Let’s get this out of the way first: Echo Lake have been put through more in one year than any band should really have to bear.
The tragic death of drummer Pete Hayes came just as their debut album ‘Wild Peace’ earned its general release, pushing the group into a period of seclusion when they should have been basking in the spotlight.
For a while, it seemed that they might not return. Taking their time, Echo Lake grieved in private before setting their course once more. On Monday (October 1st) the band are set to complete their first show in months, playing a late (but richly deserved) album launch at London venue the Lexington. Speaking on the phone, singer Linda Jarvis obviously finds it difficult to discuss the past six months in the band, but what shines through is her resolution to continue. “I think we always knew that we would keep playing but we've obviously had to make a few changes” she explains. “I think when that kind of thing happens you realise the things that are important to you and weave always thought it was important to keep playing. Obviously we took some time off. We've had to make a few changes now with this tour – some of our other band members couldn't come on the tour through work and various other reasons so we've pretty much got a new line up”.
Run on a shoestring budget, Echo Lake recorded debut album ‘Wild Peace’ in fits and spurts. What shines through, though, is the sound of the young band realising their potential; of ideas being recognised, embraced and realised. Perhaps one of the year’s most impressive dream pop documents – and there’s a lot of them about - ‘Wild Peace’ almost demands to be recognised.
Hopefully these new dates will earn Echo Lake a wider audience. Run on a shoestring budget, the tour has taken a while to organise, and has forced the band to re-organise. “ We've only done smaller tours in the past, mostly supporting other people as well, so it’s our first tour where we’re headlining most of the gigs” Linda Jarvis says. “It’s really hard. You've got to take the time off work, it’s costing us money and it’s a lot of organisation”.
It’s a risk worth taking. At their best a profoundly beautiful live experience, Echo Lake are focussing on one date at a time. Sadly, though, their mis-fortune has continued: Jarvis recently crashed on her bike, breaking a collarbone in the process. “It was pretty nasty. It wasn't my fault, it was just that another cyclist didn't turn their head before pulling out” she sighs. “I had just come down a hill so I was going pretty fast, smashed right into her and had to have surgery”.
The singer can see an upside, however. “I don’t need to carry my amp!” she laughs. “So we’re playing with Tom on guitar and our friend Will is playing bass. I’m playing keyboards – mostly with one hand but I’ll see how it goes, I might be able to play with two”. Re-learning their material, Echo Lake are adjusting and preening their live show. “ We've had to learn our current songs first so we’re pretty much playing our first album on this tour” she says. “The way we’re playing them live at the moment, most of them are the same tracks which we've been playing for a year or longer. They’re sounding quite different now so hopefully people who’ve heard us before will still find it quite exciting”.
Continually evolving, accepting and denying new influences Echo Lake have apparently been stockpiling sketches for new material. Guitarist Thom Hill leads the way, handing Linda Jarvis brush strokes of reverb coated guitar lines to work with. “Because it took so long to actually get the album out we've already got stuff written” she says. “Tom’s been writing the second album, I think he’s like 12 tracks into it at the moment. We’re working on the second album at the moment. It’s kind of just like having a cup of tea, he just pours the guitar lines.”
“We don’t really go to a studio we just record at home” she continues. “So we kind of fit it around all our other stuff. We’ll still be rehearsing and playing shows at the same time – I don’t think we need to do that kind of thing where you go to the studio for a month and record your album because we kind of record and write as it comes. We don’t really need to take time off to record, we can continue touring, I think.”
In addition to her musical work, Linda Jarvis is also a talented artist. Currently working on a backdrop for the Lexington show, the singer is typically bashful when explaining her work. “ I'm designing it. I've done all the designs for the posters and most of our artwork, but I think I'm going to do something pretty simple” she explains. “ I'm just going to be some material and some paint, I don’t think it’s going to be very exciting. Maybe some of the venues will have smoke machines or something!”
‘Wild Peace’ is out now.
Echo Lake are set to play the following shows:
1 London The Lexington
5 Brighton Green Door Store
8 Manchester The Castle
9 Glasgow Captain's Rest
10 Dublin The Workman's Club
11 Liverpool Leaf
12 York The Basement
13 Cambridge The Portland Arms
16 London Dingwalls (with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart)
18 Oxford The Bullingdon Arms
19 Birmingham Hare & Hounds
20 Cardiff SWN Festival
Click here to buy tickets for Echo Lake!
The Line Of Best Fit editor Rich Thane has set up a Just Giving page in memory of Pete Hayes. Find it HERE.