1. Tell us about yourselves and what you do?
The Last Dinosaur is made up of me, Luke Hayden and Rachel Lanksey. We spend our free time at my home, recording whatever feels right. The music flirts with a few genres - mostly folk, post-rock and classical with some jazz elements. Or something.
2. How did you get together?
Luke and I have known each other since college in Cambridge (2001) and have always made music together in different guises. One day in late 2006 we decided to stay up late and experiment with a piano idea Luke had, just layering and exploring. This eventually became ‘The First Last Dinosaur Song’. This then led to a flood of creativity where we would often meet up in the evenings and record until the early morning. There wasn't any plan, we just enjoyed seeing where an idea wanted to go. I became friends with Rachel a few years later. She was the daughter of my Year 8 French teacher and happened to play the viola beautifully. She turned out to be another musical soul mate who helped turn the songs into something much more interesting and realised.
3. What is your current release/future release?
We released these recordings as an album called ‘Hooray! For Happiness’ in 2010 on a tiny indie. People seemed to understand where we were coming from and the album managed to garner some incredibly flattering reviews, which was a wonderful surprise. We are currently putting the finishing touches to the follow up, which will be called ‘The Nothing’. There isn't a release date decided quite yet but it will be released either late this year or early next.
4. What is the best part of being in a band?
The best part of being in a band is the feeling you get when you're playing music with your best friends.
5. What is your most significant moment yet?
We signed with Cooking Vinyl Publishing earlier this year which has been a fantastic experience. With their help I've been able to make the second album sound much closer to the way it does in my head, which is incredibly exciting. Without their support I'd still be making music but I'm certain it wouldn't sound as pretty.
6. What are your biggest musical influences?
I was brought up on folk music and every year since I can remember my family would all go to Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival in Oxfordshire, which was incredibly formative for me. I remember falling in love with a tape my dad made me when I was a fairly young child which had ‘Automatic For The People’ by REM on one side and ‘Woodface’ by Crowded House on the other. I must have listened to those albums over and over literally hundreds of times.
However, I would say that the band that have made the biggest impact on me musically would be Talk Talk. ‘The Colour of Spring’, ‘Spirit of Eden’ and ‘Laughing Stock’ (as well as Mark Hollis's solo album) are transcendental pieces of work that are as relevant today as any of the music they have since influenced and inspired. The ‘Colour of Spring’ has some 1980s touches but aside from that the music could have been created at any point in the past 30 years. Timeless.
7. What venue/gig do you most want to play?
That would be the gorgeous Union Chapel which, thankfully, we have been lucky enough to play at more than once.
8. What is your favourite song you have written?
I find this to be a particularly tough question to answer. This might sound odd but I think every one of the songs is my favourite but all for very different reasons. One of the more recent songs that I'm incredibly proud of is an instrumental from the new album called ‘On Water’. It began as silly mess around on my looping pedal where I looped my voice multiple times, a chord of ghostly vocal harmonies. Although I was quite fond of it, this loop stayed in my recorder for years before I started improvising piano parts over it, layering and layering. Slowly it all seemed to fall into place and now I can barely comprehend the journey from its unassuming beginnings to what it has since become. I'm really excited for the day I can share it with people.
9. What’s your favourite album of this year?
Well I’ve only lived with it for a few days now but I’m really enjoying the new Here We Go Magic album and I’m really looking forward to the two Mount Eerie releases that are due out this year because I’m a big fan of Phil Elverum.
10. What does the next six months have in store for you?
I recently recorded a cover for a Talk Talk tribute album which is to be released on Fierce Panda sometime after the summer. That's very exciting as it's a label I used to adore when I was a teenager. The album will also feature some of my favourite current bands which include Do Make Say Think, The Acorn, S. Carey from Bon Iver, Jason Lytle from Grandaddy and many others. But for the time being I’ll be working on finishing the second album and after that we will be doing our best to find it a good home. We will also spend some time concentrating on getting the live band back up to scratch after a bit of a break and then playing some much missed gigs.
11. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I'll be on my way to 40 in ten years time. That's about as much of that game as I can manage without having a panic attack.
12. What’s the best thing about Americana-UK?
I like it all but the logo. I'll do you a brand new, three-dimensional logo with gyrating ladies playing guitars for a very reasonable price.
Some websites -
‘Hooray! For Happiness’ - http://thelastdinosaur.bandcamp.com/album/hooray-for-happiness
‘The Last Dinosaur at Union Chapel- http://vimeo.com/25200270