Another Lost Year
The rock music band Another Lost Year out of Charlotte, NC may not be a household name for everyone who follows the genre of rock, but they have no shortage of devoted fans who know exactly who they are. Their fan base extends all across the country but like a lot of other rock musicians, the Midwest is particularly welcoming to their music. While the band’s last performance in Madison, WI was at the Taste of Madison on the WJJO Stave in 2013, they have covered multiple venues in other areas of Wisconsin as well as Iowa and Illinois. I had an opportunity to meet with the lead singer Clinton Cunanan before their performance at the Apollo Theater in Belvedere, IL last month. Other members of the band include Adam Hall (bass/vocals) , Jorge Sotomarino (guitar, vocals), and Nathan Walker (drums, vocals). Following is some insight Clinton shared with me about the band.
MI: How long have you been together as a band?
CC: April 2016 it will be five years.
MI: How many CD’s have you released?
CC: We’ve released two EP’s and one full length CD titled “Better Days.” The second half of our last CD comes out any day now and our fourth record comes out the first of the year. Our last EP was called The Revolution Part I, the second half of it Part II will be coming out soon.
MI: I know you’ve had one band member change. Have there been other changes since the inception of the group?
CC: We’ve had a few changes. Our original bass player passed away earlier this year. Ryan was our original drummer and he is actually the business manager back home for the construction company that we own. Ryan stepped down because he couldn’t tour as much as we could. David left for personal issues. Our touring schedule is way more hectic than 90% of the bands out there. All the time we took off this year we still did over 160 dates. We recorded two records while we had that time off. When we took our time off we were never in North Carolina, where we’re from, we were in Orlando, New Orleans.
MI: How many total tracks will be on the next full CD?
CC: I don’t know, we have twenty-five songs recorded right now. The thing about recording is you have to be in it for the business. At some point you have to think about the cost benefit. Each song costs X amount of dollars, you put so many songs on a record, you have to recoup that money. You have to pay to press a record, you have to figure out what it costs to recoup . About the time you get twelve songs into a record you have to think about is this the best way to go. I’m the same way when I listen to a record, I can only listen to so many songs by the same band, no matter how much I like them.
MI: Your new single “Wolves” is already making a big splash. Were you surprised by that?
CC: Honestly, “Wolves” is like the ninth or tenth song that we recorded. The reason we released “Wolves” is because it’s the one that was finished. I know we’ve been talking about this record for a long time. I know a lot of people are like “Bullshit, yeah, you’re just saying you’re doing a record.” So we just put it out to see what would happen. It took off on radio. It’s exciting because it’s the first record I’ve taken to radio fully on my own. I’m learning a lot.
MI: You’ve played for a lot of venues and you’ve opened for a lot of pretty big name bands like Otherwise and Pop Evil. I know who you are and I think you’re really good. I talk to other people and they’re like “Who is that?” Is it just because you haven’t had the radio exposure?
CC: It’s all about perception. When we go on the road a lot of people know us. We have our fans. Some people say “I’ve never heard you on the radio, I don’t know you.” Touring bands will be seen in the Midwest. A lot of people won’t go out and try to find music on their own, it’s too much work to go to YouTube . Honestly with Spotify and Apple Radio, iTunes, I didn’t realize the impact it has on music. I don’t go out and buy the physical CD because the need for a physical CD isn’t there so much. Radio is an interesting thing, it’s a very free service for the consumer.
MI: I feel like I would miss a lot of music if I didn’t listen to the radio.
CC: I’m just as guilty of that. In Charlotte, N.C. we have an alternative rock station. I thought an alternative rock band was Bush, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Fuel, Adelita’s Way would be an alternative rock band to me. I wouldn’t consider those active rock bands. Once I got into it I understand. It’s all about checking a box and which radio station you are going to get played on. Nobody talks about it but it’s a big check this box “Rock”, check this box “Pop”, you have to know this radio guy, how you are going to help promote the single to the radio station. We do a lot of give aways like concert tickets, not necessarily to our concert but a very hot concert. We’ve given away guitars, iPods, we give away a lot of stuff just to keep things alive. This time around when it comes to radio I’m doing it a little differently. I think a lot of it is what people hear on the radio. It’s the same seventeen, eighteen songs throughout the day.
MI: So when you record you don’t go into hiatus and stop touring like a lot of other bands do?
CC: We figure out where we’re going to be and we record like crazy going into it. The last eighteen songs we’ve recorded I was writing and recording 2 songs a day. I write all of the lyrics and about 80% of the music. Jorge has helped a lot. He adds a lot of flavor.
MI: How did you meet Jorge by the way?
CC: Jorge (George among other things) was in another band. He said “I want to go with you guys, I like the way you operate.” He said he believed in us and what we were doing. He sold merch for us for two months. He quit his band to sell merch for us, and then the opportunity came up for him to play.
MI: What goals have you set for yourself?
CC: To play the Today show, every late night talk show. So if you don’t know who we are, this is who we are. I love active rock, but with the songs we wrote for this new record we would be doing ourselves an injustice if we only serviced active rock. I’m not out to write the heaviest song. We can do a lot of different things. If you want to hear us as a heavy band, you can hear us as a heavy band. If you want to hear great stories and lyrics, you’re going to hear great stories and lyrics. It’s whatever you want to hear. I like the idea that nobody ever knows what they are getting from us.
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