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Interview: Lost In Los Angeles talk new album, storytelling

Lost In Los Angeles will be releasing their latest album, 'Love Is Fate,' in summer 2014.
Lost In Los Angeles will be releasing their latest album, 'Love Is Fate,' in summer 2014.
Elaine Childress/Big Picture Media

Coming off of their recent shows at South By Southwest, indie-rock band Lost In Los Angeles (LiLA) is getting ready to have a big year.

Lost In Los Angeles will be releasing their new album, 'Life Is Fate,' in summer 2014.
press photo/ Big Picture Media

Blending airy and ethereal 80s synth-pop with doses of alt-rock, LiLA’s music reflects their varied influences, such as U2, Moby, Depeche Mode, Elton John, and Jeff Buckley.

Formed in 2009, the band released their first album, ‘LiLA,’ in 2010. After breaking away from their label the band self-released ‘The Hovering’ EP in 2013, releasing a video for the song “Because of You” on Nylon Guys in October. The band’s latest single, “Cloud City,” premiered on Popdust in March along with a two accompanying B-sides. “Cloud City” is the first single off their upcoming full-length, ‘Love Is Fate,’ out this summer.

Lost in Los Angeles is Danny Klein (vocals, piano, synth, beats), Eddie Deering (guitar, synth, beats), Clark Souter (bass, vocals, beats), and Iajhi Hampden (touring drummer).

I had the opportunity to correspond via email with Danny, Eddie, and Clark of Lost In Los Angeles to discuss how the band started, South By Southwest, their new single and album, and storytelling through music.

How did you guys start playing music together?

Eddie: Danny and I got together a few years after our former band split – we’ve always had a crazy songwriting connection. For every song we release, there are probably a dozen more eternally in the works. We joined up with Clark a couple years ago and we knew we were on the right track. We brought drummer Iajhi Hampden with us on a tour last December and it's really completed the picture on stage.

I noticed that on iTunes, your first album is under the name LILA, while your most recent releases are under the Lost In Los Angeles moniker? Is there a reason for this?

Danny: Yes, our band has always been called Lost in Los Angeles but when we signed with our former label they wanted to change it to the acronym, "LiLA." It was cool but it became hard to find us online because it turns out there were a few “Lilas” out there. When we broke from the label we decided to revert back to Lost In Los Angeles because it better reflected our spirit.

You guys were recently at South by Southwest. How did that go?

Clark: SXSW was awesome. We loved all of the camaraderie between all of the artists we shared stages with. It's also really unique to have so many music fans all in one place... such great energy. We were thinking it would be cool if every city was like Austin, all the time!

What do you enjoy most about big festivals like SXSW?

Clark: The collective energy for sure. It's a swirling vortex of musical passion, whether you're an artist, fan, part of the press, or work at a venue, everybody is on the same page, sharing the same wavelength.

Just before SXSW, you premiered your new single, “Cloud City,” on Popdust. Could you tell me a little about the song?

Danny: It's a tale of reflection and projection all at once. That moment where you are floating between memories of the past and possibilities of the future. So many of us are alone, but we are all crammed together in cities - in buildings, restaurants, parks, the streets... Why can't we just find the one we love?

“Cloud City” is off of your upcoming album, ‘Love Is Fate.’ What was the writing process like for the album?

Eddie: Like all of our writing endeavors, it varies. Songs can originate from Danny's piano, synth, and vocal ideas; Clark's bass ideas; my guitar or synth ideas; or Iajhi's drum and synth ideas. Then at some point we all come together and add our respective parts. We then co-produce for the finished track. It's a beautiful process - there's a lot of trust between us all.

How do you think your sound has changed since your first LP?

Eddie: Ironically it feels like we are coming back a bit closer to the original writing on our first LP. Those songs were all written before we signed to the label. Once on the label it then felt like we were being pulled in a some different directions, perhaps to be faster, louder, who knows. It ultimately didn't feel right. With our new material for ‘Love Is Fate’ we are answering only to our fans and ourselves. It's very liberating and feels great. I think it will show in the final product.

In a press release, it says that the artwork for the single is part of a story that will continue with the new LP. What was the idea behind this?

Danny: I had met LA/NY artist Garrett Wasserman (aka, PEOPLE) at one of his pop-up galleries in Venice last year and we really hit it off. Then one day last year during the holidays I started watching The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and it hit me how the artwork on that movie seemed to have really defined that era. When I thought about how to capture something epic visually for Lost In Los Angeles, I immediately thought of Garrett. He's doing so many murals and such rad street art in LA and NY. In Venice alone he's transformed parts of the city into such a beautiful visual experience.

So after a few meetings we came up with a unique visual story that will be told, spanning from the "Cloud City (Single & B-Sides)" release that we just put out, to another advance single this spring, all culminating in the full album. The story will come together through the release of the covers. The "Love is Fate" concept ties into those visuals and of course the tracks on the record. In life we like to think, or at least hope, that love is inevitable, that we will all find it. We want it to be our fate, our destiny. And the twist is that we are flipping the switch on the negative connotation of the word fate, and allowing the possibility that through the twists and turns of love, it will be beautiful in the end. Garrett's artwork captures that essence so perfectly.

How big a part does storytelling play in your music?

Clark: It's a huge part. We are all storytellers - through Danny's lyrics, piano and synth; Eddie's guitar and synth; Iajhi's drums and synths; and my bass or backing vocals - we are reflecting on the past, the present and the future, sometimes all at once. It's also really cool how we communicate in the studio through our music. Each song becomes a collective story through one voice.

‘Life Is Fate’ comes out this summer. The first single, “Cloud City,” can be streamed here and purchased here. For more information about Lost In Los Angeles, visit the band’s website.