A band could be forgiven for feeling unlucky if it were to have one serious vehicular collision while on tour, causing financial and scheduling chaos and no small amount of anxiety though, fortunately, no serious injuries. Lost in Atlantis have had two.
The group, which formed in Phoenix about nine years ago and relocated to L.A. three years ago, have inadvertently redefined road resilience. While the original members gravitated toward each other for the least cynical of reasons — a simple, shared love of the music — they quickly realized that, from their Arizona base, they would have to get out onto America’s open roads if they wanted to achieve anything.
That’s exactly what they did, taking their self-styled “rock-tronica” — a smart and very contemporary blend of hard rock, pop hooks and heavy synths — to the people Singer Elizabetha Rosnowski (who likes to go by Beth) references Lady Gaga, Paramore and Muse when we chat, and that makes sense. They’re smart names to drop, too; Rosnowski and her colleagues have become quite adept at playing the networking game since moving to L.A., because they’ve had to.
“Two of the members, we’re from Phoenix, and the rest of our band was from L.A.,” she says. “We decided to make the move because we thought it would be an easier way to network and stuff, which has helped us. But it’s still a hard city to push through.”
In between changing states and touring hard, Lost in Atlantis have released three albums to date — the Silent World debut, the Lover Freak sophomore and 2016’s This World Is Ours: Part I.
“That’s the latest one,” Rosnowski says. “We have another one that we haven’t released. We’re gonna release it this year, but we haven’t figured out the day yet. It’s the second part of the The World Is Ours album.”
As is so often the case, the Lost in Atlantis sound has evolved organically over the near decade of their existence. The band members have learned the art of songwriting as time has passed, and working with producer Erich Talaba (Yellowcard, Fallout Boy) on recent efforts has helped too.
“He’s worked with bigger bands and he’s really helped us grow,” Rosnowski says. “Here in L.A., he’s been our mentor and really guided us. Our last album took three or four months to record, and that’s crazy to think about because most bands record an album in a month or less. He really took his time and helped us write, helped me write. Our first album, we wrote 16 songs and just released, and really didn’t get any help. Sometimes it’s hard to hear our first album, because I think it sounds so bad. But you’ve got to grow somehow.”
And grow they have. In 2018, Lost in Atlantis are a fascinating unit. The intricate electronica-infused sound is both warm and pummeling. The hard work they’ve put in is paying off, at least artistically. But man, the work really has been hard, and bruising. It was while on tour for the first album that they survived the first of those aforementioned major accidents.
“We’re the unluckiest lucky band,” Rosnowski says. “We were on our way to a college show out here in Bakersfield at nighttime. The semi truck driver behind us fell asleep at the wheel. He rear-ended us, and then accelerated. We were in a big tour bus, and our driver tried to take control, but the truck driver was going so fast that he pushed us and we flipped over four times into a ditch. I had no idea what was going on. When it all stopped, we all got out and we were all OK. The truck driver’s first story was that he reached down for a beef jerky. Then his story changed and he admitted that he fell asleep. All the bunk beds fell apart on top of people. Eventually, we found everyone. We had to pull them out. That was the most traumatic experience, and probably why I have anxiety.”
Just a couple of years later, while on the Warped Tour, the band’s brand spanking new van was totaled by a drunk driver in New Mexico.
“We were stuck in Gallup, New Mexico, for two weeks,” Rosnowski says. “The whole town knew us. But I never want to be stuck there again. I think two accidents is enough, right?”
Right. Still, the Warped Tour was an overall positive experience for the group — a notoriously challenging tour for young bands, even when there are no major car crashes.
“It was definitely a testament to our strength as a band,” Rosnowski says. “Every day, it was so hot. I almost fainted onstage, because they ran out of water in Vegas. It was insane but so much fun. Meeting all of the bigger bands and connecting, all the parties — Kevin Lyman, the owner and founder, took us under his wing because he heard about one of the major accidents that we had. He was like, ‘Wow, you guys made it through that? I want you guys to play.’”
The band had far less fun in Houston when they were booked to play carnival-themed bar Super Happy Fun Land.
“We walk in and it was really scary, like walking into a horror movie,” Rosnowski says. “There were dolls and clown faces everywhere. It was so creepy. There were a bunch of hippies telling us we could sleep with them there after the show. We go, ‘We’re cool, thanks though.’ It was the most random venue we’ve ever played. We don’t like clowns, and the place was filled with hundreds of clowns and toys. It was so weird.”
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This week, Lost in Atlantis play the far more comfortable (though no less wonderfully weird) surroundings of the Viper Room on the Strip, a venue the group is used to. Rosnowski refers to it as “homey,” and she's expecting a great night.
“We’re going to have some new songs,” she says. “Epicness and melting faces. We’re the only non-metal band on the bill, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the fans of the other bands will react to us. But we can do this. We’ll play a bunch of songs from This World Is Ours: Part I, and Lover Freak. We played our Silent World songs for a long time, so we decided to just bring in the new ones for this set.”
When that show’s done, there will be more Warped Tour goodness in Vegas, and the band will work to get the new album out. There’s also going to be a video for the single “Real You.” They just keep on working — but please, no more crashes.
Lost in Atlantis play with Eyelight and Beyond the Roots at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at the Viper Room.