Oxford quartet LOW ISLAND’s two tracks to date – ‘Anywhere’ and ‘End Piece’ – have made a powerful introduction, with Radio 1 airplay from Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, adds to Spotify UK’s Fresh Finds and New Indie Mix playlists, and positive comparisons with like-minded artists such as Caribouand Radiohead.
As the January release of their self-titled EP approaches, LOW ISLAND have released the third of its four tracks with ‘Disconnect’. A highlight of their live show, ‘Disconnect’ meshes a whirlwind of jazz-inspired drums with equal measures of experimental indie and electronica
“’Disconnect’ is a proper workout live,” says Jamie (vocals/guitars/keys/electronics). “The song is about miscommunication and misunderstanding between angry groups. The instrumental almost sounded like a bootleg UK garage track when we started it, then we expanded on the sounds to try to add depth. The backwards sound at the beginning is a set of grandfather clock chimes, homemade by the choreographer of our video.”
Although still in their early twenties, LOW ISLAND share a rich and varied musical background which informs their current synthesis of styles. Carlos (vocals/guitars/keys), Jamie and Jacob (bass/keys) first played in an alt-rock band together in their teens before Carlos and Jamie instead embraced dance music with some success: they held a residency at The Warehouse in Leeds; DJed at festivals such as Glade and Gottwood; and their original productions received Radio 1 airplay.
Drummer and percussionist Felix adds another dimension to his bandmates’ background in live bands and electro. In addition to touring with the Grammy-winning jazz/rock/soul fusion collective Snarky Puppy, Felix has also performed with the band’s found member and pianist Bill Laurance.
Such reference points operate as a waypoint en route to a richer palette of sounds which encompass electronic and live elements while also balancing raw performances with carefully nuanced productions. Their influences include Arthur Russell, Caribou and Grizzy Bear.
Lyrically, the songs are experienced by shaped by universal experiences such as loss, doubt, miscommunication and battling against adversity. Their perspective is also informed by the band members’ locales as they contrast life on the rural outskirts of Oxford with regular travel to bigger cities.
Carlos and Jamie discovered LOW ISLAND’s sonic style while working on a score for a play. Together with their long-term collaborators Jacob and Felix, they continued to explore their possibilities in their garage-based studio, a space they have filled with electronic, acoustic and found sounds. This combination of elements provides the foundation for their first EP, which was entirely self-produced.
LOW ISLAND recently made their live debut in London with a sold-out show at The Sebright Arms.