La Dispute’s classic album ‘Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair’ will celebrate its ten year anniversary in November.
It was their debut, and one that firmly established them as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
Now, ten years later, their fourth studio album ‘Panorama’ is due to be released this Friday 22nd March.
In celebration, we asked the band to pen a reflective letter to the album…
“Dear ‘Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River…’
I’ve been looking for hobbies lately, which feels silly to write. Two years and change spent working on a new record and now, finish line in sight, I keep looking past it.
And it makes me feel old, though I know I’m not. The phrase itself—“looking for hobbies,” like I’m newly retired—but also the act, and also the need for the act. In years past, between records or between tours, it felt fine to just sort of coast. I had no overhead—no mortgage, no family, no car—and so I never thought twice (maybe twice, never three times) about enjoying my time in the interim without worry or guilt. I never went to school, never learned to paint. I went to bars, mostly. Went to shows. Hung out with friends and worked part time. Waited. The only thing that mattered was a next album, a next tour, so I felt no rush to figure out the between time beyond that. But here I am now, months and months away from that down time still, already trying to prepare to use it. Looking for hobbies.
This past year, for my 31st birthday—after a conversation like this one—a friend of mine gave me an old 35mm camera (all these numbers in the thirties) and I’ve been tinkering with it for past couple days, just for fun. Reading tips online, mostly. Watching tutorials. Trying to learn how to use it properly before I actually try use it because—if I’m to be totally honest with you—I’m afraid that if I’m not absolutely prepared in every way to do so when the time comes to press the button to trigger the shutter to let in the light then all the film will turn out like garbage, and I won’t want to try again. I’ll get spooked and won’t return. Throw the photos in a drawer or in the trash. So I haven’t taken any pictures yet.
But I didn’t always have that fear, or any fear, when I was younger. When we first started to make music, there was no concern for anything beyond the immediate moment of capture. Just a passion for it. Just a fire. And when we felt that heat there wasn’t a thing to do but trust and feed it. Not for one second did we think that, ten years down the line, we’d still be at it, so we never thought about the “darling”-drinking-games or processed guitar tones or the gang vocals or the digitized drum sounds we’d never, ever do again, or (maybe especially) how the life-and-death feelings that inspired the themes and stories would turn out to be, not that far removed from taking the snapshot, nothing even close to life-and-death. But I don’t regret it. At least not anymore.
Because without it, nothing that came after would have. Without you, I wouldn’t be here to even wonder about the process. Without remembering what it felt like to be that fearless all those years ago, I don’t know that I’d have been able to finish my part on the new one we just finished. Without fear for the future or worry for the response, the possibilities are honest and boundless. So why haven’t I taken any pictures yet?
La Dispute‘s new album, ‘Panorama’ is out this Friday on Epitaph.