When The Loft Club went to work at Middle Farm Studios in South Devon, England, singer-guitarist Daniel Schamroth expected his band to leave with four or five recorded songs.
Schamroth’s prediction fell way short of the results. Over the span of two weekends at Middle Farm, the group, based in nearby Exeter, ended up recording a full album, the melodic and harmony-rich Dreaming the Impossible. The 12-track effort, highlighted by “Heard Her Say” (a power-pop gem) and “Flicker” (featuring Lisa Loeb), will be released Aug. 7 via Lightyear Entertainment.
“That’s mainly down to the band being so tight and having an instant [rapport] with James Bragg,” Schamroth says about the level of productivity. “He’s a really top producer who can identify where you’re trying to get to with the sound very quickly. It was a pleasure to record the album with him.”
Schamroth, who describes his band’s debut album as one “for the purists” and “made for headphones,” recently checked in to discuss some important music-related firsts in his life.
First concert attended:
Daniel Schamroth: “The first show I ever attended was a Proclaimers gig with my mum in Exeter at a place called The Lemon Grove. I must have been 11 or 12. It’s a student venue and was absolutely packed. All I can remember is that one of the band members broke a guitar string mid-song, and for some reason, I spat my chewing gum into the singers’ water onstage! I don’t know why — disgraceful behavior!”
First song or album that made him want to become a musician:
Schamroth: “Watching an old Beatles black-and-white documentary in my early teens and hearing ‘She Loves You’ for the first time — just the energy of the live performance and the power of the song over the crowd. It really woke me up to the idea of music being this magical thing I connected with. Also the first time I saw Oasis on Top of the Pops singing ‘Roll With It.’ I was 14, sat with the whole family around the telly, as we did back then. That was definitely a lightbulb moment for me in terms of feeling connected to a song so instantly and fully — like something is taking you over, almost.”
First impressions of his Loft Club bandmates:
Schamroth: “Jamie [Whyte] was the first member to join. I was doing a little solo acoustic gig in a local pub, and he approached me after the show and asked if I needed some bass lines added to the songs. We just hit it off immediately, as friends as well as musically. He’s the best accompanying musician I’ve ever come across. He can play any instrument he picks up; he just finds exactly what the song needs and adds it effortlessly — truly gifted.
“Kieran [Chalmers] and I played together in a Beatles band for a couple years, and so it just happened naturally that he joined the group [as the drummer]. He always plays for the song, doesn’t overplay. Steady as a rock! He plays guitar, too, and has great ‘feel.’ The way him and Jamie lock in together is the backbone of the whole sound of the band.
“Sam [Piper] joined the group last year, just in time for the album recording and the Noel Gallagher support show [on June 30, 2019, at Exeter’s Powderham Castle]. We’ve all been mates with Sam for years, as he played in bands that we did shows with, so it all felt very natural with him coming into the fold. He’s an incredible guitarist; his lead parts always complement the song and give it another dimension. Like his lead part on ‘True Love,’ which takes the song into a totally different place. His parts are effortless and instantly catchy. He was the missing piece of the puzzle.
“Josie [Stoneman] is the youngest and newest member of the band. It’s still early days for her, but I could tell pretty instantly that she would be a good fit [on backing vocals] for the band. She’s got a great energy about her, and she picks up parts so quickly it’s insane. She’s a natural musician and plays guitar and keys as well as having a great voice.”
First Loft Club show:
Schamroth: “It’s hard to pinpoint the first show, to be honest, as myself and Jamie played a few shows as a kind of duo before the whole band fully formed. I think our first proper show was at The Bikeshed Theatre in Exeter, circa 2016. I think there was a guy reading the paper sitting at a table totally ignoring us — a far cry from supporting Noel Gallagher in front of 15,000 people!”
First words that come to mind when asked to describe Exeter:
Schamroth: “Exeter is a lovely little city in Devon. It’s safe and a good place to grow up, for sure. It’s not as cosmopolitan as some of the bigger cities in the U.K., but it’s where I was born and it will always be home. It’s where the band first played and got together.”
The backstory on the writing and recording of the first song on the album, “Dreaming the Impossible”:
Schamroth: “This is a funny one, as we didn’t actually intend to even record this song for the album — it was more of an afterthought. I had the song up my sleeve, and we had jammed the song as a band a few times, but it was never really part of the live set. But it came together so well in the studio that we all kind of looked at each other after listening back and thought, ‘Yeah, this is going to be one of the big tunes on the album.’ Then we ended up making it the title track — funny how these things happen.”
First song recorded for the band’s debut:
Schamroth: “I think ‘Heard Her Say’ was the first track we laid down. It’s a bit hazy, to be honest — we just rifled through the songs very quickly, not many takes, everything was very instantaneous. I think sometimes that’s the best way, as you’re not overthinking things. It just has that natural vibe to it, which I hope comes across on the album.”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Photo by Alice Deuchar