Loon Lake – Is It Goodbye Forever?

Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung

With 6 years of rocking the Australian music scene from head to toe under their belt, the Loon Lake guys are packing up to pursue their own ventures. In a Facebook statement posted on their band page, frontman Sam Nolan wrote:

Loon Lake isn’t breaking up, we are just winding up. We are all still best mates and that won’t change. Our reasons are simply that we feel like we may have run our course, we probably won’t ever be much more than we are and with everyone doing different things, living different places, it’s pretty hard to keep it going.
— Sam Nolan

Before they depart the music scene as a group, the Melbourne indie rockers are gifting fans with a national tour and sneaky album download, because why the hell not? “We’ve been recording songs because we wanted to keep recording for us and now we’ve got a bank of songs which are cohesive, they’re much rawer than our second album Goamer. We haven’t got a title yet but it’s going to be a free download or pay as you want type thing for fans who buy tickets. We’re really happy it’s the last thing we’re putting out because we’re proud of it,” said guitarist Simon Nolan, We caught up with Simon over an interstate phone call where he took us on a trip down memory lane and reminisced on the group’s favourite spots, memorable moments, and defining songs.

For an announcement fit to end an era, the band wanted to make sure their farewell post sounded personal. “Sam sort of wrote it and then sent it to us, we tried to make sure it came across from all of the band and added a few little things…we didn’t anticipate that we would end up doing all the things we did or travel the places we have. We definitely did not think that, we actually didn’t have any expectations of what we were going to achieve. It was honestly just about getting together to play some songs.”

Going back to where it all began, Simon recalled the band had spent a year or so jamming and mucking around with some tunes before uploading some demos online. “Well the three of us are brothers, so Sam, Nick and I used to play footy in Tarrawingee and often when they had function nights we played together. We always wanted to get a band together but there was such an age difference between us. We’d all travelled and lived overseas at different times so when we all came back to Melbourne we thought well, we’ll get a band going…we were writing these songs pretty quickly and when we wrote a couple and put them online a few blogs started picking them up, and then triple J picked it up.” You can almost hear the astonishment in his voice as he says “they were just demos, we recorded six songs in a day in this tiny little studio and they were never intended to be anything else.”

Speaking about the band’s learning experiences over the years, it always comes back to how the crowd responded. “For us personally when you’re playing, whether it’s 2,000 people or 20 people, you know it doesn’t matter what it is, when there’s heaps of people singing your song back at you it’s pretty rewarding and gratifying to think someone else knows your songs and cares about them. That’s probably the best thing, seeing your friends and fans in the crowd happy and dancing to your music…you get a lot of enjoyment and you give a lot back.”

One thing that I’ve come to recognise over the years is a band’s signature song. It’s the song that’s sung out at every show, the song that reminds its members where it all started and for Loon Lake, that song is Into the Office. “That song is pretty much what Loon Lake is about, you know? That raw, garage sound with a pop element to it. It’s definitely the one that kick started us, it’s the one that people liked the most when we first put some songs out. It gets put in every set because we like it, there’s no other song that has been in every set.” It’s clear that Loon Lake have their roots as firmly placed in the home turf where they started, with Into the Office being one of the six tracks recorded as a demo for the band’s 2011 debut EP Not Just Friends.

Despite speculation, there is no love lost between the band, with Loon Lake deciding it was just time for some closure rather than drift into a sea of oblivion only for people to wonder years later, ‘oh, what happened to them?’ “We’re not going to be the biggest band in the world and make livings off it so we thought okay, there has to be a time, we need to make the call and set a day. We’re all getting older and it’s just getting harder and harder.” Speaking to Nolan about what he’s going to miss most about the band, he took time to reminisce. “Playing in the band together is very fun, especially touring…you have great times with your mates but seeing fans singing your songs, you don’t get that anywhere else. I don’t think any of us will stop making music but whether it gets heard is another thing.”

So where to after this for Loon Lake?

I have a heap of songs that I’d like to record that are nothing like Loon Lake would be and I know Sam will probably do the same. Nick is really into producing, he loves the hip hop and producing side of things so he might do that but I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. There will be more songs I’m sure but I don’t want to start another band.
— Simon Nolan

Loon Lake commence their Final Wave tour on the 9th of October and with Jack Rabbit Slim’s (Perth) being their first stop, I thought I’d ask who was the band’s favourite local WA act. “Tired Lion are cool, yeah I love them. I guess it’s the rawness and honesty to it all.”

Get your tickets for the Final Wave tour here.