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An Interview With

Patrick J. Pearson

(LYR) Land Yacht Regatta


Credits: Katie Sylvester


Undoubtedly, the creative explosion of LYR emerges from the poetry of Simon Armitage. It is impossible for anyone reading the poetry of the British poet, not to feel the need to search for music that will bond with it and not just transform it but complete it, as a necessary condition for its very existence. Poetry is in itself a torch of creation, a root to which art will forever owe its existence and its flourishing. Simon's cohorts, Richard Walters and Patrick J. Pearson stand together at the edge of a not-so-easily accessible musical road. They transform, dress and highlight Simon's poetry, through their own fictional music respectively narrative.

In today's digital age, it's even more vital that this happens. Vital, and a reminder of who we were before the birth of computers and digital music recording media. From a songwriter's paper, with music, words can become symbols and then complete works of art of a different dimension than the one they belonged to before. LYR, work mostly instinctively. In a process of in-the-moment inspirations and of course effortlessly working through what synesthetically comes up and seems to work well within a piece of music, they write upon Armitage's poetry, which is so evocative and moving.

We got to know LYR in 2021, from their amazing “Cascade Theory” EP, although they have been recording since 2020, with their first album "Call in the Crash Team". Back then, the indie guitar atmosphere, accompanied by Armitage's spoken word narration, seemed to explore some scientific phenomena. Blending rock influences with organic electronic elements, inspired by classical minimalist principles, LYR seemed to open brand new musical windows to the audience. In 2022, another riveting EP, "Firm as a Rock We Stand", followed and in May 2023 their most complete work came out.

Their new album "The Ultraviolet Age", consisting of ten new songs, lacks the musical tensions of 2021 or 2022, but features Armitage's maturity and deft poetry. Climate change is the main theme among the highly descriptive and measured, very vivid spoken lyrics. From the album opener “Paradise Lost” to “Seasons Out of Phase” and “The Bitter End” (about a lost plane that crashed and was revealed after the ice melted), till the end of the album with “To The Fashion Industry in Crisis”, overall this is a well crafted collection of emotionally poetic songs.

Rich, profound and enticing "The Ultraviolet Age" also features powerful moments like "The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash", a heartbreaking depiction of a confused elderly relative's visit during the pandemic, who doesn't understand why human contact isn't possible...

Below, you can read what producer and multi-Instrumentalist Patrick J. Pearson told us about their new work.

 

The Ultraviolet Age by LYR (out 30/6/2023)
 

 

 


The Basement: Hello LYR ! First of all, it's an honour to have you for this Q&A. Please, introduce yourselves to us, who are LYR?

It’s a pleasure! Land Yacht Regatta (LYR) are Simon Armitage, Richard Walters and Patrick Pearson.


The Basement: Let's flash back to your previous work. I personally found out about your music through  the excellent "Cascade Theory" of 2021. Tell us more about that period of your life and the lockdown.

Cascade Theory was the lead track from an EP we made between records. We were between projects, the lockdown had been lifted and we were playing shows again. I feel that EP was an exploration of what we had learned from the first record and what we were doing live. More guitars and more energy! I think everyone had their own personal experience with the pandemic, as a band we didn’t find it constricting, we’ve always worked remotely so we kind of just kept working.


The Basement: What made you choose "Land Yacht Regatta" as a band name. Is there something symbolic in that?

"Land Yacht Regatta” came from Simon, it felt right to have three words, representing each of us perhaps. It’s a hybrid, something that shouldn’t work, but does.


The Basement: Simon's poetry has existed since 1989, but what prompted him to music composition with the cooperation of Richard Walters and Patrick J. Pearson?

Richard and Simon had been working on the idea of a musical adventure for a year or so, they brought me in to help bring it life, and that was the start of it really. We sent ideas back and forth over email until we had something that we wanted to show the world. Simon has always had a deep love for music, so it seemed to make a lot of sense.


The Basement: Give us a glimpse about County Durham villages and what happened there that made you want to tell their story.

The EP ‘Firm as a Rock’ was a commissioned piece about the category D villages of County Durham. These were places built to serve the mining pits in the county. When the pits closed a lot of these villages were deemed to be ‘decommissioned’, some struggled on without services, some were bulldozed, some turned to woods.  It was a tragic and haunting piece of history we had no idea about, so we felt compelled to write for it. It helped to have the emotional weight of a brass band behind us. After the performance in Durham Cathedral we came off stage in floods of tears.
 


 


The Basement: Do you think spoken word is empowered from music or vice versa?

I do, I think they both stand alone as well, but there’s definitely something enhancing when the two are put together. Each one has to consider the other, something we have learned from being a band.


The Basement: Who's idea was "The Ultraviolet Age" and how did you come up with this particular cover for the album? Who's the designer?

"The Ultraviolet Age" was a lyric from Seasons out of Phase, describing the moment we emerged from the pandemic, with this strange other worldly view. It was a nod to over exposure, in many ways, and we thought it summed up the record nicely. The cover art was something Simon made with the artist Anthony Gormley, a group of figures, perhaps he was channeling each one of us ?


The Basement: What is your new album about? What topic is it dealing with?

The record deals with a bunch of topics, some are more current affairs, dictatorship, post pandemic life, dystopia. Others are rooted deeper in the climate crisis conversation. There’s moments of light and dark in the themes, some laughs, some tears.


The Basement: What types of music do you listen to in your free time?

We listen to all sorts, we come from different generations of music, but we do settle on similar records. Talk Talk, Bowie, Joy Division, Low. We’re always passing each other new recommendations!


The Basement: Any gigs or tours planned? Give us a glimpse of your future plans.

We’ll be up and down the UK in September and October promoting the new record. Beyond that I’m sure we’ll be chipping away at new material!

 

The Basement: Thanks so much Patrick!

 


Credits: Katie Sylvester

 

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