Low Island haben ihr Debütalbum „If You Could Have It All Again“ veröffentlicht. Anna hat sich vor dem Release mit Jamie Jay, Produzent und Multiinstrumentalist der Band, über die wilden Zwanziger unterhalten.
So next week is your big week. How are you feeling about it now that’s so close.
Jamie Jay: Yeah, it’s really exciting. It’s now one week away. And I remember it being a month away and a year away. Soon, it’ll be a day away. And then there’ll be a day.
We’ve sort of made a bubble together as a band. The vinyl has arrived and we’re signing all the copies. It’s amazing, it definitely feels like a moment. To see it all physical.
To hold it in your hand?
Jamie: Yeah, hold it in your hand. You know, it’s no longer just an idea. We all we can’t wait for it to come out. We finished recording it over a year ago, in the middle of March, right when Europe was going into lockdown. So it’s feels like a long time coming.
People aren’t necessarily gonna remember where they were when they first got the new thing on the release radar on Spotify.
I think it’s so nice to have something physical and to hold on to this, this sensation is so beautiful. I love having a vinyl or CD and just it’s more than just a click.
Jamie: It’s more than just a click. A lot of people say this, and it’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s your copy. So if you have children or grandchildren, they might pick it up or listen to it. Someone might even find it long after you’ve passed away. And that was your copy. I might remember the day I went to this shop and bought this. And if I bought it online, I remember the day that I got this in the mail. You don’t quite have that experience with digital stuff. People aren’t necessarily gonna remember where they were when they first got the new thing on the release radar on Spotify.
When I learned about the background story of Low Island, I thought it’s so impressing what you’re actually doing and that it’s not just what people think a typical band would do in their day to day life. You’re your own management and all that stuff. And I saw the the Instagram post you did, where you posted these messages of rejections & empty promises. People normally don’t post or show the downsides of the music industry. But I think we need to stop pretending that everyone’s happy all the time.
Jamie: I totally agree. The post was our way of talking about the latest single from the album, which is song called „Who’s Having the Greatest Time“. And that song is very much about this kind of toxic atmosphere on Instagram, where there seems to be this pressure –– that you’re not doing it right, unless you’re showing everyone how well you’re doing, everything that is beautiful and attractive and appealing about you.
But then the problem is, is whenever we see everyone else doing that, invariably makes us feel sad, feel insecure, feel like we aren’t far along in our life, or our career, and then we should be. That post was us having a good laugh about a lot of those emails that we received from industry people. We certainly don’t feel bitter or entitled about that. But we definitely felt like it’s gonna feel like a solidarity to share that.
And what you said, that it’s important reveal this side of the music industry –– I personally think it goes so much further than the music industry. It’s about people in any career. Just the setbacks that you go through. But you hide that from people, you don’t share that because it’s not attractive. It’s not emboldening. It’s not a victory. So you don’t share that. People could do a lot more of sharing the weaknesses.
Stop telling me your story, show me your weakness
I think it’s a learning curve in your 20s when you realize that you don’t have to succeed all the time, not everybody has to like you or what you’re doing 24/7. And „If You Could Have It All Again“ quiet perfectly portrays this personal development.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s definitely an album about your 20s. We’re all in our late 20s now. And maybe people in their 30s 40s 50s, and so on, will relate to it in their own ways. None of us have lived in those decades. So we don’t have the frame of reference there. But it definitely feels like looking back on my 20s. It’s been full of struggle and doubt and worry and thinking: „Did I make the right decision at that time, seven years ago, when I chose B rather than A? should I’ve chose A?“ and all this stuff that we know is not just particular to us. It’s a universal thing.
It’s certainly about the particular worry, and anxiety of 20s, as well as the joy and the beauty and loves and relationships and all those things as well. So I think that’s why it’s called „If You Could Have It All Again“, because that’s a very particular thing that in your 20s, you say, „okay, but go back to being 21“.
That’s exactly how I feel at the moment. You know, I’m turning 27 this summer, and I feel so stuck, because I’m kind of too old to have this reckless adolescent life I had at the beginning of my 20s. But I’m not quite there to have an easy grown up life yet. And it’s this in between that is so strange. And I mean, with a pandemic, it’s not getting easier. Do you know this feeling?
Jamie: Absolutely. I think there’s also that sense „am I too old now to be doing this or be behaving like this?“. On the other hand you think about people older than you and compare yourself to them, with older siblings and their story. We’re all individual, we’re all different. We’re all a brand new story. And we shouldn’t comparing it. But we do.
The track at the end of the album called „What the hell (are you gonna do now?)“ definitely feels like it’s about ruminating on what sort of 30s you’re entering.
Yeah, I felt personally attacked by the last song It was like, I don’t know. I wish I would.
Jamie: Weekend walks and shopping carts. But then there can be something oddly comforting about it. Maybe when you wake up after two days of party, whatever it is, and you think: „you know what, I feel jealous of the family that are going for a cycle ride at 10 in the morning on a Sunday“. And you think you know what you want. So I’m sorry about feeling personally attacked. But I’m glad there was that sort of reaction.
I had the feeling when I was growing up, people and media always told me that the 20s are the best years of our lives. And I’m not sure anymore, now being at the at the end of it. You try to be a successful adult, but then you’re doing it and think, „well, that sucks, I’m kind of too young to be so stuck in this adulthood“. And then you try again to do things that make you happy.
Jamie: That’s the most important thing, doing things that make you happy. It’s difficult because even if we look at our parents, the generation before us, not that long ago, people were in different places in their lives by 24.
Now it’s different economies, it’s different careers, it’ss different industries, all these disruptive forces that are changing things and people are hitting certain chapters of their life in all sorts of different rhythms than they have in the past. We’re certainly the „snowflake millennial“ – this generation that is comparing themselves, not just to all of their friends on Instagram, but also to their parents generation. They had a house, they had this job, they had all this stuff when they were five years younger than I am now. But I don’t think that’s our fault or our failure. It’s just the whole world is changing the ground underneath us move.
And if I could have it all again, I certainly wouldn’t change Low Island.
So what would you say is the best thing you did in your 20s? Something that comes to your mind straightaway, no matter how big or small it is?
Jamie: This is going to be really corny. And it’s going to sound like I haven’t thought about it and I’ve just said the sort of thing I should say in an interview like this. But I’m really proud of what we’ve done as Low Island. We put our first song out four and a half years ago, the end of 2016. It was the same month Trump got elected. We’ve been around as long as Trump. And we plan to outlive Trump 10 times over.
I’m really proud of what we’ve done and what we’ve put together and that we’re still going. About a year ago, we weren’t sure how we were going to carry on. Because like everyone in the arts, we were facing this pandemic, so how are we going to release a record? We’re still not touring. There’s been so many challenges, but I’m really proud of how we’ve managed to get through all of them, especially with, as you mentioned before, this big decision to manage ourselves and create our own label and just have ourselves to blame, and not count on all sorts of other unreliable people.
I look back at the whole thing and the music we’ve made and the fact that we’ve got our first album coming out next week and the shows that we’ve played. I think I’m always gonna look back on my 20s and be glad that this happened, but I very much hope it carries on for the rest of my life. But even if it doesn’t already, I think this is the best thing I’ve done with my 20s. And if I could have it all again, I certainly wouldn’t change Low Island. No way.
What would you change?
Jamie: I’ve always wanted to move to London, to live in a big city. That’s something that I’m hoping to do this year. tWe can still come out here and work together. But you know, and if I could have it all again, I would have done that sooner. I spend a lot of time in London, a lot of my friends and family are in London, and it’s not very long drive from where we are in Oxford. But I think that’s definitely something I would have done differently.
But I have this great fear that I’m going to move to London, and in a few years time, a lot of my friends and stuff, they’re going to be moving out, they want to live in the country. And then I’m gonna have to either move with them or make new friends.
Or you could be the cool friend who still lives there so they can crash on your couch!
Jamie: Yeah! And I guess this is a second answer as Low Island: It felt so good managing ourselves and putting music out on our own label. And we only decided to do it nine months ago. So maybe deciding to do that earlier on in take more responsibilities into our own hands, maybe that’s something we would have done differently.
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