Interview: The Lighthouse and the Whaler Are Back with Cheerful, Nostalgic Single “When We Meet”

The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Lighthouse and the Whaler are finally back with the hopeful single “When We Meet,” anticipating their upcoming fourth studio album.
Stream: “When We Meet” – The Lighthouse And The Whale




One of the things we have missed most during the pandemic is staying in touch with our loved ones. Some have been able to see them in virtual calls, others have lost them and some have started living with them. However different these situations may be, the unbridgeable absence of human warmth sometimes makes itself felt too much, to the point of leaving us with only one hope: that of thinking about “When We Meet” again. It’s no coincidence that this is the title of the new single by The Lighthouse and The Whaler, with whom we had the pleasure to chat about nostalgia, social trends, and rediscovered demos.

When We Meet - The Lighthouse and the Whaler
When We Meet – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
I can feel the light on our hands
We give of what we have when we can 
And I’ll wait for you the ground
And I know we share all of this now
 
I, I look to the land
I look to the land
Right where, right where we’ll be I, I look to the land
I look to the land
Right where, right where we meet

We kind of missed The Lighthouse and The Whaler, even though their latest B-Sides EP, Brothers, was only released last year. But we all needed their comforting music – those indie folk sounds that have been with us for over a decade now. Finally, we have been satisfied with the most fraternal of ballads, “When We Meet”: A song of promise, that is, to find each other again even after the most reckless and mysterious of paths – a bit like the one we are currently traveling, in short.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Lighthouse and the Whaler

And to find, at the end of this tortuous path, an embrace that instantly relieves us of all pain.

So the hype for the next album, which is due for release this year – although the exact date has not yet been announced – is growing. But from the looks of things, ‘When We Meet’ looks like it will easily exceed our expectations. And if in Brothers the band sang “carry me back to where we started”, rest assured that with “When We Meet” you will look forward to the end of your journey, knowing that something awaits you that you have always sought but never found. 

Feel the growing age in our hands Giving all we have when we can
I’ll wait for you as the days count
And I know we have all we need know
 
We gotta hold on We gotta learn
We gotta hold on We’re gonna find it

To find out more about the upcoming album, we invite you to read the lovely chat we had with Michael LoPresti, The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s longtime songwriter.

:: stream/purchase When We Meet’  here ::

A CONVERSATION WITH THE LIGHTHOUSE AND THE WHALER

the lighthouse and the whaler

Atwood Magazine: WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND ''WHEN WE MEET''? HOW WAS IT BORN?

Michael LoPresti: “When We Meet” came out of the writing process that we did for the record that we’re coming out with this year. We’ve done like a bunch of writing for it for that record – it was probably like a year’s worth. We had a lot of extra songs that we love, in fact, “When We Meet” was one of the songs that we debated about a lot along with three or four songs that didn’t make this record – but really liked them.

The song came out of a pandemic era in a sense, because it’s just about being together with the people that you care about. While we get to do that in some ways, we’re also separate in a lot of ways and some people didn’t get to see their parents or grandparents. I think that was the heart behind it by year came from the sessions we did for this record

''BROTHER, CARRY ME BACK TO WHERE WE START(ED)'' (FROM 'BROTHERS'). HOW DO YOU FEEL, THINKING ABOUT THE MOMENT YOU STARTED YOUR JOURNEY?

LoPresti: It’s crazy, we’ve been really lucky to be able to do what we do through such a long period of time. If I can go back to the start and tell myself things, there’s a lot that I would do differently but I’m sure we all feel that way. But, you wouldn’t be the person you are without the journey to get where you are now. Our journey has been pretty cool! When I think about when we started, I always feel lucky and blessed that we had the opportunity to be where we are now. I have a lot of friends who were in bands, but through this period we’ve always been The Lighthouse and The Whaler. People come and they go and it’s nice to see that we’ve been able to keep them through this.

ALSO ABOUT 'BROTHERS', YOU SAID THAT YOU PLAYED IT A LOT LIVE – AND IT EVOLVED AS YOU TRIED IT OUT ON DIFFERENT AUDIENCES. HOW HAS IT EVOLVED AND WAS IT A MORE NATURAL PROGRESSION OR SOMETHING MORE INTENTIONAL? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT PLAYING DIFFERENT ARRANGEMENTS OF YOUR MUSIC?

LoPresti: We wrote “Brothers” together as a group in the practice session and then we were like “Let’s take it to the road, play it live!”. It was originally meant to be on our record Mont Royal, we played it live a bunch and it did evolve. When you play a song live there is a feeling that comes with that, you can feel the movement in the song where the emotion is most prevalent.

A lot of times, when you play for an audience they give that back to you as well. So, as we played it from multiple audiences we started to feel there are moments in the song that needed maybe only a bit more happening here, we need to capitalize on this moment in the song to really amp up that energy or – I don’t want to say amp up the emotion because that’s not the right way to say it. Amp up the energy or the feeling of that moment, you know. We could have that with the crowd – this, we need to concentrate on this.

It was definitely a natural progression. I don’t think we knew what the song was when we started with it and as we started playing it live we were starting to realize that this is where this song needs to go. Even in the studio it still evolved, we actually sat down and began to put it down in its final forum – it still was evolving even at that moment, so I don’t think we knew what exactly would it sound like. We just made the beginnings of it and then as we played it became what ended up being. That’s not our typical style, actually, but that’s just what happened with that song. Sometimes songs have different lives and so for the songwriter. In this one that’s just the way it went about that.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Lighthouse and the Whaler

WHAT’S THE THING YOU’RE MOST PROUD ABOUT, SPEAKING OF YOUR UPCOMING ALBUM?

LoPresti: For the first time I like every song on the record. It’s funny to say it, because usually it is a very democratic process for us to put songs on the records. So, it’s not just that one person’s decision, we come to consensus about songs – but for the first time I actually love all of the pieces that we put on the record.

It’s a sort of a testament to all the demoing and writing we did. We wrote a lot for this record and demoed a lot of songs, to find the ones that really said what we wanted them to say, but also felt the best and we thought would make a full album. Something that was a story but also a tangible collection that we could pass on, not just a single thing but a full piece of art that is for whoever listens to it – or whoever wants to listen to it.

I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of, we were able to put this collection together and actually care deeply about every single piece. In the past there were songs that weren’t my favorite, but ended up in the record maybe because when voting we had two against one. It happens all the time with our music, but on this one we really did come to an almost unanimous consensus on most of the songs.

HAS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE THREE OF YOU CHANGED, WITH THE PANDEMIC?

LoPresti: I don’t think it really changed throughout the way this has all played out for us. We live in different areas of our city and so we were already passing things back and forth remotely, before the pandemic even happened. We’re pretty close, we’ve been doing this for a long time together and we know each other pretty well. So, it really wasn’t anything that changed significantly for us.

We just realized that coming out of the pandemic and opportunities that are opening up for us moving forward was just to take advantage of, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the only thing that’s truly changed for the three of us collectively. We haven’t been able to see each other as often – which has been a bummer – but we’ve had Zoom meetings and been working on some songs in and there, so we’ve been able to keep rolling.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ARTWORK FOR 'WHEN WE MEET'. ONE COULD THINK IT’S JUST ANY OLD MOUNTAIN, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU?

LoPresti: There is a path in the photo – it might be difficult to see because it was intentional. I think that the path to meeting each other again is very difficult right now, so that was part of the mountain look and why the path is also not really clear. You can’t even see where it goes, you can just tell there is a place to walk.

That was very intentional because I didn’t want the song to be super pandemic oriented, but at the same time I thought this was a pretty significant moment for all of us. I wanted to have a song that was about this, so we made the artwork that showed the ambiguity with where the path goes and the fact that there’s a mountain (which is difficult to reach the top of). That was where that came from, and since the song has to do with finding each other again we wanted it to have that feeling.

When We Meet - The Lighthouse and the Whaler
When We Meet – The Lighthouse and the Whaler

LATELY, MANY ARTISTS HAVE BEEN ENJOYING SEEING HOW PEOPLE NAMED SOME PLAYLISTS THEY WERE PUT IN. IS THERE ANY PLAYLIST YOU’RE IN THAT STOOD OUT TO YOU?

LoPresti: I haven’t really looked at a lot of the playlists that we’re on. We did use a lot of adventure videos on TikTok, like with people going outdoors. I think that was cool, I’m a big outdoors guy so I thought “yeah, this is great, I hope people will use it”. That would be something I’ve noticed, it’s not like a specific playlist, just a little bit of a trend.

THERE ARE MANY DEMOS YOU LOVED, BUT YOU COULDN’T INCLUDE IN YOUR RECORDS (LIKE 'SAY WHAT IT IS YOU BELIEVE IN'). WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ONE? ARE YOU GOING TO RELEASE MORE OF THEM?

LoPresti: “Say What It Is You Believe In” is my favourite one – I love that song, I actually wanted it to be on the record. I had plans that it may potentially be in the next record we’ll work on. When it was in the demo phase I thought that we needed to bring this back, I just really like that song and what it had to say in the way that came about and all the sounds we got. I thought it was really cool.

I’m not sure if we will release any more of the material from that, there are some of them that may end up as another record potentially in the future or as singles. But, they wouldn’t be in their demo form, we’d finish them and make a full song. It’s fun to have songs that you maybe don’t think should go out to the world but people think “how could you not, put this out!” (Laughs) As an artist it’s always difficult to figure out which ones you think people would like or which ones you want to put up for whatever reason.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE THE FANS TO TAKE FROM YOUR NEXT RECORD?

LoPresti: I’ve always stayed away from trying to tell people what I think they should take from our music, but I do think that with this record I just want people to experience it for themselves in a pure way, where they can just read into what they need. I think that’s a cool thing about art, for example when I watch a movie identify with certain films or characters – because it’s something that I am going through or that I identify with.

For this record coming up I want people to listen to what we’re saying in the songs and realize that if we care about each other then we can do anything as people. We need to listen to each other a lot more, that’s something we’ve been missing for a long time. I think that would be the main message I want people to take away from it, on a pretty existential level. Not to get too specific, of course, but at least to give a little bit of a basis for the record.

HOW DO YOU WANT IT TO BE ''WHEN WE MEET'' IN YOUR NEXT LIVE PERFORMANCES?

LoPresti: I just want people to be there, not to have to be worried about whether or not they get sick or anything like that. I guess I imagine it being probably freeing for us as a band, but also hopefully for people who have this pent-up desire to go back to seeing live music. So, I imagine it will be very freeing, the first few times we get to go back and do that.

It will be a little emotional for us, just being able to be back playing music for people after such a huge space – and still the uncertainty about whether or when that will happen. It will make that moment when we actually get back on stage to play for people – in an unrestricted way, not like some people can come and some not, it will be a lot more beautiful.

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:: stream/purchase When We Meet’  here ::

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