Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Oxford, UK based Atmospheric Post-Hardcore band Lastelle. Huge thanks to guitarist Jonjo for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hello! My name is Jonjo, and I’m one of the 2 guitarists in the band. We started this band in September 2018, with the release of our first track ‘This Cage I Built Myself’, and we were super chuffed with the response it got. We released our debut E.P. “HARROW” in February 2019 and started gigging as much as possible. We followed up with our single ‘Bluebells’ in September 2019, with a UK tour alongside it with our friends in THECITYISOURS and The Uncharted. Since then we’ve been knuckling down on sorting out the next chapter for LASTELLE.

How did you come up with your band name?

If you’re aware of the Japanese animation studio “Studio Ghibli”, it comes from the name of one of the characters in their film “Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind”. The character is a very minor character, but she is part of what triggers the film’s story. It’s one of my all-time favourite films, and I really like that it’s part of our band.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re from Oxfordshire mainly, with the City of Oxford being the central point for all of us, and the scene here is odd. It’s great for acoustic, indie and the softer sides of alternative music, but it’s pretty dead on the heavier side of things. It’s not exactly short of bands, but we wish there were more of the right venues and promoters for our niche. There’s plenty of venues for acoustic acts, with open mic nights everywhere and constant gigs, and the people to fill them out, but the same can’t be said for rock and metal unfortunately. We’ve played some great gigs in Oxford since forming, don’t get me wrong, but there aren’t as many bands coming through the city as we’d like to see.

What is your latest release?

We’re ready to drop our latest single ‘Coping Without A Cure’ (Out on 4th August), which we’re really pleased with. I feel like this song is a little bit different from previous releases of ours, whilst still sounding very much like us. It’s written from the perspective of someone dealing with the early stages of Alzheimer’s and how they’re starting to forget the people they love. If you’ve ever had to deal with this, it’s a really hard thing to have to witness.

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Who have been your greatest influences?

As a band I think we have quite diverse influences. Although we’re all into a similar vibe, we find ourselves sitting at different ends of the same spectrum I’d say. As the primary songwriter, I find myself drawing heavy inspiration from Post-Rock bands such as Sigur Ros, Caspian, Mono, where there’s a large focus on instrumental sections, to bands with a heavier, very vocal driven sound like La Dispute, Touche Amore, Defeater. I feel like Mike (vocals/drums) and Adam (vocals) take influences from very different places within alternative music. They’re a lot more into the faster, poppier side of Post-Hardcore, with Mike’s vocals and drumming style being heavily influenced by bands like Paramore, Being As An Ocean and Lower Than Atlantis.

What first got you into music?

A big part of that would be my Uncle, who sadly passed away a few years ago. He was a guitarist and I always loved seeing him play when I was younger. He gave me my first guitar and amp and got me going. I always used to hope to one day have cool guitars like him, and I inherited them once he passed, so they’re very dear to me, and a reason for me to keep playing.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I’m going to give a shout out to our friends in the UK band Chapter and Verse here, who’re a great band full stop, but Josh, their frontman, has such an incredible voice. Definitely something that would be interesting to hear over our music!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’d love to play Arctangent in the UK. Even though it’s only a couple hours away, it’s known worldwide for its line-ups that feature some of the top post/math/prog bands out there, and I’ve loved it every time I’ve gone. To go a bit further out, I’d say whatever Japan’s top rock and metal festival is, as I’ve been to the country a couple of times and would just love for us to play there!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Right now, it’d be to keep your eyes peeled, as we’ve got a lot coming your way! Aside from that, it will always be a thank you from the bottom of our hearts for listening, for your kind words, and your support.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Nothing beats playing live to a room of people taking in the music that you’ve spent so much time crafting. It’s honestly the best feeling. Unfortunately, being in a band isn’t just writing and playing songs though. The endless hard work behind the scenes does suck, but is 100% necessary in order to get to the stages you want to be playing on.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

For me, it’d be for it to be more about the music, and less about the “product”. It might sound cliché, but once you’ve crafted your magnum opus, that’s only 40% of the product. You still need to be a marketable commodity to be heard. I don’t know, but sometimes it feels like the music is almost the least important part of this sometimes.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

It’s tough to have to pick just one. I’ll go with “Define The Great Line” by Underoath. When I was a teen I was hugely into Metalcore, but Underoath did it a bit differently and their use of ambient passages, electronics, and moody atmospherics got me into the post-rock/metal genres. It’s one of those albums where it ticks all the boxes for me. Big riffs, huge atmospheres and catchy hooks.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I only really stream music these days, but I do prefer listening to full releases instead of playlists. I love the idea of vinyl, but have never been able to justify the costs of it myself. Not because I don’t think it’s worth it, because I love the product, I just don’t have the money!

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

One of my favourite gigs we played might be when we played at The Frog And Fiddle in Cheltenham back in February. The room turned out to be nicely packed and there were so many people singing our songs back to us. For me, it was one of those eye-opening moments where you realise people care about what we’re putting so much time and effort into.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Honestly, I really don’t know. I’ve been focused on music since I was 14 or so, and haven’t really taken the time to sit back and think about what else there is for me out there… I work in a music shop, play in a band, and do recording bits on the side every now and then. So, it’s very much all I do!

What’s next for the band?

There’s a lot to come from us over the next few months. I can’t say too much on it currently, but our new single ‘Coping Without A Cure’ is just the start!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We’re everywhere you’d expect to find us. You can keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@lastelleband). Our music is available digitally everywhere, so I’m sure you can find it on whatever you preferred platform is!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Not a problem. Thanks for giving us the opportunity! I’d just like to quickly say thank you to anyone reading this, and to check out our latest song ‘Coping Without A Cure’ if you haven’t already! It’s available everywhere from August 4th!

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