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  • Ellie McGuire

Interview - That Old Quiet Lighthouse


That Old Lighthouse’s sound is as much a familiar one as it is distinctly unique. Their passionate debut album, ‘Learning To Live With Less’, is filled-to-bursting with catchy hooks, emotive alt-indie-emo-folk sequences, and quirky yet energetic vocals.


“It’s a break-up album, fuelled by the isolation and despair the first lockdown caused. But its focus is more on framing memories in a positive light, and coming to terms with the emptiness moving on can have initially. Song meanings for me usually come after the song is written; I don’t usually have a conscious thing I wish to express, I just write what feels natural and its meaning becomes apparent after the fact. It’s an album of grief, but also an album of love and appreciation for life - bittersweet as it is.” - That Old Quiet Lighthouse comment on the album.


That Old Quiet Lighthouse are Ashley Garrod, Gabe Alexander, James Cooke, and Pip Rousiamanis.


We sat down with That Old Quiet Lighthouse to discuss their music and much more. Here’s what the band had to say:


Hey That Old Quiet Lighthouse, welcome to FLEX! How are you?


I’m wonderful, just got back from seeing Alex G after spending the day in the sun in Liverpool

- thank you for asking!


Congratulations on your debut album ‘Learning to Live With Less’ - what inspired this

particular project?


Ever since I started writing my own music, it’s become an important part of my life, to the point where I start to miss it if I haven’t done it in a while. A lot of this album was written at the very beginning of the lockdown in 2020, but none of it is directly inspired or references lockdown or covid - it’s really an album about life. Quite a few of the tunes address or are inspired by moving on from my first serious relationship, but there are a few less traditional lyrical concepts on the album as well. Generally, it’s about processing life’s hardships and framing things in a more positive light.

And do you have to be in a certain mood to write?


It’s more of a spontaneous thing I think - usually, I’ll be inspired to write poetry by something I’ve experienced or observed, and then when my schedule facilitates I’ll lock myself away for a few hours and write. I’ve written when really down before, as well as when really joyful - my mood just has a massive impact on the mood of the song as I very rarely go into a song knowing what I want it to be. I used to do it really late at night but living in a shared house means I don’t do that as much.


How was the recording and writing process?


It had a few phases, a couple of songs were part-written or constructed lyrically before COVID, then I did the bulk of the writing and demoing during the first two months of lockdown. Just over a year passed before I was able to get into the studio to record drums and bass, and then I was in and out of the studio with our producer Kevin Foy (who was an absolute joy to work with) making sense of my demos and rerecording, editing and sculpting the final tracks. It was a real learning curve as it was my first album where I was the songwriter and musical lead, but I think by the end I had definitely found my voice!


For viewers that don’t know That Old Quiet Lighthouse, how would you describe your

sound?


Indie-emo-folk is our self-chosen genre - emotive, tongue-in-cheek lyricism over the top of immersive textures, vibrant and fun grooves with bass guitar very much as the leading instrument more often than not! We’re like if Blur, The Smiths, Big Thief, American Football and They Might Be Giants all wrote a song together, released it as a Christmas single, and then refused to ever play it again. We absolutely love featuring different artists and instrumentalists, tenor horn, flute, and singers from across the musical spectrum - collaboration is definitely a big part of our ethos.


And what are some of those activities that you engage yourself in when you aren’t

writing or recording in the studio?


I’m a big nerd - I love watching it bring together people from different backgrounds, something I also really love music! Playing games made by indie developers or triple-A companies, playing Magic: The Gathering, or going over to my friend's house to learn how to lose at an entirely new board game. Next on my list is starting a martial art again, I loved it as a kid but just haven’t had the time or the money; hopefully that changes soon!

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