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Interview with That Old Quiet Lighthouse
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My earliest memories of connecting with music would be singing along to The Moody Blues and The Who with my dad on the way to Scouts as a kid. Once I asked for a bass for Christmas, I was practicing for 4 plus hours a day, and it wasn’t too long before I ended up in my best friend’s band at the time. It was a family thing, their dad had just passed away and music was their way of dealing with it. That really opened my eyes to the healing power of music, and in that space I found myself both as a person and a musician - in fact some of my favourite memories lie in that kitchen, every Monday for 4 years.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love writing, I’ve experimented once or twice with writing fiction and loved it but the time needed to dedicate myself to that always seem to run away from me. I’m always writing poetry that ends up as lyrics more often than not. If I’m not doing that, I’ll be nerding out in one way or another - be it through gaming or watching Star Wars or playing Magic the Gathering. I think fiction is packed full of inspiration for creating art. Also going out to spend time with my friends is another important part of my life, as artists we draw from the experiences of those around us so enjoying my friends company and
supporting them through their lives is vital to my artistic process.
How long has your band been around?
It has gone through a few lineup changes, but since 2018 I would say! We’ve all been (and still are) working with different musical projects so the first few years have been just me honing my songwriting and us as a band figuring out who and what works. The last year has really been when we’ve kicked into gear though!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re Manchester-based; being here and being surrounded by so many talented musicians has inspired me to strive for something great. The 4 years I was at the Royal Northern College of Music, which is where I met my bandmates, massively influenced what I thought I could do with my music as well. The scene here is pretty diverse, and no doubt our music would be less varied without the amazing artists I share a city with.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
That Old Quiet Lighthouse came to me in the common room of uni, I was trying to imagine the most comforting mental image - and a lighthouse stood on the edge of a vast beach was what popped into my head. It reminds me of childhood memories, although I can’t place the beach. Avoiding the trope of being “The Something’s” was important too, and That Old Quiet Lighthouse initialises to TOQL, which when verbalised is tockle, which I love!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Our first ever show was a memorable one! A support slot at The Castle Hotel in front of a packed crowd was a beautiful start to our journey, wholesome and affirming - it’s what convinced me we had something special. Our first ever headline was another amazing gig, we almost sold out an intimate 60- cap venue in Dulcimer in Chorlton, the atmosphere was electric! Knowing everyone was there to support us and watching them genuinely engaging with our music was wonderful - my favourite moment being face-timing my mum on stage. Did I forget to mention it was on Mothers Day? Whoops!
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love The Castle Hotel in Manchester, every gig I’ve played and watched there always has a sense of community with the crowd - the atmosphere is a very safe one. I’d love to play Gorilla, it’s been on the bucket list for a while!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Sad humans unite! I’d love to play with Alex G, Florist, Jay Som, Big Thief and Lomelda. They’re all current and making amazing music, so it’s technically feasible, if not mildly preposterous.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Have fun with it!! The moment you stop enjoying it, all the hard work that makes a band work goes from a labour of love to just a labour. Listen to your gut, and do your best not to compare yourself to others.
You’re on your own journey!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
To be honest, I can’t fault much of our journey thus far - a lot of our growth as a band has been in the last year, but that’s predominantly down to me wanting to develop the sound before going for it. If I had to, take a few more risks probably!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
All of my songs express something close to my heart in one way or another, but currently ‘Horoscope’ is the rawest expression of grief that I’ve written. Having lost a family member to suicide, I wanted to try and articulate my experience with it, offering myself the opportunity to say something I, unfortunately, didn’t get the chance to say.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
‘Juniper & Rye’ definitely gets requested a fair bit, my friends sing it at me all the time! Personally I love playing ‘Decade’; it’s a mouthful to sing but getting to let loose for the bass solo is always a good laugh.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I always write the lyrics first, normally in poem form inspired by the environment I’m surrounded by when I’m out or experiencing something, or a strong feeling when reflecting on my past, or after viewing a particularly poignant piece of media. Then I either get the guitar out, tune it to something other than standard tuning (much to our guitarists displeasure) or dive deep into a Logic Pro X project to make some fun and weird sounds before getting it into the room. 9 times out of 10 it’s basically fully composed by the time the band get on it, but that is changing steadily!
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think I started the band as an avenue for me to process what I was going through. A lot of us feel lost as teenagers I think, and often well into adulthood - music for me was what helped me feel grounded.
So whilst my lyrics are often indulgently bittersweet, the goal is to craft songs that help provide catharsis to anyone who connects with them and help make people feel they’re not alone.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Occasionally we may have differing perspectives on something, but we stay open to exploring ideas until we reach a conclusion - and ultimately I do have the last say, although I like to think I’m the compassionate kind of autocrat!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Currently we’re constantly writing, working towards something really exciting - we’ve just released our first single in over a year ‘Decade’, complete with a slapstick-fuelled music video. It’s the proudest I’ve ever been of something I’ve written!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Best place is Instagram/Facebook for enjoyable content, the website is great for knowing when and where we’re playing, and YouTube is the hub for professional filmed content as and when we produce it!