Analogue Music | The Lighthouse & The Whaler

The Lighthouse & The Whaler

By Matt Conner

No one is enjoying the global pandemic, but there are ways to make the most of it.

The members of The Lighthouse and the Whaler have taken advantage of the downtime thrust upon us all by controlling what they can, utilizing the solitude and stillness for a chance to create anything to which they set their minds.

What's interesting about the songs, film scores, side projects and remixes that have occupied Michael LoPresti, Mark Porostosky, and Ryan Walker is that this creative surge aren't products of an opportunistic band. Instead, they're an extension of an already prolific period of writing that has turned into a new EP, Brothers, and a forthcoming studio album. It's clear the energy is flowing in the right direction these days for the impressive pop-rock trio.

We recently sat down with Michael and Mark to tell us more about the year they're having and their many plans ahead.

Analogue: How have you creatively adjusted to this pandemic?

Michael LoPresti: We wrote a record and recorded it last summer, which was fortuitous because we weren't pressed for having content. We already had things done and recorded prior to this, so it gave us the freedom to jump into the other aspects of songwriting that we wanted to do. In fact, we already have a bunch of new ideas and things that have taken shape. [Laughs]

I guess it's not advantageous, but at the same time, it's given us an excuse to really settle into the songwriting mode.

"This is the first album that I love almost everything about it." -Michael LoPresti

Analogue: What are those other aspects of songwriting? Does that mean other projects? Placements in film? Or more songs for the band?

Michael: For me, I've been working on doing some film scoring things just for fun on the side to get some experience doing it. Some side projects. I'm doing some songwriting for some film and TV working toward those goals. I know Mark also has a project, but I'll let him tell you about that.

Mark Porostosky: Yeah, I have a project called Poro that I've kind of turned into a remix artist project, so I've been working on different remixes.

Analogue: Given your experience, what has the chemistry been like for you guys as you've been recording lately? Can you tell a difference?

Michael: I think so. This is our fourth full length record that we've recorded and I definitely think that we've gotten to know each other so well over all this time as a band that it's really easy in the studio. Everyone knows what they are doing. Everyone knows when to give someone space or when to press an issue. Even when we have disagreements and we have to work through those, it just feels a lot more natural to do that. I might be speaking for myself, but this process was super-easy and I think it translates into the songs.

Mark: Definitely in either regard, I can tell a difference in our working relationships. It's improved our understanding of each other's roles and how we're going to add to the songs. We've also gotten better at recording in our homes. On the record we've yet to release, there's a lot of stuff from our home studios in those songs. We did record in a very nice studio, but there are guitar tracks and most of the synth stuff is all from home studios. All the strings and horns were recorded at home.

Ryan Walker: Going into this recording process, it felt like the easiest because we spent so much time demoing ahead of time. It felt like the most like a day job when we went to record. We'd record during the day and then go back to the apartment to hang out. It felt like a very balanced time. It wasn't overwhelming. It was a perfect few weeks to get our album done, which I thought was really cool.

Analogue: You guys are releasing a new EP soon and then a full-length coming soon as well?

Michael: Yeah.

Analogue: That seems like a pretty prolific season of writing. Is that true?

Mark: It's funny because I was just talking to someone about this. We started some songs for the new album and the EP back in 2017 and they evolved over two or three years to where they are now, basically. It's been a long process, but we also have a lot of songs, too.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Lighthouse and the Whaler

Michael: It really was a prolific period, so much so that we almost have another album's worth of material... it's not finished yet, but it's in demo form ready to be worked on by all three of us collectively. It's ready for a studio scenario. We just had so much. In order to get this record, we had to make some pretty difficult choices about songs that were in the demo phase that we had to just stop working on. We could have gone on and on with the songs, but we needed to make a decision on what we wanted this album to sound like and which songs were coming together with the most veracity. So yeah there's a whole other album sitting there that we have to work through.

Analogue: Why was it more prolific than other seasons?

Michael: Mark and I have home studios that are pretty great right now. The demoing process is much easier. I also think the comfort level we have with each other is super high now, so that allows us to get things done faster. Also, Ryan has a decent space to record his bass parts and everything, too. We can collaborate so easily, and the ease of that between the three of us has become so much deeper. It makes it so much easier to create and then take it and run with it.

Analogue: You've been at this for a while. What are the aims for these recordings and how does that compare to when you were first starting out?

Michael: This recording is a special recording. When we first started out, we had much less of an idea of what we were really doing. I think we were trying to make good songs or songs that we thought were cool. Now we have such a deeper understanding of the way the industry works nad of songwriting itself. It just felt like this album hit all the notes that we wanted it to. This is the first album that I love almost everything about it. On a lot of other albums, I'd love some stuff, but there some things I didn't care much for. I'm not sure why, but on this one, I love almost everything that we did.

Mark: I have to agree. We listen to our songs more than most people ever will. We listen to them 60 times or more in little sessions you're working on, but listening back, I don't feel tired of it. I feel that's a strong sense of maturity in our songwriting. I think we're all excited to see what people think of it.

Michael: I also think we got more comfortable in the studio as well. We've been in some great studios in our time as a band, but for time first time walking into this studio in L.A., I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I mean, we leaned on our producer and all the engineers, but we had a lot more of our own personal knowledge that we'd gained over all these years. That's another big thing for me is that we had a better grasp on how we wanted things to sound.

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