Arctic Lake build on the foundations laid by the likes of Bat for Lashes or London Grammar, whilst managing to never feel derivative.  They are a band whose emotion is close to being a tangible presence, and stems from introspection and the human condition behind those emotions. Their latest single, ‘Only Me’, feels more subdued than previous release ‘Limits’, though no less distinctive. It floats effortlessly on an airy bed of understated electronics. Icy, emphatic and rife with subtle nuances – it’s a quintessential sound, and one which will ultimately become synonymous with the band as their career progresses.

Our man in the north, Dave Beech catches up with Arctic Lake following on from their recent release of ‘Only Me’.

The name Arctic Lake, it seems to match your sound perfectly. Were there other ideas going back and forth before you settled on that name, or was it always going to be Arctic Lake?

Andy: It was a name I felt we grew into. It’s always difficult settling on a band name, and getting to the point in which you say it confidently and mean it; that took a while for us. The ambiance of our music seems to go hand in hand with the natural imagery of the name, and this is great because it gives journalists a field day. We’ve been described as everything from chilling, glacial, ice cold and tranquil, words we love to associate with our music. All in all, we’ve been incredibly lucky with the name and hope it gives people an abundance of words to describe our chilled, ambient sound.

Your sound falls somewhere between London Grammar and Bat for Lashes, both subdued yet emphatic, but how would you describe it?

Emma: I think we speak for most artists when we say we hate labeling ourselves, especially when we are still developing our sound and opening ourselves to experimentation but truthfully I suppose we fall under the whole, ambient/alternative sub genre but we love how you described it! We are all huge fans of both Bat for Lashes and London Grammar so that’s really great to be described as falling in-between. I think you worded it perfectly to be honest, our music tries to battle intimacy and restraint trying to showcase human nature and our ability to feel emotion and the whole spectrum that comes with that.

With that in mind, who would you say your biggest influences are, musical or otherwise?

Paul: We’re into anything with a good melody really, whatever the genre. In terms of what directly influences us, we love hearing a great atmosphere – people like Bon Iver, Daughter and The XX are incredible at creating that sort of feel, and it’s very easy to lose yourself in their music. We try and do the same sort of thing with our own songs. There’s also such a huge amount of great new music coming through at the moment, probably too much to mention, but a band we can’t stop listening to at the moment are Fickle Friends. We’re fortunate enough to be supporting them near the end of this month, so it’s a night we’re really looking forward to.

You recently premièred new single ‘Only Me’, what have the reactions been like?

Andy: We’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of people who have got in touch and told us how much they enjoy it. I think it’ll always be hard for ‘Only Me’ to outshine the reception of ‘Limits’, but we’re hopeful that it’ll do just as well. This new single [Only Me] is slightly more intricate with a few more added elements to capture the listeners imagination. It’s a track we love playing live, and is the one we close our set with. We’re so grateful for the attention people have given Only Me, and we hope our fans like it as much as our debut.

Your previous single ‘Limits’ was featured on the Radio 1 playlist, what was that like? Has it opened any doors for you as band?

Paul: It was amazing to be played on such a huge radio station, and for so many people to be exposed to our music. The main thing has been the reaction from new fans who heard the song and found us online – it’s great to hear that our music connects with people and speaks to them on a personal level.

Compositionally, your tracks are quite ambient and atypical, do these soundscapes come before or after the lyrics? What’s the writing process like behind Arctic Lake? Do you find it to be as organic as the tracks seems?

Paul: The instrumentation does often come before the lyrics and vocals. It’s just the way that we’re comfortable with writing and the way that seems natural to us. We usually take an idea that someone has come up with on their own, usually a chord pattern or instrument based idea, and then work together to create the layers and melodies over the top that really fill out the sound and make the songs our own. Typically we write our own instrument parts – Emma does lyrics and vocals, Andy does drums and electronics and I do guitar or keys, but we do have input and suggest things to each other all the time. Some songs take a long time to finish and others are done in a few hours, but the whole process does feel pretty organic to us, we love writing music and everything that goes with it.

Lyrically, emotions seem to be the biggest influence on your music, as opposed to any individual lyricist or band, and it’s those that take centre stage in your tracks, the music acting as a perfectly understated backdrop. Are the tracks as personal as they appear, and do you ever struggle with some of the content when writing them?

Emma: Honestly writing lyrics is different every time for me, sometimes the lyrics will be completely instant, I hear the music and the words just pour out onto the paper; its not until after we’ve dusted off the song and we’re performing or listening to the master that i relate what my subconscious could of been outlining or I just personalise it from my past or more often than not, it will be a personal occurrence that inspires the song. Our outro for example, at the moment I fight myself every time we perform it to not get too emotional but you know it really is different every time. My biggest wish is for people to simply be able to connect and relate to the lyrics in our songs, when you can find your own meaning in a song and make it mean something to you that’,s when music really becomes powerful and so I think writing lyrics that conjure or display obvious emotion has always been something important to us.

In that respect, do you try to employ a certain level of ambiguity when finishing off and finalising your lyrics, so as to allow fans to create their own narrative?

Emma: I mean I probably should! But I don’t fuss to extensively over readjusting lyrics, the emotion has to be real behind them so I like to leave them as raw as possible if that makes any sense?! But I do have this thing where if anyone asks me what a certain song is about I won’t answer, it’s not to be awkward its just when you give someone an interpretation of something it stifles their own and like I said I think the most powerful thing for us is people being able to relate the music on a personal level. So yeah I suppose in that way I like to be ambiguous.

With a handful of singles now behind you, can we expect an EP or LP any time soon?

Andy and Paul: Either an EP or LP would be something we’ve always wanted to do, from the moment we started Arctic Lake. We’re even considering pressing our music to vinyl which would be a dream for us, and something we hope our listeners would like too. We’d want our first album to feel like a journey, with all the songs flowing into each other; a real listening experience. We’ve written a few songs that we’re in love with at the moment, but just want to wait till the right moment to share them with the listeners.

Finally, what can we expect from Arctic Lake as we go in to the latter half of the year?

Andy & Paul: We’re taking things slowly at the moment and not thinking too far ahead, but we’ve been overwhelmed with the reaction to our music so far, so releasing more music is definite. Right now we’re not sure whether that would mean a few more singles or an EP, we’ll have to wait and see!