Lastelle have just released their latest single “Coping Without A Cure”, which you can check out down the bottom. Guitarist Jonjo Williams fills us in on a bit more about the band and the song…
We’re based mainly in Oxfordshire, but all live within an hour of each other so not too far apart! Close enough for us to be able to get in a room together weekly.
How did you meet?
We originally formed from a few members of a previous band, with the addition of Adam (vocals) and later, Fred (bass). Adam used to come out with the old band on tour and cover the video/photo side of things, so we knew we could spend a prolonged time in a van with him, no problem! Fred was a friend of a friend, and although we knew who he was, he had only met Mike (vocals/drums). This definitely seems weird now considering how much we have in common! We all feel like we have known each other for years now, so we just have the best time together when doing anything band related.
How long have you been playing as a band?
It’ll be two years as of September, which seems like it’s gone really quickly! At the same time, it feels like we’ve been a band for ages as we feel like such a solid unit together.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Definitely a question we have been asked a few times, which I’m sure isn’t surprising to you! If you’re aware of the Japanese animation studio “Studio Ghibli”, it comes from the name of one of the characters in their film Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind. The character is a very minor character, but she is part of what triggers the film’s story. It’s one of my all time favourite films, and I really like that it’s part of our band.
What are your influences?
As a band I think we have quite diverse influences. Although we’re all into a similar vibe, we find ourselves sitting at different ends of the same spectrum I’d say. As the primary songwriter, I find myself drawing heavy inspiration from Post-Rock bands such as Sigur Ros, Caspian, Mono, where there’s a large focus on instrumental sections, to bands with a heavier, very vocal driven sound like La Dispute, Touche Amore, Defeater. I feel like Mike and Adam take influences from very different places within alternative music, as they’re a lot more into the more faster, poppier side of Post-Hardcore, with Mike’s vocals and drumming style being heavily influenced by bands like Paramore, Being As An Ocean and Lower Than Atlantis.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Like previously mentioned, as we take influences from a wide variety of artists within the alternative music spectrum, that mish-mash of ideas and differences in opinions allows us to craft something of our own. Our music is a product of butting heads and sonic compromises. We find ourselves blending the soundscapes of Post-Rock, the raw emotional aggression of Post-Hardcore, and the big catchy hooks of Pop/Alternative Rock in a way that we can all agree on. This has allowed us to find something that we can really call our own.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
We find music to be a great emotional release, and this has led us down the course of writing songs that reflect on those memories we maybe don’t remember so fondly, and use the music as a way of expressing the emotions involved with the events that might not necessarily be so easy to talk about usually. A lot of the focus within the lyrics is on heartbreak, loss, illness, and other hardships. Our new single “Coping Without A Cure” is sung from the perspective of someone dealing with the early stages of Alzheimer’s and how they’re starting to forget the people they love. If you’ve ever had to deal with this, it’s a really hard thing to have to witness.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We’ve been described as a wall of noise. We’re assuming this is meant in a good way and we pride ourselves on a very energetic and immersive live show. As soon as you set foot on stage, you are a performer, and you owe it to the people there to see you, to be just that. Our music is not happy or fast paced, but it is big and it is powerful. We try to portray all of that on stage.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
I think one of the moments that springs to mind for me was when Adam spent a few minutes during one of our songs wielding a whole section of a metal security fence amongst the crowd. Can’t say I wasn’t worried about the well being of the people around him, including himself.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I’m a bit of a gear nerd, so I love my guitars, amps, pedals. etc, so I won’t go into too much detail or I’ll be here forever. My main guitar which I use most is my trusty Ibanez FR2620, which is just Ibanez making a really mean Telecaster. I run this through a little Peavey Classic 20MH head live, and with that and all the pedals I’m running, I’m super happy with what it can all produce.
Rich mainly plays his guitar that he calls “Ol’ Silver”, as it’s something he made years ago himself from bits and pieces. It’s modelled on a Manson guitar, with a Zvex Fuzz Factory built into it, and an actual aluminium top on it. He’s running this through a hybrid rig of an Orange Jim Root Terror and a Line 6 Helix.
Fred has a lovely 1970s Gibson Grabber bass, which is awesome, but he’s been using my modded Ibanez Talman bass live, so as to not risk anything happening to his old Grabber (that and the fact it weighs a tonne and smells weird). This all runs through his Orange OB1-300 head, which sounds great.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We’ve just released our new single “Coping Without A Cure”, so we urge you to check this out! As I mentioned earlier, lyrically it deals with the heartbreaking disease that is Alzheimer’s, so it’s a very personal song. You can find the music video on the Youtube channel Dreambound and it’s available for streaming everywhere now!
What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?
“Coping Without A Cure” is just the start of the next chapter for LASTELLE. We have a lot planned for the next 6 months and we can’t wait to show all of this to everyone. We can’t say too much on that for now, but keep your eyes peeled and will all come clear soon enough!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Alongside any of the bands I’ve mentioned earlier, a band I’d really like to support is Devil Sold His Soul. They’re a band who we’ve liked for years and we’ve received comparisons to in the past. I think that’s something we’d really enjoy and our music would go down really well. In terms of support, I’ll mention the new UK band Forlorn, who’ve recently broken onto the scene and have become our friends through being clients of Rich and Adam’s video production company. They’ve got some big riffs and moody atmospherics, so definitely worth checking out!