Locals: Q&A with L.A.B

Thursday 06 February 2020

Since 2016, local lads L.A.B have made waves in the Aotearoa music scene. They’ve played some of the country’s biggest festivals, launched a mammoth three albums in three years, and won the hearts of the ever-critical Kiwi public. It’s a testament to their hard work and dedication – which lead singer and guitarist Joel Shadbolt lives and breathes, recently playing a gig just 24 hours after a serious motorbike crash. We caught a few moments with the main man. 

Your new album ‘L.A.B III’ was unleashed in December, how does it feel to have it out there?

It’s awesome. We had this goal of three albums in three years, and we’ve done it. The third one has really taken off – people are loving it. 

Was there a particular direction you wanted to take the album in?

We wanted to go back to recording more as a band; a different style or technique. With the first two albums, we found things that worked and some that didn’t and learnt from that. One thing we really focussed on was recording organically and raw, capturing that kind of energy. 

What was the timing of recording the album?

We do about eight to 10 weeks to get to the finished product and do that across six or seven months. We’ll do a week at a time and all travel down to Wellington as a band and pretty much live in studio for a week – live there, cook there, kind of marae styles – which is cool.

You've all been working so hard – as you say three albums in three years – how do you keep your drive?

We always had something to look forward to by having that goal. We wrote on the back of a pizza box back in 2016 that we wanted to do three albums in three years and I think having that out in the world makes you work and achieve those goals when you have said them out loud.

Summer is always a busy time for gigs … do you have a favourite place you like playing? 

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I will say I like playing the smaller spots that aren’t saturated with live music. There is a different energy about that audience compared to somewhere like Auckland where everyone sees shows all the time, you become just another gig.

What does 2020 hold for L.A.B? 

We’re gonna hit the studio again. We won’t put pressure on ourselves, but maybe do an EP or album by end of the year. The focus is write and record more material. We are also heading to Australia, and there’s some winter touring in the pipeline – lots of good stuff!

So when you're on the road, what do you miss most about home?

Probably my own bed!