About Me

Interview with Light Field Reverie

This new project is very interesting and has a unique sound. The best words to describe it are: mysterious, cosmic, captivating and soulful from the 80s and 90s. "Another World" was released on November 20, by Avantgarde Music.
We sat down with Heike Langhans (vocals, synths), Mike Lamb (guitars, synthesizers, piano, drums) and Scotty Lodge (bass), who told us more about this new release.

M.I. - Guys, thank you so much for this interview. Are you fine, despite this pandemic?

Heike: Thank you for the opportunity! All good here. Of course, I try being very cautious during my visit home, to South Africa this holiday season, but Summer usually brings good vibes. 

Mike: All good here too, thanks for asking! I’m just back in New Zealand for a little while, but it’s pretty safe here, thankfully. I hope you’re fine as well!

M.I. - I’m great too, thanks for asking! This new record is a great and beautiful album. It was released on the 20th November. You’ve decided to name it “Another World”. Is it a metaphor for the world, the pandemic and a wish for a new beginning and a light at the end of the tunnel?

Mike: We really appreciate that! The title ‘Another World’ was actually taken from a very nostalgic video game from our childhood, a game which captures the artistic approach and otherworldly beauty that we love so much. The title also encapsulates our love of astronomy and the universe, so it was a perfect way to represent the ethereal cosmic surrealism of what we were going for musically. It can definitely be read as a metaphor for the world today too, but we weren’t going for anything quite as on-the-nose as that.  

M.I. - Avantgarde Music is a label, that is known for its work with Black/Doom Metal bands. Which bands do you know, that made you want to work with them?

Mike: My other band, Sojourner, which Scotty also plays in, was signed to Avantgarde Music for our first two albums, so we have a really good relationship with the label’s owner Roberto. It made perfect sense to go to him to pitch the project first, since we respect him and what he does with the label so much, and even though we’re very different from his usual fare, I think we still fit in with the spirit of the label. 

Heike: Apart from Mike's band, my previous project, ISON, licensed some releases to Avantgarde and we had a very positive working experience with them. There was no reason to consider anyone else, even if we knew we didn't fit the bill. Rob had faith in us and signed us after just one listen to a very unfinished demo. 

M.I. - You are members in Draconian and Sojourner and you’ve toured together. How long have you been talking about making an album together? What kind of ideas and sound were you interested in?

Heike: We have an uncanny love for otherworldly, cosmic, eerie and cinematic soundscapes. Anything that evokes visuals and depth in feeling. There's also a great joint appreciation for 80's and 90's catchiness and soul, that just isn't all that naturally evident in new music today. We both love Gothic and electronic music equally as much as Metal and I think one aspect that feels weirdly similar, is our intrinsic tendency to balance 'light and dark' in sound.

Mike: As far back as our joint European tour at the start of 2019, Heike and I had talked about doing something together, because our personalities, tastes, and approach to music align in a way that I’ve never seen before, so it was always bound to happen sooner or later! 

M.I. - Although you are in other bands, you’ve created this one. Did you start the writing process, when you were also writing for the other bands, or after? And the music?

Mike: We had finished writing the Draconian and Sojourner albums by the time we started Light Field Reverie, so we could solely focus on this as our main output. What you hear on the album is an effortless entwining of Heike and my natural writing styles, the way we approach things when we’re not being confined to certain genres and we’re just doing our own thing. The beauty of Light Field Reverie, for me, is that we can approach the writing in a completely free and natural way, there’s no expectation that we have to be anything other than ourselves.

Heike: The timing of this album was a great palette-cleanser and creative holiday from what we had been keeping busy with years prior. It was such a great feeling to throw together every idea we've had brewing in our 'own time' archives and weave them together in a strangely effortless way. For me, personally, it felt like I walked into a dream where the perfect musical partner existed, and something would implode and prove to be a dream after all. Only, it wasn't a dream, and it has only become more effortless along the way. This is rare and I'm incredibly grateful. 

M.I. - How did you create the keyboards and synthesizers? It has an 80’s retro vibe and also, a Theatre Of Tragedy touch, when they started, which is great.

Heike: When Mike shared his awesome synthesizers with me, it was as if a cosmic portal opened for every nostalgic 80's idea in my head, to awaken in the sound it intended to. I'm truly impressed with what a difference it makes to have the right tools and a producer, who spends so many hours a day perfecting his craft. We also spent some free time together delving into in-depth reviews and analysis of well-known synths and string machines from the 80's, which serves as great motivation to experiment.

Mike: Over the years, I’ve accumulated a pretty extensive collection of synths, recording equipment is what I’ve spent a good deal of my money on (laughts), but I never really get to use them in Sojourner or Lysithea, so I’ve always just written stuff for myself and accumulated my own ideas that I never put into practice until now. So, with this project, we just had an amazing time losing ourselves in the possibilities of what we could do with synthesizers as the core foundation for the sound, and then utilizing the more traditional guitars, bass, and drums set-up as supporting instruments.

M.I. - Six songs are in the record.  Were they difficult to write? Did you write enough material to put out another one soon?

Mike: Nah, it wasn’t difficult at all actually. We’re always feeding each other’s creativity, so the songs came out pretty effortlessly. We had to keep the album under 45 minutes, because we had to fit it on a single LP, and that just happened to be 6 songs in the end, but we’ve got more material underway right now and it won’t be too long before we have something new in the coming year.

Heike: I'd say it was the easiest album to write ever and we had our hearts set on reimagining two existing songs, as we never had the opportunity to until now. This meant we kept novel material for future releases, and we started throwing around new ideas and themes before this album was even mastered. 

M.I. - Mike Lamb did an amazing job. He did all the engineering, mixing and mastering by himself, at Oneiros Studio, in Dunedin, New Zealand. What kind of sound were you looking for? 

Mike: Thank you! It means a lot that you enjoyed the production. My studio is actually a mobile one, so we recorded it all at Oneiros Studio, while Heike and I were living in Säffle, in Sweden, but I ended up having to finish the mix and master back here in New Zealand, since I had to come back while I wait to be granted my Swedish visa properly. The sound we were going for was a big, punchy, polished atmospheric modern Metal sound, while taking care to retain the human element. We wanted the album to feel crushing but beautiful, cosmic and ethereal. Hopefully we achieved that! I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done with this album.

Heike: I'm over the Moon! I'm not exaggerating when I say Mike is the hardest working and most dedicated musician and producer I have ever met. It makes the creative process incredibly fun and effortless and I can't imagine a future without him. Oneiros Studio is wherever we find ourselves in the world and we have great plans in expanding our ventures once we navigate this pandemic with the restrictions and bureaucracy involved. I'd also add that our sound is becoming more streamlined with the next releases, since we're writing according to concepts - Something we've been excited about, since it allows for a very visual and more 'together' sound. 

M.I. - How did you discuss the ideas, plans for the songs and band, with this pandemic?

Heike: This pandemic was a bit of a blessing in disguise on the music-production front, at least. We took every possible opportunity to plan, write and record at home. We would have loved to be able to work together as all 3, but we kept daily contact and talks going during the process. Hopefully we'll be able to spend time together as a whole group for the next release!

Mike: Yeah, exactly! Heike and I live together so it was a simple day-to-day matter of us making music in our apartment and heading into Draconian’s studio to record Heike’s vocals! We catch up with Scotty loads via Skype and social media though, we’re a tight group of friends and it’s a shame we don’t get to spend more time together in person, but that will change in the future, once we’re all in a position to catch up again and this pandemic is finally over.

M.I. - “Ultraviolet” and “The Oldest House” were chosen to be singles. Will “Ghost Bird”, featuring special guest, Emilio Crespo, be a possible one as well?

Mike: It wasn’t officially a released single, but we did release that track one day before the full release as a last-minute teaser!

M.I. - How have been the reactions of the press and fans, regarding the record? Despite living in different countries, will you consider doing a live streaming for the fans?

Heike: We were holding our breaths a little for this release, as we knew it was such a different and varied sound from what our general listener-base enjoys, but we knew there would be elements that would bring our listeners that same joy it did for us making the album. I have endless gratitude for the lovely responses. It's fuel for us to go full steam ahead with our plans for future releases. Right now, we're scattered all over the planet, in vastly different time-zones and on-top of that, my 'developing country' internet and power-cuts have not made it easy to plan streams. We will definitely consider it in the future, because we're a fun bunch! 

Mike: The response has been phenomenal; we truly couldn’t have asked for a better reception! We’d love to do a live stream, but as Heike says it would just be too complicated given the complexity of all being in different locations currently. We talked about doing a stripped-down acoustic set of it sometime for fun, but as a band we can’t really arrange anything at this point in time outside of a streamed video hangout session. We’ll definitely work on getting some content out there though because we’re so incredibly touched by the reception to what we’ve been doing! 

M.I. - Favourite albums that you would recommend, that everyone should listen, that influenced you?

Mike: For me, there are three main bands and albums that I can point to instantly off the top of my head as direct influences on Light Field Reverie: Sleep Token’s ‘Sundowning’, which is one of my favourite albums ever; Health’s ‘Vol. 3: Slaves of Fear’, another of my favourite albums; and The Birthday Massacre’s ‘Walking with Strangers’… well, everything they’ve ever done actually, they’re one of the bands that have influenced me most over the years and hold a really special place in my heart. I could list hundreds of albums and bands though, way more than I could ever list here!

Heike: This is a tough question for me, because my musical phases shift with my moods, life situations and the seasons even. At the moment, I'm big on the album 'Monsters' by Empathy Test (2020). The album 'Evaporate' by Midas Fall (2018) is a recent discovery (Thanks, Mike!) that is gorgeous in its simplicity and one I wish I made myself. As far as old favourites go, I'll never stop listening to anything by Tool. I'm just one of those annoying Tool fans. 

M.I. - Thank you once again for this interview. Any final words for Portugal and our readers?

Heike: Portugal is one of the nicest places ever with such warm and friendly people, so we hope to see you there soon and thank you once again, for the support and interest! Stay safe and happy holidays! 

Mike: Thank you so much for supporting us and for this interview, we hope we can come out and play this stuff for you live once this pandemic is finally under control! Milagre Metaleiro Festival was one of the best lives experiences I’ve ever had when Sojourner played there in 2019 and I met some of the most amazing people there, I truly can’t wait to come back one day.

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Raquel Miranda