A quick chat with Ritchie Young, frontman for Portland based band, Loch Lomond.
There are six members in the band. How did you all come together and start playing music?
I started Loch Lomond as a solo project and have had 36 different players in the band with me over the years. It's always rotating. Jason Leonard and Jade Brings Plenty have been with me for many years now, and have been an integral part of the process.
Your guys’ sound is much different than what you hear on the radio today. What is one thing that inspires you to write your music?
Thanks, that means a lot to us! Well, I really truly do not listen to music at all when writing. Sometimes I write for months and months. I believe I did not listen to music for 6 month while writing Little Me Will Start A Storm. Listening to anything while I am writing will make me second guess what I am doing. I do not get along very well with that voice in my head that says "this song sounds like [fill in the blank]". Because of this musical isolation I can approach each song with a pure and confident attitude. I can take a two chord song and make something out of it without telling myself that such things are not done.
You have toured with The Decemberists. How was it opening for a band that has made such an impact in today’s folk music and did you receive any great advice from them?
They are all wonderful people. We have received much advice from them over the years as our older brother type figures, but I believe the most important thing I learned from them was from their actions not words. The lesson learned is be humble, work hard. They have no time for pointless childish arrogance. They are just good people.
If there were one dream that you could have come true, what would it be?
I want to play in Moscow! Wouldn't that be a fucking trip?
Since the release of your new record, have you guys already started writing new music for the next one?
Yes, I am actually going in to start tracking with Chris Funk (from The Decemberists). I'm really excited about the new songs!
The release of your album, “Little Me Will Start a Storm” has received so many great reviews. What are a few of the things that you are most proud of from that album?
I am very proud of the record. I love the artwork that Jason Leonard did, he took 5 slide projectors and projected the slides on the wall of his art studio. Cutting the slides to create a dream like landscape that matches the music perfectly. No photoshop, and all in camera effects. The record was recorded in a similar way. All was recorded to tape with little effects, no auto tune and mostly room reverbs.
Who are some of the artists in the business that you all currently look up to?
I have a lot of respect for our friend Mike Coykendall from M Ward; he is an amazing guy and a great musician. I've also been fascinated by the career of Bon Iver; just an amazing ascent. There are local bands that are doing great things that I truly adore: Typhoon, Ages and Ages and Brothers Young.
If there was one thing you could change about the music business what would it be and why?
These days it seems like record labels aren't interested in investing in an artist's career, which is why it's been so great to work with the incredibly supportive Tender Loving Empire. This ADD culture that has replace the shitty old dinosaur is just trading one crutch for another. All in all it is a slightly better model, at least average people that write great fucking music have a slight chance now.
You own a music venue in Portland, where you are all living. What was your inspiration in starting that up?
The Woods is in a old funeral home in the antique district of Portland. It was built in 1929 and was a functioning funeral home until three years ago. When we came into the place it was a shell of what we have made it. We worked really hard 16 hours a day to make it not feel like a greyhound station for dead people. We hire other musicians, writers and artists. They can tour, take hiatus' from work to focus in on their art. Just wanted to create a place that people feel free to work hard at what they do without the stress of worrying about how they are going to pay rent when they return.
Are there any other business ventures you would love to explore someday?
Oh God, my hands are so full now I can't even imagine what that would be. Maybe the ivory trade.
Since forming, what has been your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?
I believe my greatest struggle has been how to package my music. We are not a pop dance band so that tag is out the window. I do not have a beard nor do I write love songs so the folk genre never fit. So many people that I respect in the music industry have told me they love the music and we are their favorite band but they don't know where to put it. It was only within the last year I figured out where how remedy this. Playing in front of people, traveling and new adventure, let someone else package you, tag you and then ignore it.