The following interview was originally posted at TheAlbumProject.Net, which has since become the new music and streaming site liisten.com. The interview was conducted September 6, 2010 in the days following the release of the band's most recent album The Agreement. In this previously unavailable interview, I got to talk to Seth Roberts about the disappearance of the band for 4 years, the personal stories that made up The Agreement, and being an unsigned band.
What has the band been doing since ‘Photographs EP’ was released 4 years ago?
SR: We’ve been playing kind of here and there, going in and out of members and for me, I was putting off music because of things with my personal life.
With the EP, we almost fell apart and now we’re back together. When we started, it wasn’t really a band, just me and my friend Jason. When we were recording, I had different intentions for why I was making the album than I do now. Watashi Wa broke up and Jason and I started a new band called Eager Seas and we recorded a full length with Tooth and Nail Records and, long story short, we had to change the name back to Watashi Wa. So [Eager Seas] was kind of our first album. We still play those songs. It has now kind of turned into an actual band which is way cooler. We have grown up playing music. This album [‘The Agreement’] shows a little of all of that.
I didn’t realize until recently that ‘The Agreement’ is Lakes’ first full-length. How has that shaped the artistic process?
SR: I don’t know that it shaped the record. We went to record a full length and we got done and it was like, ‘Let’s scratch half of it and start over,’ so that shaped the process. When we did the EP, we prepared for that a lot more and we did preproduction for the songs and they had lived a lot longer, they had been around a lot longer, and we changed them a lot.
When we did this album, we went to record and it was like, ‘We have these songs, but we don’t have them arranged and we’ll just see what happens.’ A lot of that process is cool because it’s more raw and real. But a lot of it turned out weird so we scratched those or recorded them differently.
We recorded this album over a while. We recorded 2 songs with Drew Shirley from Switchfoot and then we recorded a few songs just here and there. In past bands we definitely did full-lengths a lot different.
A lot of it was due to the band going through phases and new members.
I love how honest the record feels; was that intentional or did it just happen naturally?
SR: Honestly, this record is real personal for me and it is really honest and is about a lot of stuff with me and my wife, memories we have together, and ultimately losing her as my wife. It wasn’t intentional at first, but it makes sense it ended up to be like a story because I was writing about it at the time.
Is there a reason for the reoccurring imagery of bicycles?
SR: There is. The bicycles and all the imagery are symbols of parts of my relationship and friendship with my wife. Those are our bikes on the cover and all the symbols are of landmark events of our relationship.
The footage in the preview video for ‘The Agreement’ is very polished and artistic, is there a music video in the works?
SR: There is! There’s a bunch. Definitely four that are done and a few more coming after that. We’ll kind of release them slowly. There are two for “The Ghost And the Man” that show two different perspectives of the song. There’s one for “Back in Your Head” and one for the song called “Sweet Dream.” There’s a few after that; for “I Was There” and “Broadlyn.”
It’s been fun. We recorded the album ourselves, and we did the videos with our friends, and the artwork—Matt did the cover. We were making the videos with friends and we were all really involved and it was really fun.
Are we going to have to wait another four years for the next album?
SR: No, not at all. We already are playing [new] songs and hopefully we’ll have a new album next year. Like I said, it’s a lot different band. We’re excited to do what we’re doing.