Letting Up Despite Great Faults get very existential on their latest album, Untogether. The album, which drops next Tuesday, October 9th, has the quirkily moody electro-shoegazers exploring what it is to sever connections with that which has surrounded and, often, bound you and discovering yourself as an individual after stripping yourself of the things which you had forgotten weren’t actually inherent or imperative to your existence… It’s quite heady… But that’s not to say it’s not also quite fun. Although Letting Up Despite Great Faults is a four-piece, at its core is Mike Lee, who does all of the writing and producing (with Annah Fisette on keys and vocals, Daniel Schmidt on drums, and Kent Zambrana on bass and keys). I recently got a chance to chat with Mike about the new album and the recent changes in his life and work.
Izzy Cihak: How would you characterize the sound of your upcoming release, Untogether, compared to your previous work?
Mike Lee: I think the sound is fuller and possibly deeper. I really enjoyed using space in previous releases but, for this release, I really wanted to fill things out. I really tried to start the songs and keep them driving. I kind of wanted the album to be one big breath, and left the last song as the exhale.
IC: What were the album’s biggest influences, whether musical or otherwise?
ML: I’m not sure how much of a direct influence there was, but I was listening to a lot of 90s indie/indiepop. I think I had Thirteen by Teenage Fanclub and Hey Babe by Juliana Hatfield on repeat way too much. But I would also listen to some more house music, like Alan Braxe, Shinichi Osawa, and Fred Falke. I think I really like the drive of someone like Braxe, but love the more poppy melodies of bands like Velocity Girl and Papas Fritas.
IC: You recently relocated from L.A. to Austin, in hopes of getting a fresh start of sorts. How has the city treated you thus far? What are your thoughts on the environment?
ML: Austin has been great. I’ve met some really amazing people and all the shows we’ve had here have really been fun. It’s such a sunny place (a.k.a. hot as crap during the summer) that there are a number of venues with outdoor stages which really makes for a different, maybe even more visceral, experience. The entire city feels like a big-town-with-a-ton-of-neighborhoods-feel…very different for someone who grew up in LA.
IC: You’re playing a handful of upcoming CMJ dates. What should fans and potential fans expect of the live experience?
ML: I get pretty bummed when I see a band without a lot of energy, so we try our best to make our shows fun, loud, upbeat, and danceable, while staying true to the songs. But we do like arranging subtle adjustments to the songs to make it a better and more interesting live show.
IC: You have a handful of upcoming dates, but what are plans for the band after that? Any plans for significant touring, or are you going to focus on composing more new music?
ML: We’re definitely trying to balance the two. We’ll have some more dates lined up, but I’m already working on a bunch of new songs. As fun and exciting as playing is, there’s something about writing that keeps me sane.