Lost Cousins reflects on lucky start

Former Queen’s band talks new EP, origin story 

Lost Cousins.      
Credit: 
Supplied by Lloyd McArton

Always in the right place at the right time, Lost Cousins added a new EP to their lucky streak last Friday.

Ahead of their Feb. 8 show at the Mansion, the band released In Scenery—a tribute to the natural landscapes the band members miss since moving to Toronto in 2015.

Before their move and EP release, they had an unusually charmed time establishing themselves in the Kingston music scene and beyond. As Queen’s students, they played a few times at The Grad Club where they met owner Virginia Clark. It was a major step forward.

Being the organizer of the Wolfe Island Music Festival, Clark asked Lost Cousins to play in the summer of 2015. Despite being together for barely under a year the band was on track to release their very first EP that same summer.

Playing at the island festival was “a dream come true,” guitarist and saxophonist Lloyd McArton, ConEd ’14, told The Journal.

Performing around Kingston soon earned a decent following, but their Barrie, Ont, shows led to a next big break.

Opening up for The Strumbellas at Temple Lounge in 2015, they met a club promoter. While it was an insignificant meeting—common for a touring band—the promoter later recommended them as a fill-in for an empty spot in the 2015 WayHome lineup.

They accepted the offer, unsure of what to expect.

“On the last day [at WayHome] we got to play and then hang out and watch artists like Kendrick Lamar and Neil Young,” McArton recalled.   

They couldn’t believe how far they had come and how fast.

Now living in Toronto, Lost Cousins looks back on these concerts and remembers life in the Limestone city—living on the edge of the St. Lawrence River, just a 30 minute ferry ride away from the peaceful escape of Wolfe Island.

Not originally city-boys, it took some time to adjust to the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto.

In Scenery is their reflection on missing the open spaces of rural life, musing on the various changes their move has brought to their life.

“It’s a culture shock; you feel claustrophobic. It’s a longing for nature and trying to escape the confines of the city and the concrete,” McArton said.

Written by Cam Duffin, Arts ’15, Lost Cousin’s drummer, many of the lyrics throughout In Scenery deal with travelling constantly from place to place. He draws inspiration from specific memories from life as students in Kingston and they’re more often than not connected to nature—a sign of how deeply they miss escapes from city life.

Everything about Lost Cousins seems too good to be true.

There are none of the usual stories about a singer posting a “Drummer Wanted” sign, or a three-piece band holding auditions for that second guitar.

Instead McArton, Duffin, and keyboardist Thomas Dashney, CompSci ’15, met as students at Queen’s, playing in jazz band. Meanwhile, Dashney was in Queen’s Players and convinced Duffin to join the sketch troupe. The three were on track to form Lost Cousins.

Sean MacTaggart, bassist, went to Humber College, but he and Dashney were friends in high school.

The pieces fit together seamlessly and Lost Cousins were quickly on their way to becoming the next big recognizable band out of Queen’s.

From the time they formed in 2015 to playing two music festivals that very summer, the band moved to Toronto and wrote their first EP in less than a year.

Now, In Scenery captures their personal and professional progress by drawing on old memories.

Hopeful that reminiscing about their start might inspire their future, the members of Lost Cousins reflect on the luckiest time of their life, and their next chance encounters.

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