Lost on Campus

By paul

PAUL: Hey Rob, how are things with you right now?

ROB LYNCH (LOST ON CAMPUS): Hi Paul! Things are very good thanks, I’ve just moved to London, as I’m told that that’s where everything goes on in the music industry. (Apart from the PT headquarters ‘up North’) I’m a bit tired today as last night I did a promotions job for Smirnoff where I had to dress up in a boiler suit and goggles and dance for 4 hours on a makeshift dancefloor with 90 other people whilst getting sprayed with paint. I got paid for it though, which is good. The things rock stars have to do to pay the rent eh?

PAUL: For those who are yet to come across Lost on Campus, in one sentence can you sum up what you sound like?

ROB: Honest acoustic pop with choruses that will get stuck in your head.

PAUL: If you could recommend one song of yours for people to check out first, which would it be and why?

ROB: ‘My Friends & I’, it’s not been released yet, but is up on Myspace. It’s my most upbeat song and sums up the direction I’m heading in at the moment. That or ‘Whisky’, as that is my most personal song.

PAUL: Which bands influence you?

ROB: When you listen to my tracks you will hear that I am obviously influenced by British singer-songwriters such as Frank Turner and Get Cape. I’m influenced by a lot of bands that I don’t necessarily sound like, you’d maybe be able to notice it in little parts here and there, or in the attitude of a certain song. I love all of Andrew McMahon’s work, I’m a big fan of Elliott Smith, Sigur Ros, and Ben Gibbard (in all guises) I listen to a lot of Lydia, and I listen to a lot of pop punk; I can’t get enough of The Dangerous Summer’s album.

PAUL: Have you ever been lost on campus? If so, re-tell the story…

ROB: Strangely enough, that’s how the name came about. When I was in my first year at uni I was with a group of friends and we were trying to navigate our way to The Faversham (Leeds venue/bar) and we tried to take a shortcut through the uni grounds, and we got lost…on campus. I voiced this, and quite liked how the phrase sounded. At this point I wasn’t playing live shows and didn’t have a band, but I thought to myself if I ever did start to play or get a band together, then that would be the name I’d use. A year or so later when I did start recording my own songs, I couldn’t think of a name to put it out under (and I didn’t want to use Rob Lynch), and I remembered about the getting lost on campus incident, and hey presto.

PAUL: What inspired you to start out as a solo artist rather than as a full band?

ROB: I started playing guitar relatively late; I got my first acoustic for my 18th birthday, and didn’t take any lessons. I got one because I wanted to learn a few chords and maybe write a couple of songs, when I started out it wasn’t something I intended on “pursuing” as such, but more a hobby. At uni I had a bit of spare time to practice more and I wrote a handful of songs, but it didn’t really cross my mind to get other people involved and to make it a band. I guess because I didn’t really consider myself to be a good enough musician for other people to want to be a part of it.

A friend of mine suggested that I play a show that he offered to put on, so I agreed it could be fun. I was going to get a friend to play a bit of back up guitar for me, just so I didn’t look or/sound so ropey. It turned out that we didn’t get time to practice, so I did the show on my own, and absolutely loved doing it.

On another level, I thought that it’d be easier for me to sort out playing gigs, writing, and practicing, as a one piece, as I only had to rely on myself.
Along the line I started using a laptop with a backing track to bulk up the sound a bit live, and on some occasions I gather up some talented friends and play with a live band. But for now, I’ve resorted back to it being just me and an acoustic, as I feel that the latest songs resonate more that way.

I would like to build up a band in the near future though. So, if you live in the London area, are an amazing musician, really good looking, and want to play some songs with me, drop me a line.

PAUL: How did you hook up with LAB Records?

ROB: In September 2005, Dave Taylor (PT legend) and myself went over to spend a day at the In The City Festival in Manchester to watch Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is’ first UK shows. When we turned up at the venue there was only a queue of 2 people. So we went and got in line with them and made some small talk. These chaps turned out to be Nathen and Mark (later to be co-founders LAB). We ended up spending the whole evening hanging out, supping a few beers and discussing what bands we were currently digging.

Before LAB Records came about, LAB Promotions existed. Mark and co used to put on monthly nights in Blackpool where they would ask up and coming bands from around the UK to come and play. Mark sent me an email out of the blue one day asking if I’d like to come and play one night (as he’d remembered that I’d told him about me playing music when we first met). I said I’d be delighted to, and I played on the same bill as Out Of Sight and Kill The Arcade. I was really impressed with the way that they’d promoted the show and how they’d looked after the bands. So, a few months later, when Mark and Nathen told me of their plans to start a label, and asked me if I’d be up for releasing my first proper EP with them, I had no hesitations about getting on board. Both parties learnt a lot from that release, and I’m really grateful that they took a chance on me.

I am really proud of what those guys have achieved, and they’ve got some really cool stuff in the pipe line.

PAUL: Do you feel the internet has made it easier for bands to be heard, therefore reducing any kind of quality threshold? I’m a believer there are too many bands and to many labels, thereby diluting the ‘scene’. Do you agree?

ROB: Oh, it’s definitely made it easier for bands to be heard. Without it, then a lot less people
would have heard my music.

It is so easy for bands to set up a Myspace profile and get a few pretty pictures and some rough recordings and make it look like a big deal. People have seen what other bands have achieved through doing this, and so there are a lot of identikit outfits trying to replicate that success. So, yeah, there is a lot of rubbish diluting the scene.

However, it makes me more excited when I do stumble across a band online that I really like.
Maybe there were just as many bands around before the days of the internet, but there was no easy platform for them to display their work, so we just didn’t know about them.

There are also loads of labels, labels without any bands, labels asking bands to submit songs to be considered for release. I don’t understand this. Releasing physical music isn’t going to make you any money, you are most likely going to lose it, so if you’re going to put this money in, then release something that you truly love and believe in. Don’t just start a label for the sake of having a label. Maybe it’s the cool thing to do, much like the plethora of awful clothing labels. But as with bands; you cherish the labels that are releasing special things.

PAUL: What do you think of the pay-what-you-want model and sites like bandcamp? Do you think it’s a good way to gain exposure, or another way in which the artist doesn’t gain the financial benefit of their hard work? Do you think music, as a commodity, now holds less value than a t-shirt or other piece of merch?

ROB: I think things like bandcamp are a good idea, I’ve been toying with the idea of using something like that or similar recently, but I’m not sure in what capacity. It’s great for exposure, as people who might not normally buy your music might take a chance on downloading it for free. If they like it, then brilliant! I’d like to think then, that they might come out to watch you live and buy a t-shirt etc.

I personally like having physical copies of my music to sell, as I’m in the old school camp of enjoying looking at the artwork and reading through the lyrics. I feel it has more worth; I treasure something that I can hold in my hands more than I do a file on my computer. Even if you don’t release your music for free, if people want it, then all they have to do is type it into google and it’s easy enough to find. I like having a nice option if people do feel like they want to give me some money for it.

I like the business model that a lot of bands use already where you can download the album (or part of the album) for free, and then you can buy the physical album for x amount, and then an album and a t-shirt (that you can only get when bought with the album) for y amount, and then an album, t-shirt and a candlelit dinner with the artist for z amount. Because then it’s giving the fan the option of what they want to invest in, rather than only being able to buy the CD by itself, or illegally downloading it. It’s giving people something they actually want to buy. I think it’s easier for you to give these options when you’re a more established artist though, as there is more demand for it. In answer to your question, it does seem as though the extras that you get along with the music are what people are paying for, and therefore do hold more monetary value than the music itself.

PAUL: What do you have planned for the rest of 2010?

ROB: I’m working on booking a few tours for the summer and beyond at the moment and I’m going to be playing a lot around the London area and the South Coast, as there are going to be places that are a lot more accessible for me to play now. I’m going to be pushing the new EP for the next few months.
I’m also going to finish writing my first album and get it recorded, and in between now and then, I plan on releasing a series of splits with some of my good friends bands, where we’ll do a new song each and a cover of one of each others songs. I’m quite excited about how that will turn out.

PAUL: Fearless Records are about to release ‘Punk Goes Classic Rock’ – if you covered a classic rock song, which would you choose and why?

ROB: Ha! I’d go for Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue. Ultimate party tune and I have a lot of good memories connected to it!

PAUL: Where do you hope to be in a) a year’s time, b) three year’s time and c) five year’s time?

ROB: In a year’s time I hope that the album will have been released, fingers crossed to a good reception! I hope to still have the same drive and excitement for what I’m doing as I do now. I also hope I I’ll still be able to pay the rent.

In 3 years, I hope to still be touring and have a few more releases under my belt and I’d like have played some shows around the world, specifically the States!

In 5 years I hope to still be alive.

PAUL: If you have any final messages for PT readers please leave them here:

ROB: Thank you if you’ve read this far. If you haven’t listened to my music, go and check it out at www.myspace.com/lostoncampus. If you like it, you can purchase my new EP, “In Pursuit Of Courage & Heart” from hmv.com, play.com, the LAB online store, and ITunes. If there is a link where Paul gets money towards the site, then use that!

Thank you to Paul and co for the support and to those of you who’ve ever come and watched me play live or bought a CD or t-shirt, etc!
Finally, some of you say some really silly things on the forums!

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]