This interview was conducted live with Shaun & Chris of Led by Lanterns a couple of hours before they played their final show in Leeds on 30th July 2021.
Q1. So, welcome to Leeds! Final leg of the tour tonight, are you ready to go out with a bang? What's been your favourite show so far?
Shaun: I think we're all in agreement that London was the best show so far. Birmingham was great to do a hometown show, but London was a surprise. It was our first headline show in London. It did actually have a bigger crowd than the rest of the shows. Only cause the venue was bigger, everyone was so loud and ready for it. With most shows you can tell that people can really appreciate live music coming back, but London was just something else. I think they're used to going to shows a lot more.
Chris: Yeah you can feel it, I've felt it on everyday of this tour, that extra bit of appreciation. I didn't realise tonight that it's the Key Club's first night open since the pandemic. I think this could be the best night of the tour, I really think it could be the best night of the tour. (Chris later confirmed that Leeds was in fact the best night of the tour).
Q2. So Paralysis (EP) has been out for a few months now, what inspired the lyrics for this, and what were some of the influences that came onto the album?
Shaun: Lyrically, a few years ago I had sleep paralysis for the first time, it's like where you're half awake, normally on your back. You feel a pressure on your chest and you can't get up. You're dreaming you're looking around the room. I thought it was a one time thing, it turns out it's something I suffer with and experience from time to time. I'm now absolutely fascinated by it, I almost look forward to it now cause I know that I'm going to be okay. The single paralysis was written about the first time I ever experienced it, me trying to speak out and get someone's attention, cause I was in a room with lots of people when it first happened. Musically, we were trying to head over to a heavier, still melodic side.
Yeah, you've started to incorporate some screams into this record?
Shaun: Yeah, I figured out I could do that. That was a happy accident. It was at the end of "Alive" it happened live. I got caught up in the moment and let out a scream, but in a weird way, not that I thought I could do that. I was just going "YEAHHHHH" and I was like, wow! Someone got that on video, I listened to it back and thought "That didn't sound too bad". So we put it into Criminal for the first time. A lot of people really liked it didn't they?
Chris: The album as a whole, we're doing a "waterfall" release. Meaning that every track is a single, the album isn't actually complete. It's less cool doing it this way, but it will play on the Spotify algorithms. We still have 3 more songs all written, but raring to go!
Q3. So following that, obviously you've been writing Paralysis for a long time. How long have you been working on it since the start, and when do you think the finished project will be?
Chris: Originally the plan wasn't to do an album. We released the Ashes EP and then someone said to just do singles. We did all the tracks and then thought "let's wrap this up", which the original deadline for that was before our tour got rescheduled last December. So everything just got pushed back, but now I see the 3rd quarter of this year as it being released.
Q4. Have you actually decided on a favourite track for this record yet? Or are you still undecided?
Shaun: Actually, very undecided. It always changes. For me, live, it might be "criminal". That changed since a few days ago too!
Chris: The tracks we may get bored of, the earlier tracks, just changes when we play it live. They just go off! If I was to try and not be biased about the age of the songs, it might be "Alive" but I can't help but be biased cause Alive is really old. I can't give a definite.
Q5. So obviously you're still quite a young band, what's it like having international fans who actually travel internationally to catch whole tours of you?
Shaun: It definitely feels like something to brag about, and we know all those international fans personally now and they're incredible people.
Chris: A fan years ago came to a Stand Atlantic headline show in Camden, a group of them was at that show! Obviously they can't come to this tour which is a massive shame. We were lucky to do that European tour with Normandie actually. As far as the European fans go, throughout lockdown we started the Lanterns Alliance. Those fans have been an integral part of keeping us going. It's an online community, that is now showing itself in real life. It's really good putting faces to the names.
Q6. So you have been touring with Thousand Thoughts the previous dates. Will us and the fans be rueing not seeing them? How has your relationship been with TT?
Shaun: I think you're definitely missing out with them not being on this show. We're actually kind of missing them, they're such an amazing band. I actually knew who they were before we went on tour, they kept coming up on my suggested. I love to listen to any band who we will be playing with at any show. With how good they are, I think they should have been headlining, but they were honestly so nice and so appreciative to be a support for us.
Chris: I think the only reason we headlined was because our set was longer! That been said there's some great bands on tonight. I've been wanting to see Artio for some time now, and Shark Bait have been supporting on tours I've worked on too. I'm gutted for TT that they couldn't do tonight as well, because I think tonight will be the best night of the tour.
Q7. You did mention the Lanterns Alliance, do you think that's been more important than anything, helping you keep in touch with fans?
Chris: It's helped in lots of different ways. I think it's created a close community, everyone in there are so nice and humble about everything. There's little support chats, and "gig memories" that people can add to. What's amazing is, anything we do is hugely supported. We got played on BBC East Midlands and I posted into the discord "climb the bbc ladder" which is if we have enough tweets after the show we might get played somewhere bigger, and it's exactly what happened. Everyone tweeted BBC when the song was played and the radio was like "Jesus Christ, there's loads of tweets" and the good thing about it was that cause it's in a private chat, no one could see us doing begging posts! They have also been really helping each other, supporting one another. It's amazing to see.
Q8. Chris specifically, you worked with Trash Boat as Download Fest earlier this year, what was it like being back up there working again?
Chris: I was really scared! Having not mixed a gig in 18 months or whatever, and coming back to 10,000 people in a tent, I was crapping myself. It ended up being absolutely brilliant. What was weird was that the crowd wasn't having to socially distance, but then all the band and backstage crew still had to, and wear masks. It was a bit weird doing that, and then seeing the juxtaposition.
Q9. What is your pre-show and post-show routines? Shots in bars beforehand?
Shaun: For me personally, I just shut up for the whole day until soundcheck because some songs are shouty shouty. It's hard for me cause it we play an amazing show and then do have a show the next day, the guys want to go out and have a few drinks but can't go out if we do have a show the next day. But for me, I can't do anything and I have to be super quiet, it seems as though I'm ignorant but I'm really not. It's been great wearing masks cause you put them on and no one really wants to speak to you anyway!
Chris: It's different for me, I'm usually doing a million things for other bands in terms of equipment set up, but this is just me, playing in a band this tour. I try to visualise the first walk out, feel it, wait for the first drop. I get to that point in my head and I'm just so happy.
Q10. What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened at a live show?
Chris: So, we were in Cardiff, all waiting backstage. We can't see onto the stage, supporting WSTR. Snake (Drums) walks out first and all we hear is the biggest roar we have ever had! We looked at each other in shock and we went out thinking this will be the best show of our live. It really was the best show we've played, I wonder how much that had to do with it. Anyway at the end of the set, we found out what had really happened was Snake had walked out and tripped over his fan while going on stage, and fell on his arse. It gave us this feeling of power that we were doing so well! Gutting.
Shaun: We genuinely felt like, "WSTR who?" We looked at each and we were like "Noooo".
Q11. Last question, what's the weirdest thing you've ever had to sign?
Shaun: Asked to sign is different to actually signing. The hardest thing to sign, and we always get asked is a drumstick. Especially when it's a shard of a snapped one.
Chris: A plectrum is another one, it's just so small!
Shaun: There have been things impossible to sign, such as the Ashes EP. It's a black case and so we were like "You won't see it" and they said "It doesn't matter, I'll know its there".
Chris: Faces? Milton Keynes was funny. I got asked to make a story out of the setlist and so I did!
(Milton Keynes gig goer, if you're reading this, be sure to get in touch with a photo of the story!)