Grow­ing up with Lon­don-based indie band Lost in Ja­pan

The band breaks down their jour­ney from jam­ming ses­sions at school to their newly re­leased self-ti­tled de­but

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - NEIL MCDON­ALD

Hard-work­ing Lon­don, Ont., pop-rock band Lost In Ja­pan have only been to­gether for a cou­ple of years, but they’ve al­ready got two re­leases to their name — the most re­cent of which is their self­ti­tled de­but full-length al­bum, re­leased last month.

The band — fea­tur­ing Ad­di­son John­son (vo­cals and gui­tar), Nolan Peake (bass), James Wise­man (drums), and Chris Hoek­stra (lead gui­tar) — formed while at­tend­ing the mu­sic in­dus­try arts pro­gram at Lon­don’s Fan­shawe Col­lege, and be­gan jam­ming to­gether be­fore of­fi­cially form­ing in late 2016.

The group’s new al­bum is the fol­lowup to their 2017 five-song EP, “Ghost and the Wolf,” and, in a phone in­ter­view ear­lier this week, John­son said the band wasted no time be­tween re­leases.

“As soon as the EP was re­leased, I think we waited two months and then we were back in the stu­dio work­ing on this record,” he said.

“We wrote it over the span of the next year, and we were just go­ing in and record­ing three songs and leav­ing, (then) writ­ing three songs and go­ing back in and record­ing. It took a while to do and hon­estly, we just wrote the last song off the record I think two months be­fore we ac­tu­ally re­leased the record, so it was pretty close to­gether. But it’s cool to see how fast it came to­gether and it’s do­ing well, too, which means we did some­thing right, so it feels good.”

The al­bum’s dozen songs are con­nected by lyri­cal themes ad­dress­ing the band mem­bers’ com­ing of age and col­lec­tive re­al­iza­tion that let­ting go of the past was the first step to mov­ing for­ward, said John­son.

“There’s big changes go­ing on in our lives — we were all done school and feel­ing nos­tal­gic be­cause, you know, it’s grow­ing up, you’re out of school and you’ve got to start your ca­reer, work on your job, and a lot of the time you can get caught in try­ing to recre­ate the past,” he said.

“But we kind of re­al­ized while we were writ­ing th­ese songs that you can’t re­ally do that, it’s about cre­at­ing new mem­o­ries and find­ing mean­ing and not hold­ing onto the past, be­cause that can only just bring you suf­fer­ing in the long run. And we thought that was a re­ally pro­found con­cept, so we just wanted to talk about that in a lot of our songs.”

The al­bum was funded in part by the $6,000 the band won in the Made in Lon­don

con­test spon­sored by clas­sic rock ra­dio sta­tion FREE 98.1, and the group also won the Lon­don edi­tion of the Jim Beam Make His­tory Ta­lent Search. By lucky cir­cum­stance, three of the tracks on their new record were pro­duced by Moe Berg, for­mer front­man for CanRock leg­ends the Pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness, at EMAC Record­ing Stu­dios in Lon­don.

“We were sup­posed to record at a stu­dio here in Lon­don, and our pro­ducer couldn’t make it to those ses­sions, so Moe Berg ac­tu­ally stepped up and of­fered to record three tracks with us,” ex­plained John­son. “He’s awe­some, he just knew ex­actly what to do.”

The rest of the al­bum was recorded at the Sugar Shack stu­dio with pro­ducer Kyle Ash­bourne, with whom the band has a close mu­si­cal con­nec­tion.

“Kyle’s amaz­ing, we con­sider him a fifth mem­ber of the band. He knows ex­actly what we want and he also helped with some of the writ­ing process as well,” John­son said, “just know­ing ex­actly what part should go where. He knows his stuff.”

The group, whose ra­dio-ready indie pop has drawn com­par­isons to Tokyo Po­lice Club and Arkells, are in the midst of a run of dates in On­tario and Que­bec to pro­mote their new al­bum, with their eye on a cross-Canada tour next sum­mer. The band’s cur­rent tour will bring them to Har­mony Lunch in Water­loo Nov. 15, which Ad­di­son es­ti­mated would count as their 10th show in the re­gion.

Play­ing a num­ber of gigs with Kitch­ener band Hugo Al­ley and bass player Peake’s Water­loo back­ground have helped the band grad­u­ally build a fol­low­ing here, John­son said, along with the group’s crowd-pleas­ing live per­for­mances.

“We’re there to make peo­ple feel happy, that’s our goal,” he said. “We want peo­ple to walk away feel­ing like they felt con­nected with us, and we want to con­nect with them as well.”

LOST IN JA­PAN

Lost in Ja­pan is Ad­di­son John­son, Nolan Peake, James Wise­man and Chris Hoek­stra

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