"I don't give a fuck" is Mike Duce's response when quizzed if he has ever felt like he has been too open with his lyrics. Never has a sentiment better summed up a person, with Lower Than Atlantis’ frontman being one of the most outspoken and potty-mouthed men in rock.
Rewind a few years and things were looking great for LTA.The quartet had signed to Island, a record label that is home to some of the world’s biggest recording artists, and the sky was their limit. The resulting album, Changing Tune, was far from a flop, taking the band to the main stage of Reading and Leeds, as well as producing songs that would grace the airwaves and become fan favourites, but despite this success, it wasn’t enough for the label.
“Unachievable targets were set,” says Duce. “I think they wanted us to be as big as any sort of pop group, which was never going to happen. We’re not that accessible and we’re not that fucking good either.”
The decision was taken for LTA and Island to part ways, a move that may have spelled disaster for lesser bands did little to deter the tenacious frontman. Along with bandmates guitarist Ben Samson, bassist Dec Hart and drummer Eddy Thrower, Duce simply set about getting to work writing and recording what would go on to be the band’s new self-titled album. An album which Duce declares “fucking great.” The best album the band has yet put their name to, it’s everything there is to love about LTA raised to a whole new level, a record that sees Duce’s trademark song-writing craft creating even bigger pop hooks, something which separates the band from the current rock scene.
“I don’t think we fit in,” Duce admits. “The best thing about never being cool is you can never really be uncool. You have this whole stupid pop-punk, ‘hats on backwards, skateboards, people saying rad’ bullshit that used to be the hardcore scene. It’s best to stay away from it. It’s like flares in the ‘70s, that’s how the scene is at the minute.”
Lower Than Atlantis is an album that, while perhaps not be for those aforementioned ‘hats on backwards people saying rad’, is poised to go down a storm with the band’s ever growing fan base. Given Duce’s past as a labourer and his desires to escape from the world of mundane day jobs to make music for a living there is a growing army of kids looking up to the man and hoping to follow in his foot steps to jack in the world of 9 to 5 and be rock stars. Does the singer feel any pressure at being a role model to more and more people?
“It comes with the territory,” says Duce. “But if there are people who look up to me, maybe they should get a better role model.”
While this reluctance to be a poster boy for a generation of budding rock fans is just another example of Duce not giving a fuck, his no-nonsense attitude actually reveals how much he values the LTA fan base.
“We’ve got a good fucking relationship with our fans,” he states. “We’ve always been very careful to never bullshit people. I hate what a lot of American bands do: ‘We love you guys, oh my God!’, all that bullshit. It’s just bollocks. You don’t love someone you don’t fucking know. You appreciate them buying your music, so you can thank them for that. The best thing you can do when you meet someone that supported your band is just to treat them like an equal. We’ve all got holes in our arses.”
So with the best album of their career being unleashed upon the world, and a devoted fan base behind them, are LTA back to that position where the sky is the limit? Where does Mike Duce want to take Lower Than Atlantis? Sold out arena shows? Headlining festivals?
“Nah, we’re not really fussed about that sort of bullshit,” says Duce. “At the minute all we’re worried about is having fun, being mates and making music. So just having a laugh.”
This sentiment is ever present on the band’s new album with a recurring theme of making the most of your time on the planet and living life to the fullest. The future is looking bright for Lower Than Atlantis once more and the band are clearly going to make the most of the ride. Who knows where this album will take them? Some people will like Lower Than Atlantis, some won’t but one thing is for sure, Mike Duce doesn’t give a fuck what you think.
Lower Than Atlantis’ self-titled album is out today (October 6) on Sony. Read our view of the album here.