DOWN LAST LEAF is one of the pleasant surprises I found in my wanderings through the net. Their sonority combines atmospheric rock with the melancholy of shoegaze, a modern and very good established version from the groups like SLOWDIVE, AIR FORMATION and others. We had a few words with Ben and Sascha.
Ben: It’s a pleasure, thank you. We are a swiss shoegaze band.
Sascha: We formed in 2003 as a kind of goth-rock band. In 2007 we had to reform with new members and changed our sound in a more post-rock shoegazy direction.
GROUNDCAST Why the name LAST LEAF DOWN? Is there any special reason?
Sascha: We were looking for a name that depicts the melancolic vibe in our music. Daniel first suggested the Metallica song title “no leaf clover”; I wasn’t ok with that and suggested “LAST LEAF DOWN”.
GROUNDCAST Shoegaze is a genre that is returning little by little, in bands like ALCEST, AVES, SOLINESS (so called by press as “blackgaze”) and some post-rock bands mixing the shoegazing with experimental music. Why did you decide to play a “pure” shoegazing?
Sascha: Do we? I guess it wasn’t an actual decision, but over the years our playing abilities as well as our approach on songwriting have changed quite alot. We’re always on the hunt for new soundscapes.
GROUNDCAST Nowadays, do you belive there is an audience to shoegaze?
Sascha: Hard question… I guess with really good songs there is always a chance.
Ben: Yes, thats right. Good songs always find listeners…
GROUNDCAST What and who are your influences? Sascha: speaking about Bands:Anathema, Katatonia, Jesu, Slowdive, Mogwai. In General: the longing for something or someone.
Ben: Emotional, moving moments…
GROUNDCAST I am very impressed when I listened LAST LEAF DOWN, I was impressed with the mix between alternative rock from bands like KATATONIA (Tonight’s Decision disc) and SLOWDIVE, all with much originality. How do you think in the band’s sonority? Is it proposital?
Sascha: That’s a great comliment, both of these bands are in my top five for sure. Lately I talked to KATATONIA’s Anders Blakkheim, he told me he is a great fan of slowdive as well. My personal vision was somewhat of a more melancholic shoegaze , maybe Darkgaze.
Ben: I think it’s very interesting to mix less gazy parts and really bright, gazy parts.
GROUNDCAST Many new bands are ‘recycling’ the music from 70s and 80s, creating a very repetitive music. Do you believe in a lack of creativity from these new artists?
Sascha: Well, sometimes I’m kind of irritated by the success of such bands. On the other hand I hear things like “your band sounds quite like the early 90’s shoegaze era”, and i think to myself: “oops …”
GROUNDCAST Do or did you have another projects?
Sascha: We all got regular jobs, so sadly there’s no time for more.
GROUNDCAST You share your songs freely on the Soundcloud. What is the reason?
Ben: We want to give people something to remember: Oh there is a band called LAST LEAF DOWN…
Sascha: I guess there’s no way you can sell your music in a lucrative way as an almost unknown band anyway. At this point I’m happy if people can listen to our music, positive feedback is always a pleasure.
GROUNDCAST One thing that I always ask to bands is about mp3 sharing. What is your position about the theme?
Sascha: There are plenty of bands that wouldn’t be where they are today without mp3 sharing. It’s not an entirely bad thing for musicians, ultimately it’s a form of advertising, as well.
Sascha: ANATHEMA, KATATONIA, PETTER CARLSEN, Soundtracks and I’ve got my second slowdive phase. In my car I’m currently listening to the french coldgaze band TEAM GHOST, I’ll give it a spin….
Ben: I actually really like THE NATIONAL and I’m a great fan of PETTER CARLSEN, ANATHEMA and KATATONIA, too. But I also love SNOW PATROL and SAYBIA.
GROUNDCAST Thank you so much for this interview. We are so grateful to show for Brazilians your work. So now, it is your space. Let’s go.
Ben: Thank you very much. All the best.