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September 16th will mark the release of The Lost Cavalry’s debut album, Three Cheers For The Undertaker, on Folkroom Records. Praised for their swirling melodies and spirited storytelling, The Lost Cavalry have expertly created a mix of delicate alt-folk and rip-roaring crescendos, showcasing a growing musical maturity. The London six-piece was formed in 2009 by Mark West, formerly the guitarist for indie favourites Fanfarlo, and we caught up with Mark to chat about the debut, dream duets and the London Astoria. 

the lost cavalry

Firstly, tell us about Three Cheers For The Undertaker.

Mark: It’s our debut album and we’ve certainly taken our time producing it… it’s been around 3 years in the making. We’re glad we took our time though as we’re really pleased with how it has turned out. Each of the tracks tells a different story, from childhood memories to frozen radio stations and from deserts and ruins to buried elephants. We recorded the songs in sets of three or four over the last years at Soup Studios in London and then added the bells and whistles (sometimes literally!) at my home studio, where I also mixed the tracks. We got some friends in to play on some of the tracks too – including Jules from the amazing Keston Cobblers’ Club who sings with me on a few of the songs. It has been an absolute labour of love, making this album, and it’s slightly scary to finally let it go and release it into the world – we hope people like it!

Describe your music in one sentence.

Mark: Indie folk with rocky bits, stories and plenty of bells and whistles!

Who are your musical influences?

Mark: I think everyone in the band has quite different influences, which is something what I think makes our music interesting. Nick and I have a bit of love for Dirty Three and Low and that sneaks in a bit, and there’s definitely a Beruit and Fanfarlo influence. For me at the moment, The National, Nick Cave and Sigur Ros are the biggest influences.

What do you think is the best album ever written?

Mark: That’s a really tough one… it would have to be something less recent, as it’s hard to know what newer music will stand the test of time. I do love Pet Sounds… I’m a 90’s man though, so might have to go for The Bends, possibly partially for sentimental reasons.

What’s been your best gig so far? 

Mark: We played the main stage at LeeFest this summer – we’ve played before but this was our first time on a festival main stage, and it was as good as we’d hoped it would be – amazing audience, sunshine and lots of stage space to run around in! We brought in a few friends to play brass and other instruments too, the biggest Cavalry line-up so far – 8 of us. It was the biggest buzz I’ve ever had, singing out to a sunny field of happy festival-goers…

If you could duet with anyone, who would it be? 

Mark: If it could be anyone at all, it’d be Bjork – though I’d be well out of my depth! I’ve been a fan of hers since I heard her singing on the 808 State single Ooops. I think I’d love even more to work on producing a track with her though – I’d love to see how her mind works and be swept up in that whirlwind!

What TV show would you like to hear your music featured on?

Mark: We’ve just heard that they’re going to be using our song Telescope as the new music for the Countdown clock, we’re all very excited about that. Rachel’s going to do a rap on our next album too.

Where in the world do you most want to perform?

Mark: I’d love to go back to Sweden, it’s a beautiful country and when I’ve played there before in another band we were treated so well – and they know how to throw an afterparty too! It would be amazing to do a gig in a natural cave though – there was a concert venue in Lanzarote inside a cave in an old volcanic lava tube that I visited once, it was beautiful.

What’s your fondest musical memory?

Mark: There’s too many! Music is kind of always there in one way or another, and there’s been too many festivals, gigs and parties to think about. Playing guitar at the London Astoria before it was knocked down was pretty special as it was also the place where I went to watch my first ever gig, but screaming out ‘Twist And Shout’ in a packed chalet party at ATP last year was also a highlight!

What are you listening to right now?

Mark: I’m at home listening to Sophie Jamieson – she’s incredible, and we’re very fortunate in that she’s going to be supporting us when we play our album launch at St Pancras Old Church – I recommend everyone to check her out!

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