Interview: Dylan Cantlon Hay of Lost Cousins


Lost Cousins, and indie rock four piece from Kingston is swinging into town this weekend to play the Rainbow Bistro on Saturday. The four former Queen’s students are touring their latest EP Not Now What We Were and riding the wave of placing in the Top 10 of CBC Music’s national Searchlight competition last year.

We had a quick chat with Lost Cousins’ lead singer, bassist and primary songwriter, Dylan Cantlon Hay.

How was the East Coast tour?

The East Coast tour was an incredible time. It was the longest tour stint that we’d been on to date and it was our first time touring through the U.S. as well. It was also the first time we hit the road in our new band van, The Hot Potato, which made for a much comfier ride than we were used to. We met so many great people along the way and were able to visit some amazing cities that we’d never been to before.

Tours are fun, but what’s your favourite part of coming back to Ontario and heading home?

It’s always great to come back and spend time with all our friends in Toronto, as we spend countless hours on the road with just the four of us. We also end up eating a lot of fast food on the road, so it’s nice to be able to make some good home-cooked meals for ourselves. Lastly, nothing beats the comfort of our own beds, especially after sleeping on couches, floors, and car seats for days on end.

What made four former Queen’s students get together and form a band?

Cam and myself (Dylan) met in first year and immediately started writing songs together. Throughout high school we had each played in bands in our hometowns, but in high school you’re too young to play at most venues and your band probably sucks. So by the time we got to university all we wanted to do was hit the stage and rock out for hours on end. After playing as part of a three-piece for awhile in the campus pub house band, we started to feel that we needed more instrumentation to be able to take our songs into the creative realms we were starting to imagine them in. We started playing music with Lloyd and Thomas in the Queen’s Players Pit Band and soon realized that they would be great fits for the band from both a musical perspective and as friends.  A few weeks later we played our first concert in the living room of our house and Lost Cousins was born.

Does the name derive from feeling like family, but not close enough to be brothers? If so, please explain, if not, please elaborate.

We definitely intended the feeling like family part, but not necessarily not close enough to be brothers. The name came from a lyric of an old song of ours and it’s really tied in with the coming and going of not just close friends, but all people in your life. We also felt that a lot of people tend to have cousins that they may not know that well or that they’ve lost touch with so we thought that people would be able to relate to it in a sense.

How would you describe your debut EP, Not Now What We Were in one sentence?

With songs that can set the mood in the heat of summer or on the harshest days of winter, Not Now What We Were is a refreshing collection of soul rock songs that blend influences of the past with lyrics that express growth and transformation.

What’s your favourite song to play live off the EP? Or what’s the song that really gets the crowd going?

Our favourite song to play live off the EP would probably have to be “Strange Dreams,” as it’s got a decent amount of groove in the verses and we’re able to rock out in the choruses. It also happens to be the one that gets the crowd going, as everyone yells “wooooo!” during the pauses in the riff section of the song. When the crowd gets involved it always fires us up on stage and gets great vibes going in the room.

What was it like to play such huge festivals as WayHome and Wolfe Island last summer?

Both WayHome and Wolfe Island Music Festivals were such valuable experiences from us. Not only were they amazing opportunities for us to play our music in front of new fans, it was also a chance to get a glimpse of the professional side of the music industry. The stages had phenomenal sound and lighting setups and were terrific introductions to performing to large crowds outdoors. We were also able to interact with other artists and industry professionals backstage, which was valuable for gaining insight on the industry. More than anything, being part of these festivals motivated us to work more diligently at our craft, as being exposed to these events and musicians made us realize how far we have to go.

What do you have in-store this summer?

We’re planning on doing a lot of writing and recording over the summer. We’re currently starting the process of working on our first full-length album, which is both very exciting and nerve-racking for us. Later this month we’re going into the studio to work on pre-production with Nixon Boyd of Hollerado. It will be awesome for us to work with someone with an outside perspective and to learn a new process of fleshing out material, especially someone like Nick that we look up to. Along with writing and recording, we’re planning on continuing to tour throughout most of the summer as well. We’ll be playing shows in our regular tour stops of Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal, as well as heading down south to newer cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago.

Check out their new video for their song “Feel an Emotion” below.

Check out Lost Cousins live at the Rainbow Bistro Saturday, April 2nd with Blve Hills and Kase – more info here.


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