What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

We all met at the University of Huddersfield while studying there, some on our Master’s year and some in our final year. We were all Music or Music Technology students, so we clearly already had a passion for making and performing music, and the stars aligned for us all to come together really.

Introduce us to all the members and your musical history.

LONG ISLAND consists of Rhiannon Stephenson on lead vocals, Cameron Conner on guitar and backing vocals, Paddy Spence-Lewis on bass, and Jan van Beem on drums. We all come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from previous bands and solo projects in completely different styles from acoustic-based to electronic acts.

Name me your 3 favourite Albums.

Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else / Lizzy McAlpine – Five Seconds Flat / Jeremy Zucker – love is not dying

What was the first song you heard as a group that steered you to your sound?

Probably IRL by Fickle Friends – Cameron heard that track and loved the production and writing on it. It spawned the whole idea of fun indie-pop that can incorporate any sort of genre influence while still being catchy.

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, how do you feel you are doing?

We think we’re doing pretty well. We’ve been doing this entire album cycle independently and we’ve received more feedback and interactions with our music than we ever expected when we first started releasing five months ago. As much as you try not to focus on numbers, it’s nice to see people connecting with the music as much as we did when creating it!

I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?

I think a lot of the time artist’s calling out people doing anything bad when they see it really helps, but from on stage that can be difficult. If you’re in an audience and you see someone uncomfortable, stand up for them and help out – the least you can do is look out for one another as everyone is there to enjoy the same band.

As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?

We’re all pretty bad at keeping up with social media honestly! We just keep putting things out there, whenever we’re doing something together like practicing or writing we’ll put something up on Instagram and making sure we’re ahead of schedule on releases so we can properly promote and tease each release!

Tell us two truths and a lie about your band.

Our band is named after someone had one too many Long Island Iced Teas; before the band none of us had ever performed live on stage before; ‘staring at the ceiling’ was written together months before we even became a band. Figure it out!

What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?

It’s really not a great thing for the industry – the tiny amount that artist’s get paid per stream is still incredibly shocking, especially when you think that amount then typically gets split between labels and managers too. That being said – Spotify, add us to your official playlists, thanks!

Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?

Not quite a conspiracy theory but the Mandela Effect is extremely interesting – the idea that a lot of people have a collective false memory about something that it seems real.

Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?

Of course – having access to all of this top range equipment for free at university to suddenly having none of it caused a few purchases that we probably didn’t need in reality. A copy of Pro Tools that got touched once and subsequently forgot to have the subscription cancelled was probably the worst.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Luckily, we haven’t had anything awful happen yet – touch wood! The worst so far only been a few forgotten parts. In soundcheck, we did have Ableton not sending out any audio. A quick reset fixed that thankfully!

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.

Rhiannon – I went bald once
Cameron – I used to play competitive Mario Kart Wii
Paddy – I once fainted because my spaghetti was too hot
Jan – I have a big collection of moss (and I will not elaborate further)

What makes you stand out as a band?

Our mix of styles. We’re an indie-pop band, but we’re not afraid to step outside of those confines and experiment with outlying genres and sounds. The album as a whole contains so many influences from electronic music to pop-punk to folk, it’s a melting pot of everything we like.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

Yes! Our new album ‘infatuation’s a nightmare’ is out. It’s a 9-track album that contains a bunch of tracks we created during 2022 finishing our Master’s degrees that explores the beginning to the end of the relationship and the joy, pain, and anger that can come from all angles.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tunes.

We had just over two months for a university project to create an entire album from scratch. We’d developed the overarching storyline to the project and it was fleshing out the ideas from there that tied into these ideas. Our first single ‘blissful satisfaction’ was one of the songs that started this project and set the groundwork for the sound we were aiming for.

What was the recording process like?

The recording process was a lot of fun! We got into a studio with our friend Brad Weston (previously of the band TRASH) and throughout those weeks came up with as many ideas as possible that we narrowed down to the final 9. We worked primarily in Ableton to form our song ideas before going out and splitting the work between us, coming up with our own parts once the base structure was completed and fleshing out the ideas from there.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Writing under the extreme time pressure we had with no prior experience of working together was incredibly difficult but rewarding. We’ve all had such different experiences with writing and producing in the past, it was finding a way to be able to combine all our strengths into one project – but we think we did it!

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I think with any work that you release, there’s always something you’d like to change – maybe something you missed or realised after the fact. But I think as an artist you need to know when to let go of a project and consider it done.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Our debut album ‘infatuation’s a nightmare’ is out now – we’ve worked incredibly hard on it over the past year and it’s full of indie-pop bangers. Go give it a stream on your favourite listening platform! And if you’re in the Yorkshire area, catch us at shows in Huddersfield and Manchester over the next month too!


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