The Lost Levels release their second single Training
By Jacqui Burgoyne
The Lost Levels recorded their single Training for BBC Norfolk Introducing
Norwich band The Lost Levels released their second single on the Something in Construction label in February 2010 after a break from performing.
The song, called Training, was inspired by a visit to court by Chris Cooper, the band's keyboard player and singer.
They group received national airplay when BBC Radio One's Huw Stephens made Training his 'tip of the week'.
The lyrics reflect his view of the bureaucracy inherent in 'the system' after he queried a driving fine.
"The system is too intricate. Things are a lot more complicated than they need to be," said Chris.
"The chorus is about being paranoid and trying to escape," he added.
Training is The Lost Levels' second single following on from The Early Sheets.
After a period away from performing due to recruiting fifth band-member Ed Raison, gigs in December 2009 and February 2010, along with their new single, have seen a new burst of energy from the quintet.
Singer and keyboardist Chris Cooper explains how they came up with the Training.
"When we come up with the ideas it's always the music first and then we try to work out what it means to us," said Chris.
The music is the first part of writing a new song for The Lost Levels
"You try to decipher what the feeling means, a story or subject.
"Training was a little hook I played. The lyrics came a lot later."
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places and even a negative experience can yield results.
"The first verse came when I was at a bank and the second when I was [querying a driving fine] in court," said Chris.
"I waited for hours then came in and said 'I hadn't known anything about it,' and they said, 'Ok, you don't have to pay anything'."
The amount of time he feels he wasted during the experience gave Chris the words to put with the feeling of the music.
"All these tired lawyers in grey, three people to clear me, the cost of that."
However, the method of writing the music before the lyrics can cause problems.
"We're never going to be able to write words like Bob Dylan. When Bob Dylan writes he's less set in stone," said Chris.
"Our melodies are quite uniform and it limits you. We just have to accept that the music comes first and hope that the lyrics come good.
The band have been recording at Leeders Farm studios
"The Early Sheets lyrics we wrote in about five minutes, silly is easy. Whereas songs you want to write about someone who's hurt you, you want to avoid cliches."
With new music constantly coming out, cliches are a sprawling menace, but Iain Lowery (vocals and guitar) is not too worried.
"Meanings change. You can do the same thing but it'll mean something different," he said.
"Maturity is coming to terms with the fact that there are no new chord sequences and there are no new notes. You've got 12 notes," said Chris.
"And rhythms... there are options but not endless. You have to accept it might sound like something that's come before. It's inevitable," he added.
The band has written a lot of new material, some of which was played at their Norwich Arts Centre gig in December 2009.
Fans hope that with this recent reawakening, these tracks will be honed to The Lost Levels' customary degree of perfection and then released.
The band's original plan to record a lot of material but in a raw format was revised when their bassist Owen Morgan got a job at Leeders Farm recording studio in Wymondham.
The opportunity to use the equipment for free meant that The Lost Levels had the chance to hone their tunes.
"If you've got no options you glorify that, work with what you have. You might as well have them [the recordings] rough," said Chris.
"Because Leeders Farm came up a as an option we could record drums and guitar very well. We recorded the core of the single there but the vocals and overdubs were done at my house.
"We might re-record it. If we stick it on an album we probably will. It's a single to get the ball rolling."
The Lost Levels play at The Waterfront in Norwich on Thursday, 18 February 2010.
Listen again to BBC Norfolk Introducing on the BBC iPlayer.