We chat to vocalist Flo Saifati all about the circumstances that have allowed them to create 'Lost In The Waves'.
LANDMVRKS have just released their brand new album 'Lost In The Waves' via Arising Empire.
A record littered with as many guttural vocals and punishing mosh parts as big pop-punk choruses and moments of hip-hop inspired experimentation, it's a record that's fast, furious and, more than anything, fun. The band tear down as many walls as they can and rebuild them in whatever shape they wish, and come out the other end sounding more raucous and ready than ever before.
Those it's not been the smooth route to reach this point, as vocalist Flo Saifati explains...
Where did ‘Lost In the Waves’ begin for you? What was the lead-up to creating this record like?
“There are so many things that have happened within the last three years of LANDMVRKS. We have changed members of the band mostly. We were looking for a new guitarist for three or four years and it just never worked out. We also had to separate from our drummer. So on this new album, there’s a new drummer and a new guitarist, which finds us in our most perfect form. For the last two albums, it was basically me and our other guitarist Nico who were writing the songs. For this album, we wanted to see what the new guys had in stock. We all wanted to be in the same place and see how it went because that’s something we had never done before. We would never write in rehearsals or anything, it would always be at home separate from each other.
“I hadn’t written anything at all in the year following the release of ‘Fantasy’. I wanted to wait and see what happened. So the process started around 18 months ago when we rented a house, with a swimming pool and a recording studio. We came with nothing really, just a few riffs and ideas. We wrote together from there. It was so good and such a good experience and went really well. We wrote around five songs in the space of a week, a couple of those were ‘Tired Of It All’ and ‘Rainfall’ and made it to the album.”
It sounds like being able to create this new version of LANDMVRKS meant that the minute you started, you weren’t able to stop. What with all of this pent up creativity flowing out of you after so long...
“It’s almost a dream to be able to rent a space like that to live with for a couple of months and create with your friends. It was just the right time for us to be able to write in the way that we did. It definitely feels like a new version of LANDMVRKS and everything felt so natural.”
How did that develop into what you wanted the album to represent as a whole piece of work?
“So there was that first session that we did, and then for months afterwards we basically did nothing because we were on tour. That was until the end of 2019, so we didn’t have the time to really push things. The second session took place during lockdown when COVID became bigger. The plan was to be on tour until even today. We had so many festivals and things pencilled in that were suddenly cancelled. All of a sudden we had all of this time. It was like a gift, despite everything being crazy, being locked in our houses with nothing to do but write the album.
“The thing is that when I’m writing lyrics there is no specific point or theme. I just write whatever comes to mind. Though with a song like ‘Paralyzed’, you could tell that I was writing it about the situation in the world that we are all still going through. This change in an environment inspired us in different ways and produced different songs.”
It’s interesting how the album is almost split down the middle in terms of when it was made and then ultimately what it all represents…
“The thing is that I can’t write things about that aren’t directly about me. I’m not the type to write lyrics about society or religion or politics. I’m just going to write about my personal experiences. So in terms of that second session, my personal experience was being trapped. So in those ways, I guess that’s why the album is heavier musically. I think it reflects what we were all experiencing. A song like ‘Lost In The Wave’ is a song that people needed to hear because they were going through the same things as us.”
It feels as well like this is you at your most fluid and creative music as well. Despite the frustrations and the barriers, there was still all of this freedom still available to you to try things out…
“The question was always, ‘Why not?’ The thing is that our new drummer has so much creativity within him and had learned to play so many different styles. Like he’s not just a metalcore drummer, he’s more of a hip-hop and a rock drummer. ‘Fantasy’ was just MIDI drums, so having him there makes things so much interesting. I was writing the drum parts myself on the last two records and he would always tell me that I was making things that were actually almost impossible to play.
“I have no regrets about anything that we did on our previous records and we were so happy with what we were doing at the time, but now we have really started to grow up. The thing is that when you have more at your disposal and you’re able to create more, you wonder why you did the things you did before for so long.”
So how does it feel for you to have LANDMVRKS be such a huge part of your life in its current form?
“I feel like right now we have the opportunity as a band to not just be the best friends possible but also being able to work together so well as well. Things feel fluid and natural. Everyone has their own task to do and they know how to do it well. I think the reason that people have come and gone before is that they have tried to find a place within the band that they just never found. For myself, I have continued to do what I have always done. Create and produce.”
Your own personal satisfaction has only grown over the years then…
“Absolutely, and it’s difficult when other people around you don’t have the same mindset as you in that way. For now, I’m just so happy about what LANDMVRKS is. The band is continuing to evolve little step by little step and we keep on seeing the results of those steps each time. Right now, the band is perfect for me.”
So what does this record as a whole body of work represent for you? What are you hoping that people will be able to pick up about who LANDMVRKS are because of this collection of songs?
“I hope that people are going to see LANDMVRKS as a professional band, even though we are only just entering that world. I don’t know what to expect exactly, just because there are so many different elements to it. I hope that lots of different people will love different parts of what we create. Some people may not be into rap or pop-punk, but maybe we can be the little door that they can walk through to discover more of those kinds of music because we’ve done it in a certain way. They can enjoy our version of that style and then go and enjoy even more music like it. We like so many different sorts of music as a band and we want to be able to share that with as many people as possible. For now, the little risks that we have taken have paid off.”