ronika

Nottingham’s Ronika caught our eye with one of the most unique and eye catching press shots ever. But this stunning sensation is far more than just an eye pleased. With incessantly catchy tunes, Ronika is going to get stuck in your head and make you shake your bootie through 2012 and beyond..

5. Bastille

Dan Smith, aka Bastille, has a vocal to die for. The Kaje are rarely left speechless, but the moment we first heard his awe-inducing “Laura Palmer” we were dumbfounded. We were listening to the voice of the future and we knew it. Be prepared as Bastille is about to explode.

4. Alfie Ordinary

Alfie Ordinary has spent 2011 completing his degree while balancing performances at festivals up and down the country. With his distinct brand of acoustic pop having worked up a frenzy of fans, Alfie Ordinary is finally ready to release an EP and we suggest you sign up for it now before it sells out.

3. Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas is a name you may well already know. With a Jools Holland appearance and a Willy Mason duet already under her belt, La Havas and her silky smooth vocal are set to dominate the airwaves far past 2012.

2. Jess Hall Band

Swindon’s Jess Hall Band are just four teenage mates having a lot of fun while making tender and tempting tracks. Their debut single “Play Shy” saw them break Radio 1, but with tracks like “Grace” up their sleeve, it is obvious that there is a lot more to come from this troupe.

1. Kal Lavelle

Kal Lavelle has been working the live circuit for several years. Having watched her best mate Ed Sheeran break through to the big time last year, Lavelle’s time in the spotlight is more than overdue. Having experienced chart success alongside Artful on “Could Just Be The Bassline”, Lavelle’s debut EP “Shivers” has seen her ride to the top of the iTunes chart, now we just have to hope her upcoming album tops the Official Charts in a similar fashion. True talent always wins through in the end.

The Kaje’s Top 20 Singles 2011!!!!

The charts have been inundated with stellar singles this year, so rather than waste time making small talk about tracks, we have decided to simply let the music do the talking this time around – no need for us to justify our selections. So here goes our 20-1 countdown…

20.  Jess Hall Band – Play Shy

19. Cosmo Jarvis – Gay Pirates

18. Demi Lovato – Skyscraper

17. Bright Light Bright Light – Disco Moment

16. Radio Star – A Common Tale

15. Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – We Found Love

14. Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum

13. Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)

12. Ed Sheeran – Lego House

11. Boy In A Box -Glitter, Gold, Ruin

10. Owl Eyes – Raiders 

9. Rebecca Ferguson – Nothing’s Real But Love

8. Kal Lavelle – The Ocean

7. Agnes Obel – Brother Sparrow

6. Gotye ft. Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know

5. Wynter Gordon – Buy My Love

4. The Good Natured – Skeleton

3. Britney Spears – Till The World Ends

2. Lana Del Rey – Video Games

1. Adele – Someone Like You

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