Interview with: Lost Tapes

Lost Tapes is the (relatively)  new project of Pau Roca (La Habitación Roja) and RJ Sinclair (Tokyo Sex Destruction). They recently released their debut LP “Let’s Get Lost” on Mushroom Pillow. It’s a beautiful piece of work and has obviously been made with a lot  of care, attention and love. The sound harks back to the indie eighties without ever being derivative – it’s packed with classic pop tunes, and evokes warm summers, sea breezes and happy times. As a bit of a sentimental old fool myself (you’re certainly a fool. Ed.) it left me feeling rather nostalgic for my college disco days. We caught up with RJ to find out a little bit more.

Your single “Go For The Round” garnered lots of international attention – were you expecting that? 

Well, not at all, but also I can say that, all our releases were in different record labels, around the world, so maybe there’re more people who know the band outside of Spain than here.. This is our first release in our own country. BTW we’re so happy that people love our music. Maybe it’s easier to appeal to people from other countries than people in our own country. One of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, is the language. People in Spain are used to listening to Spanish bands singing in Spanish, if you do it in English it’s weird for them.

How does the dynamic work between you both work? Do you always agree on musical direction?

We’re living in different cities, so we started the band with this handicap, but these days new technology makes everything easier. All our songs are written with acoustic guitars, so we just have to record the chords and send them to the other person. This is true, we’re sharing phone voice notes to write songs 🙂

Then when we meet, we finish the song and we see how to record the song in the best way as possible. Most of the time we agree, but sometimes there’re different points of view. I’m little bit less electronic than Pau. In this record you can see the mix between guitars and electronics so we are both happy.

What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?

In relation to Lost Tapes ever since the first piece we worked on together it was cool for both of us and we wrote songs that we really liked, you know, that songs that you want to listen on the radio – that was the one of the reason to record songs together.

How do you know when a song you’ve working on is complete?

That’s a complicated question, because you always think songs could be better and better, but at some point you have to decide the song is ok. We play songs a number of times before we record it and spend lot of time ensuring every song is the best it can be – we concentrate especially on the chorus and when you get that right you can definitely say a song is on the right track.

 What, outside of the musical world, influences your art?

We love to watch movies and read books. So this is a real big part of our influences to write our songs. Always we find something in books or dialogues in a movie that make us to think in a song to write.

Do your songs change much when played on front of a live audience?

Well, we’re just two guys in the band so it depends what kind of show, if we play with the whole band (drums, bass, keyboard) we try to do a rock show, if we’re just the two then we could play an acoustic show or we can do a mix with guitars and work part of the songs with an iPad or something. But of course always we want to do something different than just the songs you can listen in our records.

What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?

Mmmm.. There are a lot of songs, right now I’m listening “Seek & Destroy “ by Metallica, it’s huge!!!

What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?

We’re are really music lovers so there will be lot of them (artists).. But talking about Lost Tapes, one of the big influences have been artists from the eighties like The Go-Betweens, Orange Juice, The Smiths, Felt, The Chills, The Feelies, The Pastels, Galaxie 500 and so many more, also lot of bands who recorded for  Sarah and Creation records.

Flowers or chocolate?

Mmm I’m not a big fan of chocolate, so I’ll say flowers.

Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?

Lot of songs that I listened when I was young – they make me feel nostalgic.. Some like The Field Mice “Emma’s House“ or Comet Gain “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever “and many others.

What is the best new band that you’ve heard recently?

Sheer Mag, from Philadelphia

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

Teenage Fanclub “Tears Are Cool “.. but I don’t want to die!!!

What question would you like to be asked that you never are? (And what would be your answer?)

No idea, I’m really bad about this. Also I’m really bad answering interviews, so to be a journalist will be a hell for me 🙂

Where next for Lost Tapes – is this the main artistic interest for both of you now?

Both of us are playing in other bands, but we’ve always thought that Lost Tapes is a real band, you know, not like a band to have fun or a second band of the others. We’ll try to do our best, still recording new songs and trying to tour a lot. Also our next steps – a new single for a new UK record label, release our album in Japan and other countries and play shows around the world!

Lost Tapes release The Lost Tapes “We Thought It Was Okay at the Time (2013-2015)” on Shelflife records this summer. Check out their facebook page to keep up to date and you can catch them at Primavera Sound shortly too.