With Paper the Walls, the large (ranging from six to nine members) sweeping pop ensemble of Loch Lomond have crafted a beautiful, waltzing, and adventurous pop record. Frontman Ritchie Young shares the ambition (and voice) of Sufjan Stevens, with gentle songs that are heavy on the whimsical details and dramatic arrangements. Young took a moment to talk about his hatred for performing solo, and manipulating Scottish sea creatures for a profit.
Paper the Walls definitely feels like the most complete Loch Lomond recording to date. Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted the album to sound like when setting out to record it?
When we set out to record Paper the Walls, we had a different set of goals than with our last record [an EP entitled Lament for Children]. I love Lament for Children, but it was recorded randomly and without a single focus. Our number-one goal when writing and recording this record was to re-create the live show (to the best of our abilities). I am very proud of this record and I believe it comes close to that. With Lament for Children, I have always had to explain the production quality; I am happy to no longer have to send our CD into the world with an explanation.
Juggling a lineup with so many members with multi-instrumental skills, is it ever difficult to dictate who plays what in each song?
Amanda Lawrence and I usually work out the basic setup for each show or tour. Then the band as a whole figure out the details over the following couple of practices. Everyone in the band, except for myself, is classically trained and really adaptive. For example, when Dave Depper and Scott Magee each joined the group, they had learned almost every part of every song before the first practice. It was amazing and a huge relief. Doug Jenkins joined and learned while we were playing. It blows my mind. It took me a year to learn the theme song from Beverly Hills Cop.
After starting as a solo project and growing to a full band, do you ever miss any elements of the early Loch Lomond days when it was just you?
No, I hate playing by myself. I don't feel the intensity when I am playing solo, and I know people pick up on that. When the whole band is in attendance, things generally go well; I feel like we have all the time in the world and it is powerful and refreshing. There are so many great solo projects out there. It seems to me that I'm better suited to be in a group of performers.
If a sea monster, similar to the one in Loch Ness, were spotted in the real Loch Lomond (located 14 miles north of Glasgow, Scotland), would the popularity resulting from this discovery help the band at all?
Are you trying to ruin this whole thing? Yeah, fuckin' A, it would help. That's why we trapped the big green bitch, rented a helicopter, and dropped it, net and all, in Loch Lomond. That band Loch Ness is gonna be pissed! Well, I guess the secret's out. Fair enough. Long live the Loch Lomonster!
Loch Lomond perform at Mississippi Studios on Saturday, October 6.