The Lathums interview: Wigan’s indie pop starlets are ready to take on the world

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“I tend to try and not think about it too much. Sometimes I get those overwhelming moments – I think ‘this is our band doing that’ and people want to see us doing it. It’s mental”, reflects The Lathums’ frontman Alex Moore when explaining how far the Wigan four-piece have come in just 18 months.

The quartet are rapidly becoming one of the UK’s finest new guitar bands thanks to their gloriously nostalgic jangly indie pop and Alex’s dynamic lyricism and word play.

Now signed to the Island Records, they’re about to release their Ghosts EP and have just dropped single I See Your Ghost; a genuine, slab of ska-esque havoc that culminates into a fission of two-and-a-half minute foot-stomping joy.

Their astonishing rise is, justifiably, reaching fever pitch. They’ve gone from playing pubs to taking just a few hours to sell out their debut headline UK and Ireland tour.

Next year will see Alex and co grace the stages of London’s Electric Ballroom, Manchester’s O2 Ritz, and The Academy in Dublin, and rejoin supporting Blossoms and Paul Weller on UK tours.

But perhaps one of their most poignant shows to date will be a live-streamed gig from the Blackpool Tower on October 28.

“We’d always go there as kids and wreak havoc”, Alex told Daily Star Online. “Now we’re going to go back and wreak havoc!”

Despite their incredible ascent, the band – which consists of Alex, Scott Concepcion, Johnny Cunliffe, and Ryan Durians – have stayed true to their Wigan roots.

They came to the aid of Wigan Athletic’s survival campaign by announcing plans to cut just one 7” copy of their cover of The Snake, Al Wilson’s Northern Soul classic, via a raffle. The fundraising effort has raised thousands of pounds already.

On Friday (October 23), they will perform for the first time on music institution Later… with Jools Holland, further affirming their rightful place in the UK and Ireland’s thrilling charge of emerging acts.

Tim Burgess, legendary frontman of The Charlatans, has also championed The Lathums. He’s part of an initiative to help save Manchester’s Gorilla and Deaf Institute, both hit by the impact of coronavirus. The project spawned Gorilla TV; where bands – including The Lathums – are invited to perform streamed sets and be interviewed to help support independent music venues.

On The Lathums’ Jools appearance, Burgess tweeted: “Gorilla TV one day. The next, the world”.

And who are we to argue with him?

Daily Star Online’s Rory McKeown gave Alex a call to talk about their rise, their new EP, performing at Blackpool Tower, working with The Coral’s James Skelly, and why they want to take over the world.”

How have the past few months been for The Lathums? Have you had to try and change your mindset at all?

“In the times we live in, we have to adapt. Our mindset is, mine in particular, we stay focused on writing the songs and practicing. I can do both from the comfort of my home own, which is very convenient. I don’t think I’ve had to change my mindset too much.”

What’s it like not having to do live shows at the moment? Are you eager to get back out there?

“At first few months I was lying to myself, it’s not too bad, everybody’s in the same boat. But recently it’s been hurting quite hard. We’ve been rehearsing a lot more. A lot more things have started picking up but it all got shut down again. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions at the moment.”

You’ve just released your new single I See Your Ghost via Island Records and you're about to release your new EP. What was its writing and recording process like? What can we expect from it?

“The EP has got a dark undertone – more so than we usually have from our songs. But it’s business as usual. We got the songs together and established a structure and arrangements and took it into the studio to bring it to life.

“I started writing the song (I See Your Ghost) a couple of years ago, maybe the start of last year. I had the quick verses for ages. I was messing around with words and syllables. There were talks of the EP and how I was going to convey it and what message we wanted to send.

“I needed to get a chorus to complete the song. We did it in the studio. I looked into my notes and sorted out a chorus.”

What’s it like seeing it evolve from initial notes into a song?

“It’s nice to see. It starts off as a thought in my head and becomes a melody on the guitar. Then I record that and take it to the band. They all play and we take it to the studio and it gets ramped up even more.

“It’s a nice process. You give birth to it and nurture it. As it carries on, you get to a certain point and it’s got enough life to breath.”

Your sound covers an array of styles – do you enjoy shaking it up in your output?

“I love shaking it up, me. Variety is the spice of life, I’ve always thought. Me personally, I get bored of one thing. I like to try lots of different things and do different things.

“Music’s the only thing I’ve every been stuck on. I like to think we’ve got a song for everybody, whatever mood they’re in. We keep it dead diverse by a bigger margin.”

Are you inspired by a different array of artists?

“I don’t even really look into genres that much. I find an artist I like and listen to them. If I enjoy the writing, music and the melodies, it doesn’t really make a different to me.

“I think a lot of it is more subconscious, ones I’m not really thinking about. It will get in my mind and I can go off and do my own thing.”

You’re from Wigan – how has it moulded the band? Has it influenced you?

“There’s The Verve and a few bands but there’s not much musical heritage in Wigan, apart from Northern Soul which is its own entity.

“I write from my own experiences, what’s happened through my life. It most definitely has had an impact on the way we write.”

Tell me more about your decision to cut one 7" of your cover of The Snake to help Wigan Athletic. How did you come up with the idea?

“The community base of it was the essence. Although we weren’t around at the time when it was booming, Northern Soul and the Wigan Casino and that lifestyle, I’ve been told about it by multiple people, in family and friends.

“Everybody went there and danced together and socialised. People who are parents now used to go to that casino. It’s a full circle thing. I know their kids. It all comes around together. I thought everybody could attach to Northern Soul.”

Do you think the whole Northern Soul movement is missed in Wigan?

“It’s synonymous with that era and part of Wigan. But I would love a Northern Soul scene to emerge back in Wigan. I wouldn’t be very good at the dancing but I’ll play!”

You’re doing a live stream from Blackpool Tower. That must be a pretty special moment?

“It’s absolutely crazy. We’d always go there as kids and wreak havoc. Now we’re going to go back and wreak havoc!

“Not many people get the chance to say I’m going to be playing with my band at Blackpool Tower. It’s very special.”

It marks an incredible rise for you guys in a short space of time. When you look back, do you think it’s amazing how far you’ve come?

“I tend to try and not think about it too much. Sometimes I get those overwhelming moments. It can be something dead simple like being sat in the van or with the Blackpool gig, I think ‘this is our band doing that’ and people want to see us doing it. It’s mental.”

You’ve got a run of sold out shows next year. How much are you looking forward to getting back out on the road? What’s a typical Lathums show like?

“It’s always different. Everybody sings the words, that’s always brilliant, everywhere we go. It’s not even the really well-known songs, people are singing the whole set.

“It depends where you are. Some people are more standing back and soaking in the music, but some places are going absolutely mental.”

Is the live side of it what you love or do you enjoy the recording?

“They're two different beasts. When we’re touring and it’s live, they’re the good memories. When we get to playing the gig it’s almost like a blur. It’s surreal walking out, everyone going mental, playing, and then off to the next venue.

“With recording, it’s a completely different environment. You have to change the way you think. It’s like when you said about having to change your mindset. You have to change your mindset to suit a studio setting or a live setting.”

Have you had any stand out gigs?

“Every time anybody asks I always say King Tuts. I remember walking out and it was so loud. Everybody was screaming. All the way through the gig people are singing word for word. None of us had been to Scotland before that.”

Was it a moment when you looked at each other and realised 'this is big'?

“Yeah, were all buzzing. There’s a picture of us after the gig and all our faces are beaming.”

What was it like working with The Coral’s James Skelly?

“It was really good. At first it was daunting because he’s James Skelly from The Coral and we’re randomers from Wigan.

“He’s proper sound. He gives us advice on not just the tracks but on personal things. If there’s any questions we have about the lifestyle, we can just speak to him about it.

“He’s been there and done it. He’s been in an even more hectic position for him. He was 16 and it was full on for him straight away. He understands what we’re going through at the moment. It’s the best time of my life.

“It’s nice he’s a normal guy. I don’t mean that you’d expect famous people to not be real people and these entities, he’s just a normal bloke. It makes it a lot easier.”

What’s next for The Lathums? When can we expect your debut album?

“As soon as we can get back onto stages, take over the world and make everybody know who The Lathums are.

“The album’s in the works. We’re planning something special for everybody. I think it’s going to be really good and I hope everybody loves it.

“The album is a bookmark for this first chapter of our lives and career in music. Through the album you'll be able to see the steps and changes we’ve made. It will be a little piece of this chapter we’ve been on and we can move on to the next.”

The Lathums' EP Ghosts is out on October 30 via Island Records

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