Time flies: it’s hard to believe that Lost Tribe have already been together five years. With a new 12″ release, “Solace,” coming up soon on Mass Media Records in the US and Avant! Records in Europe, a line up that has expanded to 6 people, and an upcoming bi-coastal North American tour (dates below), the band has shown no signs of slowing down. Since the band’s “The Dawn“ cassette release in 2010, Lost Tribe have been called gothic rock, peace punk, deathrock and everything else. I think my favorite description was Blind Prophet‘s (their former label) once describing them as “apocalyptic post-peacepunk darkwave but with a solid d-beat & crust backbone.” Hard to add anything to that!
The Richmond, Virginia band gets their name from the Discharge song “Lost Tribe Rising.” And despite Blind Prophet’s description of them, drummer Kyle Warzybok has pointed out that “there is not a single, proper d-beat on our LP.” The band’s mix of crusty deathrock with goth and punk rightly continues to win fans. “Solace” should be available in a few weeks in the USA – late October or early November 2014. (And a proper review of “Solace” will be coming to CVLT Nation soon, along with maybe some other surprises….)
Lost Tribe were interviewed by Oliver in October, 2014.
The last time I interviewed you guys was in July, 2012. At that time, Lost Tribe was either a 4 or 5 piece band. On the new “Solace” release, it looks like there’s 6 members in the band now? What is the band lineup now – who plays what?
Shravan (Deolalikar, bass): Lost Tribe has been a six piece for the past year and a half at this point. Currently we have Davey Bales on vocals, Kyle Warzybok on drums, Jonathan Kassalow on synth, Forrest Mallonee on guitar, Francesca Araya on guitar, and myself on bass.
How has it been trying to play out with that many members? I’ve noticed a lot of bands are actually paring down their lineups to the point where a group comprised of only two people is not uncommon. But Lost Tribe has gotten bigger! Has it been hard juggling work schedules, getting along, coordinating everybody’s schedules? What do you think the members bring to the table that was maybe lacking in the previous, smaller Lost Tribe lineup(s)?
Shravan: Ha – great question. As you can imagine, doing a band, or for that matter anything, with six people is a real challenge. Everyone in the band currently has very different jobs, so that makes it hard as well. Forrest works at a print shop, Kyle works in kitchens, JK is the sound guy at the local club, Fran works at a photo lab, Davey is unemployed, and I work in IT. I’m actually somewhat impressed with how much we have been able to practice and work on the band for a six piece given our different work schedules.
I’ve learned over the years that a band becomes an exercise in patience, especially when you are over a couple years in. Everyone gets excited about starting new bands here, but it’s a challenge to keep a band together. We are at our 5 year mark, and it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride. There have been times when I wanted to throw band members out of the van into traffic. Obviously that never happened, but what has really kept us going is the big picture. The dream that we will get better, release awesome records, and tour all over the world. Temporary fights and disagreements happen, but everyone seems to have the ability to put them aside and focus on the long term.
Kyle (Warzybok, drums): The different work schedules have made it really difficult to get all six people in the same room at the same time. We were already good friends with Fran and Forrest so bringing them in on guitar was kind of a natural progression. Their open-mindedness has allowed us to move into the direction we wanted to go in, and I think this is the tightest we’ve ever sounded.
The keyboards and synths, to me, are one of the distinctive features of Lost Tribe’s sound. The creepy keys and synths at the beginning of Side 2 on “Solace” are really great, and put me in the mind of 80s deathrock or maybe the intro to an old Halloween horror host special from the 60s, but also 60s proto-punk/garage like Music Machine. Whose idea was it to have keyboards and synths play such a prominent role in Lost Tribe’s sound, considering that at the time you all started doing that, it wasn’t common for heavier punk bands to really use them?
Shravan: When we first started the band, we liked the idea of having synths. We thought it would fill out our sound. Since we recorded with JK, and knew he played synths and was familiar with all related music technology, it seemed like a natural choice. JK has always been strongly influenced by Goblin and Hawkwind, so that certainly comes through in the synth lines and tones.
I know a lot of people hear different influences in your sound. I remember saying I could hear TSOL, Samhain, and of course 80s UK postpunk, deathrock, and the like. What are some of the strangest comparisons you’ve heard about your sound, and how would you describe it to someone that’s never heard you all before?
Shravan: Tough question. I would say the strangest comparison I have ever heard was from my uncle listening to a track off the second cassette we did and saying we sound like “The Doors”. Funny enough, I later heard you compare us to the Doors as well… ha! We all have our different influences, that certainly fall in the categories that you listed but I can’t say we sound more like one genre or the other. Personally, I’m terrible at describing my own music to other people, because I never think the descriptions do it justice. That’s why I’m glad we have music writers like you!
Now to bring up something I guess I hadn’t realized last time I interviewed you all, but I’ll bring it up now. Lost Tribe are a pretty ethnically diverse band. There was a time that a lot of activist-types would criticize punk music as just music for angry white guys, and if you wanted to listen to the real modern sounds of resistance, or music with real street cred, or whatever, you needed to listen to underground hip hop or certain forms of world music. I think the “whiteness” of punk has always been overblown (Bad Brains, X-Ray Spex, UK Decay, YDI, Swiz, Anasazi, Blood Horses, etc.), and in fact musically there was even a point that some people criticized punk as being “merely sped up Chuck Berry,” but is there anything you would all like to say in regard to this? Has ethnicity been a factor at all in the types of songs Lost Tribe makes? Are your songs political or do they in any way reflect the different backgrounds of the members, whether from a race or class (or any other) standpoint? Have you gotten any unusual or backwards reactions from folks because of the diverse nature of the band?
Shravan: I agree with you saying the whiteness of punk has been “overblown” and to insist on it actually does more to cast a shadow on ethnically diverse members of past bands. Honestly though, I would say ethnicity has had little impact on the music we make. It is true we are a very diverse band, but the fact is we all grew up in the USA around the same time and all were sort of outcasts and weirdos in our adolescence, which has more to do with our involvement in punk and this band. The songs, lyrically, have always tended to reflect on Davey’s personal mental issues, from as far as I can gather. Musically, the songwriting is more a reflection of our interest in styles of music, and bands that we enjoy.
What are some of the biggest influences on Lost Tribe’s sound, musically? What are some of your favorite bands whose sound you’ve felt have played a part in what Lost Tribe ultimately sounds like?
Shravan: I have always been influenced by bands like Red Temple Spirits, Musta Paraati, Kaaos, Modern English, Goblin, Sisters of Mercy, Discharge and many similar bands from the early 80’s. I have never thought we sound like any one band in particular, or for that matter I never thought we fit in one sub-genre over another.
Kyle: I don’t think we necessarily sound like any of these bands, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Pyhat Nuket, Riistetyt, Cortex, Valtiokolhoosi, Spectre’s newer LP, and the Jeanne D’Arc Johanna records compilation.
Davey (Bales, vocals): Prince.
Last interview, I asked you ll who some of your current favorite bands were, bands that you thought deserved more attention, and some of the answers I got were Cemetery, Anasazi, Moral Hex, and Pleasure Leftists. A really good list of bands. What bands would you include in that list this time around?
Shravan: I like the Moth LP from Denmark, Kuudes Silma and Silent Scream from Finland are also heavy on rotation. I got a chance to hear some of the new Rule of Thirds recordings, and I really like that as well. We recently played with Crimson Scarlet, and they were really awesome, so I’d mention them as well.
Kyle: Some of my favorite bands we’ve played with this past year were Eel, Blazing Eye, Pura Mania, and Generacion Suicida to name a few.
Photo: Sarja Ann
What label is the new LP coming out on, and how did that happen? I believe I heard that Blind Prophet is no more. “Solace” is coming out on Mass Media and Avant!, isn’t it? How did you all make those connections and when will it be out?
Shravan: I had been a fan of some of the stuff Mass Media Records has been putting out recently, so it seemed like a natural choice. I had sent them the recordings, and they were excited to release the album. Andrea from Avant! Records has been in communication with us for awhile, and had always been interested in releasing something for us. So he was thrilled to handle the European pressing of the album. The record should be out late October.
What are your touring plans? It seems I saw you all in the lineup at Big Ass Weekend in Houston for February of next year with bands like Arctic Flowers and even Government Issue? Where are you all playing, and when?
Shravan: We are about to embark on an East and West Coast tour this November in support of our new LP.
Lost Tribe Fall 2014 Tour:
We are also slated to play Bad Ass Weekend near Houston, Texas in February, 2015, and will probably organize a small southern/Texas/midwest tour around it.
If there’s anything you’d like to say, give a shout-out to, etc., that you didn’t get an opportunity to above, go ahead and say it here. Thanks so much for the interview and I’m sure I’ll see you all again soon!
Shravan: As always thanks for staying a fan and supporting our music. Also special thanks to Avant! Records, and Mass Media for putting out our new album.