How Timelost's "rock'n'roll soulmates" realised their vision on new album Gushing Interest 

Meet Timelost's Shane Handal and Grzesiek Czapla, the mastermind duo fusing existential gloom with their own brand of 'grungegaze'.

How Timelost's "rock'n'roll soulmates" realised their vision on new album Gushing Interest 
Mischa Pearlman
John Nunn

Sometimes, even waking up feels like a burden. These days especially, it can even be an act of bravery. But you can either decide to succumb to the hellscape of existence or embrace it – carve something out of the misery of humanity. And that’s precisely what Timelost have been doing since the summer of 2017. Those might be halcyon days compared to now, but Shane Handal (vocals, guitar) and Grzesiek Czapla (drums) still had a lot to get off their chests back then. Even though they lived more than 1,000 miles apart – Shane in St. Petersburg, Florida, Grzesiek in Philadelphia – the pair had known each other through the underground music scene for about a decade before Timelost started, bonding over their similar tastes in music and outlooks on life.

“I’d book his shows in Philly, he’d book my shows in Florida,” says Grzesiek, who Shane simply calls G, “and we were always complaining about each other’s bands and band members. We were just like, ‘Man, if we started a band…’, ‘Man, if it was you, if it was us.’”

Eventually it was them and the pair set to making – remotely – their deliciously dark, gloomy waves of noise (a sound they describe as 'grungegaze'). Following a four-song demo in 2018, they released their debut album, Don’t Remember Me For This, in October 2019. Two months later, Shane moved to Philadelphia to properly focus on the band, allowing it to exist in a more tangible form – not just on the internet.

“I really saw the potential in it,” says Shane, “and I wanted this to be my main project. So it was an easy decision for me to make this more than just a two-person thing, to actually bring it to life in the same city and be an active band.”

“I feel Shane and I became rock’n’roll soulmates with this band,” confirms Grzesiek. “And also before, but especially with Timelost, because we both set up our lives to do music. We held off on a couple things – didn’t move places, kept the shitty jobs – because we wanted to do this, and do it together.”

Thanks to Grzesiek’s extensive connections in Philadelphia’s underground scene, bassist Tony DiDonato and guitarist Hugh Morretta were added to the line-up, though neither appear on Timelost’s newest release, Gushing Interest. As with their first record, this one was written remotely, even though the pair were both in the city at that point (“It’s a weird thing,” smiles Shane wryly, “but it works surprisingly well for us. So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”). Like that LP, they shared lyrical duties on this one, too – another example of their almost psychic artistic and emotional connection.

“Me and G have become close friends,” says Shane, “so not only do we talk about the band all the time, we also talk about each other’s lives all the time. If he writes half a song, I can get into his headspace and help him along with it and develop it. And vice versa.”

“It really helps,” chuckles Grzesiek, “when your bandmate is your therapist.”

In person, both are affable and animated, and readily admit how much they enjoy making music together. Even if that music is riddled with a deep despair and existential angst that stares, unblinkingly, into the infinite Vantablack abyss of what it means to be human, what it means to be alive.

“We’re both fun, easygoing people who love to drink, smoke, hang out, watch a show, whatever,” says Shane. “But it’s the other parts of life where this music and the lyrics are coming from – when you’re alone with your thoughts by yourself. Because you’re not always as happy as you seem in front of other people. It’s impossible to be like that all the time, and we embrace that when we’re writing music. But daily we’re not some basement dweller dudes full-time!”

Listen to Gushing Interest, and you’d probably think otherwise. Take, for example, the dirgey doomfest of T.K.O. A song that ponders the point of the fleeting nature of life, it finds Shane admitting that, ‘It all seems too dark too bear.’ Are things really that bad?

“There’s a late-night insomnia vibe to those lyrics,” says Shane. “It’s basically about when you can’t sleep, because you’re thinking about the dark shit that you thought you’d put out of your mind.”

It’s not all glowering gloom and endless existentialism doom, though. Within the pulverising, pummelling riffs, charged atmosphere and hypnotic torment of Deep End Of The Cut, there’s an important reminder midway through, when the music dies down and Shane’s voice, floating like a disembodied ghost, utters a plea: ‘Just be kind tonight.’

It’s clear, then, that they’ve poured every atom of their being and essence into this heart and skull-crushingly beautiful body of work. Comprising five originals and a sublime cover of Love My Way by British new wave legends The Psychedelic Furs, it falls in the murky middle-ground between an EP and an album (Grzesiek craftily avoids the definition by calling it “our second complete idea”). Whatever you think it is, it truly asserts the originality of what they’re doing – as flattered as they are by the comparisons their band has so far received to the likes of NOTHING and Narrowhead. What’s most important for them, though, is that this is the exact sound and feeling they’ve always been working towards – the band they wanted and knew they could be from the start. So far, anyway.

“In our heads,” says Shane, “this is our first real statement of who we are as a band and what we’re capable of. I feel like we’re finally there. There’s a lot of time and effort in there and we hope it pays off, because this band is who we are as people. There’s a need to do this. It’s a want, a dream. And there’s no better feeling than writing a great song and listening back and being proud of it, even though no-one in the whole world has heard it other than your own bandmate. That’s what boosts my serotonin more than anything else.”

Gushing Interest is out now via Church Road Records.

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