Roomthirteen caught up with Left Side Brain to chat about the release of their new record and their thoughts on having more than 10 years in the industry.

R13: You're planning on releasing a best of compilation (Rifftrospective: 10 Years of Left Side Brain) to celebrate 10 years of LSB. I applaud you for avoiding the usual ploy of adding an unreleased track designed to fleece fans out of their hard-earned cash. Was your record label happy with the decision to release a best of with no extras?
Ryan: Absolutely. We wanted this to be the strongest possible collection of our music. I really think you need some time to properly grasp whether a song you've done is something you're genuinely proud of.
We've simmered 3 albums down into something that completely represents our decade together. If there's a British band that has the same quality and consistency of riffage, we will be delighted to hear them.

R13: You also had a track featured on 'Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog' earlier this year, how did this come about?
G: We got a mail out of the blue from Phil at Stressed Records, saying that he was putting together a Kerbdog tribute record. He'd heard that we were 'Dog fans, and asked us if we'd like to contribute a track. We said "yes, and we want to do Severed". We were at once honoured and massively pumped at this idea, as it meant two things:
1) We get to contribute a track to a Kerbdog Tribute album and pay our respects to a great band
2) We get to spend a weekend back in Northern Ireland in the studio recording a bostin' cover track
Recording time is always massively enjoyed, but this was the first time we'd ever recorded a song that we hadn't written ourselves. Instead of the usual writing process, we spent our time studying the recording and picking it into its constituent parts. For a pretty straightforward sounding track like "Severed" it turns out that Garth Richardson did an impressive and complex job in layering it up with guitar parts and harmonies, and it took a fair bit of hard listening (and arguing) before we settled on what was going on, stripped down the guitar parts a bit in line with the LSB philosophy of "no overdubs that cannot be recreated live", and recorded it with the express purpose of making it sound as gigantic as possible. As ever, "making it sound as gigantic as possible" is producer Neal Calderwood's favourite job, so the rest was history. Flew over, got smashed, had blast, returned with giant track. Bosh.

R13: You've been keeping quite a low profile lately, what have you been doing to keep yourselves occupied?
R: The big one for me is fatherhood. I have a 9 month-old son, who is awesome.
You don't get to be in any band for 10 years without life continuing around it. Elsewhere, marriage, illness & changes in geography have all worked against the LSB schedule, but going with the flow of this stuff is part of the make-up of the unit and the vital friendships within.
Right now, Rich & Oli are on tour with Blueneck; half of LSB have joined these long-term buddies to help deliver their post-rock soundscapes to Eastern Europe.

R13: What's next for the band? Any plans for working on new material or touring?
G: We've had a slow summer to ease ourselves back into the saddle, cleaned the sparkplugs with an outing at the 2000 Trees festival, booked ourselves in for a full rock exfoliation and pedicure at the Lexapalooza festival in October, and will be fully varnished, cocked and loaded in time to javelin the ears of attendees at our 10th anniversary show LSBX in November. Cochleas will be crushed quicker than you can say "ungainly mixed metaphors".
We're rehearsing sporadically at the moment and writing new material with a view to building towards LSBX, where we want to throw out a couple of newies to prove we're not splitting up. We're not splitting up, incidentally. Would a band be writing new songs if they were about to split up? No, of course they wouldn't. Shame on you for having even suggested it, had you done so.

R13: In the 10 years that you've been going how has the industry changed for an underground band like LSB?
R: This makes me feel old.
As far as we were concerned, building your reputation playing live was the only way to a record deal and consequently to 'success'.
We used to give away tapes of our first EP after our gigs, or outside other gigs. Tapes? Who uses a fucking tape player these days?
Now? Just tell me the name of your band and I'll have a listen on my way home on Myspace or Spotify, thanks.
Do it right and you could have a massive following without ever leaving the house.

R13: What do you think/hope is in store for LSB in the next 10 years?
R: Above all, we are 4 great friends passionate about the same kind of music. We share a desire to get better at this. There are still some monolithic single note riff monsters out there to be defeated and then be dropped to half time. We are still determined to write that ultimate majestic middle eight. The next ten years will see us continue that pursuit and remain best buddies.

R13: What aspirations did you have in the beginning and how have they changed over the past 10 years?
G: It started with me and Ryan in Swansea, deciding that once we got through university we were going to forego the traditional leap into real employment and have a solid, serious go at being a real band like the ones in Kerrang!. By the time we'd graduated we'd recruited Oli to the cause, and we began our attack in late 1999 by moving to Bristol with no bass player, and no clue as to how we were going to go about it. All we had was an idea of the kind of music that we wanted to make (heavy, riffs, harmonies) and a massive dose of commitment. I guess the main aspiration that we had at that point was to live off the band, and find a way to avoid full time employment - if we could support ourselves for a while then I suppose that might feel like we'd really achieved something. In terms of records and success then I think we always aspired to have a record properly released, and to "be in the magazines" to some extent. We've always wanted to feel that we were involved in some small way in the world that we read about and obsessed about in our teens.
As it's turned out, we never managed to live off the band - the nearest we ever got was Oli working part time while he managed us for a while. Other than that we've all had full time jobs for the last 10 years, and in all honesty we've probably never broken even on anything we've ever done. I think that in a way we've been victims of circumstance in that we were trying to find a label to support us financially as the music business was crumbling and the majors were beginning to die and shitcanning their rosters, but you can't pick when you're born, right?
However, the longer we've been working at this, the clearer it has become that our initial aims were nothing if not unreasonable and baseless. With time we've learned to appreciate what we have achieved - we may not have had "the breaks" that we might have dreamed of, but we've delivered three whopping albums that we're massively proud of, enjoyed endless good times on the road and in the studio, had masses of uniformly great reviews in the press and online, and somehow we're still here after all this time. Most bands never get past recording a demo. Most bands don't get to see their CDs in the shops, go on tour, play on a big stage in the sunshine. By now, most bands are long dead. I'll settle for what we have, thanks.

R13: How has the surge in popularity of social networking sites like myspace & facebook affected LSB? Is it a great way to reach your fans or does it just mean that you're constantly competing with a million other bands for attention?
R: As a band that gave out tapes and wanted our CDs to be in the shops, it's fair to say we were relative late-comers to that party.
To me, myspace just seems to be populated by other bands. Lots and lots and lots of them. I certainly don't get a sense that there's a huge community of music lovers with open minds clicking around looking for new bands to fall in love with.

R13: You're obviously influenced by bands that have been around for some time, like Helmet & Therapy?, are there any new bands that you're particularly impressed by?
R: There are some bands that remain constant for all of us. New albums by those bands, or Deftones, Weezer or the Wildhearts will be digested and loved by (almost) everyone in the band.
We'd all answer the rest of this question pretty differently...
For me at the moment, I can't get enough of The Hold Steady and We Are Scientists. Norma Jean have really impressed in the last few weeks. The new Automatic album is probably my album of the year so far, but then I was a huge Yourcodenameis:Milo fan too. Really looking forward to seeing Truckfighters next week.

R13: Does the current mainstream music scene, with its reliance on style over substance & constant recycling and watering down of ideas, bother you?
R: What is mainstream music?
I don't take enough notice of Fame Academy or any of those chart things to let them piss me off, though sure they would.
Are Westlife still going? Cat Stevens must be turning in his grave. Or is he still alive?
Jay Z seems to be catching up with Bill Gates, but I suppose he's making some half decent tunes along the way.
Emo has come a bit too far now. Bleed American was the pinnacle for me. And I bet they managed it without hair straighteners.
What was the question?

R13: You always seem to attract glowing reviews in the press for your music, yet you're still relatively unknown. Are you happy with your lot, or are there times you'd happily sell out for fame & fortune?
R: I always imagined that having a style (musical, not fashion), keeping at it, and getting better and better at it was the key. Simple yes?
The music world would come to us, not the other way around
I still pour over music magazines looking for new musical avenues to explore, so for us, appreciation from people that listen to as much music as those reviewers is high praise indeed.
For the first album, I was na´ve enough to think that getting those great reviews would translate directly into opportunity. Not quite.
We would definitely have liked that to given way to much bigger tours, but selling out to do it? No chance.

R13: And finally, the name 'Left Side Brain': Are any of you budding neuropsychologists, or did you just like the sound of it?
Ryan: None of us has a neuropsychology background, but we are all definitely fascinated by science. That we all thought it sounded cool certainly played a part.

R13: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
LSB: It was a total pleasure. Thanks for asking such interesting questions.