You know when you discover a new band for the first time and they’re so good you just can’t stop listening to them? Well that’s exactly how we feel about this week’s New Band of the Week, Lightscape.
The Norwich-based five-piece have only been together for about a year but have created a catchy rock sound that’s jam-packed with huge riffs and anthemic vocals that effortlessly hook you in.
The band – which consists of Will Overton (vocals), brothers Sam and Jimmy Nichol (guitar and drums), Ben Ashcroft (guitar) and Christy Bullen (bass) – describe their music as “energetic, anthemic and loud” and all those key ingredients are prevalent in, for me, their standout song Running – from last month’s EP For Present, For Past.
Running opens up with an almost Mediterranean sounding riff, which reappears through the track, with some synthy bursts before launching into a heavy guitar-led intro that feeds into the first verse. Overton’s vocals are awesome, while the flowing guitar riffs supplement him superbly. It’s difficult to put into words how well crafted this song is, there’s a whole arsenal of different parts that fit together seamlessly and it’s utterly infectious – I’ve been singing the “You’re running, you’re running” lyrics through the choruses while walking around the office for the last week, and I’d challenge anyone not to sing along. Check the track out for yourself in the video below:
Another standout track is Revival, from Lightscape’s self-titled album earlier this year, which opens up with an awesome guitar riff that feeds into an infectious, flowing near 5 minutes of rocky brilliance. That album concludes with the epic Fall Apart, which opens up with eerie synthy chords and sung notes ‘Na na na na na na na,’ which is picked up by a heavy guitar riff and a verse to the same tune. The synthy chord remains as the song kicks into life with a wild guitar solo supporting Overton’s superb marauding vocals. Just go and listen to this amazing track!
The band’s key influences give you a great insight into their sound. Sam states that Muse albums Origin of Symmetry and Absolution are what made him pick up a guitar 8 years ago, lead singer Will was inspired to get into heavy music by Jimmy Eat World, while other members’ influences range from Bon Jovi and Periphery drummer Matt Halpern to funk innovator George Clinton.
To get further insight into the band and their unique sound we spoke to Lightscape guitarist Sam Nichol.
GR: Hey Sam, thanks for talking to us. Tell us a bit about the band and how you got together?
Sam: “Me and Jimmy had been jamming for a good while with different members, but they had no dedication or the right attitude to what we were doing. We really started to get going after we found Will through an advert – we were on the verge of giving up just before I believe! We were instantly blown away with his vocals after the first practice and we persisted with it, liking what we had.
“I approached Ben off the back of a recommendation. We gigged on the same circuit with his previous band years ago, but never really spoke. Turns out he was exactly what this project needed, and he said from the get go he only wanted to commit if we were to do it properly and really push to go as far as we can. He was on the same page that we all are!
“All we needed was a bassist from this point and Ben knew Christy from school, they were in their first band together. He really fit in quick, picked everything up and doesn’t play a note wrong. We’ve all been in projects before, learnt what state the local scenes are in, and that the industry may not be at its greatest. But we really dig what we write, and just want to share that with as many people as possible.”
GR: Your sound is pretty unique and hard to pin down with a genre, so how would you define yourselves as a band?
Sam: “We’ve been described as as a band with a classic rock sound, bringing it bang up to date. That’s pretty much the core of it, but I’d hope we sound fresh to listeners. For me, there’s a certain element of cheese to some of the older, more classic bands from the 80s etc, so I’m certainly keen to avoid that! We all have so many influences and ideas on what we think makes a great song, so initial ideas often need refining to bring it back to the Lightscape sound. But we generally aim for massive choruses, hooky guitar riffs, spine chilling vocals and atmospherics in a nutshell.
“I’d say were unique because of how diverse we are, sometimes there’s a real heaviness to the band but Will’s vocal on top will mellow it out. I’d hope that that can only be a good thing, and might give us heavier music appeal to a new and wider audience. That’s definitely not a bad thing!”
GR: Sounds interesting! Can you tell us a bit more about your creative process?
Sam: “We tend to write about whatever is affecting us at the time, whether that’s relationships, families, friends, whatever is going on in the world, life in general really. We usually tend to find that there is always something going on in one of our lives that inspires us to write about it. Is there anything you’d want people to know ?
“A lot of our songwriting is done digitally, an idea will come organically, then it’ll get recorded into software and expanded on. Once a structures down, we will learn it as a band, and refine it. Normally a song is never finished until all 5 of us are vibing off of it or we play it live and all ‘feel’ it!”
GR: What have you got coming up, and can we see you in action anytime soon?
Sam: “We’re heading back to Kent to pay Oz Craggs another visit at Hidden Track Studios at the end of the month. We’ve got five days booked in to record three new tracks, so excited!
“Next week (24th October) we play with Fort Hope at the Waterfront in Norwich, we’re big fans of those guys so chuffed to be on a bill with them!
“We’re also heading out on the road properly for the first time in our Tour Van ‘Brenda,’ doing four dates fairly locally around Norfolk – Kings Lynn, Peterborough, Downham Market, with a huge headline show at Norwich Arts Centre on 24th November, that’ll be a busy show.
“We’ve got a good little team together for that one in particular. Cardinal Merchandise will have a merch stand, we should have a sweet light show for it, and our sound engineer, Jake Staff, doing a sterling job on the sound desk as always!
“We have also just confirmed a London date for early next year – I can’t say where it is yet, but the venue may start with the name of a big phone company!”
GR: Sounds good, lots of opportunities for people to get out there and see you live! What’s your record label situation?
Sam: “We’re unsigned, independent, single, not in a relationship – whatever you want to call it! We’re trying to do as much as we can before we physically can’t do anymore, thus needing a manager / label. There’s no point having one to post a Facebook post every other day, and email booking agents when I can do that on my lunch break! We all work full-time so we fund it all ourselves.”
GR: It’d be great to hear more about your influences, let’s star with your favourite song and/or album of all time?
Sam: “It’s difficult to say of all time as I love new music, so it changes a lot. But Enter Shikari’s Mindsweep is their best material to date I think. It just has everything that they do well summed up into one!”
Sam’s brother Jimmy echoes that view, while Ben’s obsession with Bon Jovi saw him name New Jersey, and Christy chose Metallica’s The Black Album.
GR: How about the best gig you’ve played?
Sam: “We supported Lonely the Brave at Open in Norwich this year, that was our first taste of playing with a signed artist through a big booking agent. We spoke to loads of people after, walked about in the crowd selling our merch and CDs, had lots of positive feedback from that! Was pretty much sold out!”
GR: Hopefully there’ll be much more of the same to come then. So do you have any good stories about gigging or being on the road?
Sam: “Christy looks a little bit like Ed Sheeran, and when we were recording in Folkestone in the summer, two guys mistook him for the real deal. He played along with it. Played a whole song on acoustic for them, and basically said he’s getting tired of banging b*tches and doing drugs every night in different cities. It was so funny, and you can watch part of it on our blog on YouTube!” (see at 2:20 below)
GR: That’s hilarious! Final question from us, what do you get up to outside of music?
“When we’re aren’t playing music, getting moaned at by our girlfriends for the lack of attention, or working, you’d probably find most of us at a gym. I like playing squash too, to keep the old reflexes in check!”
Thanks to Sam and all the guys from the band for giving us an insight into their world. Lightscape are one of the most exciting new bands out there and we’re really looking forward to seeing more from them soon.
Lightscape are supporting one of our favourite bands Fort Hope at The Waterfront Studio in Norwich on Monday (24th October) and have a series of gigs through November and beyond. More info on their upcoming gigs is here, and to keep up with the band, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.