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Meet London’s Dreamy Alt Pop Duo: Arctic Lake

Photo Credit: Scarlett Casciello // Universal Music Group

Since 2014, Emma Foster and Paul Holliman have been creating music together as Arctic Lake. The duo first released a track in 2014 titled, “How Long Can You Stare" and later dropped their debut single, "Limits" in 2015.

Since the beginning, Arctic Lake has been gaining a well-deserved following with over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. With their blend of emotional and touching songwriting with the fun punchy production, it's impossible not to love them. Foster's beautiful vocals add a whole extra level as they're full of heart clearly expressing the pain, love, and various feelings she is singing about. Arctic Lake has a powerful way of reaching the listener through their music and making the song become theirs.

The duo has released multiple singles and in 2020 they dropped their third EP titled, See Inside. The EP is packed with feel-good music that touches every emotion. Following in 2021, Arctic Lake released a few singles including "Yours," "What Have You Done To Me?," "Reviver," and the warm summer tune, "Lonely."

Most recently, Arctic Lake had prepared to have more listeners fall in love with their music with the release of their 2022 EP, side by side we lie awake. The EP is both intimate and powerful and personal in a way that listeners are able to relate to themselves. This EP was the duo's first EP release in over two years and fans were more than ready to have yet another collection to fall in love with.

Lately had the chance to connect with Emma and Paul to ask a few questions:

Lately: What inspires your songwriting?

Emma: "Life! My life, Paul’s, our friends, this crazy world, emotions, relationships, the rainy British weather, landscapes, memories, art, other music! We’ve always said that we wanted to write about human thought and emotion because we want people to relate, we want them to feel something when they listen and so we draw from everything we experience and hope it connects!"

Lately" This past March you released your EP, side by side we lie awake. Can you talk a bit about the process of creating that EP? Paul: "All of these songs were started in the various lockdowns over the past couple of years, and then finished up in our little moldy flat in London over the last year (don’t worry we moved out quite quickly). Some of them like” Love You Like That” took a while to come together where we had to leave it and come back later to really get a feel of what it should be, and others like “Hesitate” were done basically in one day from start to finish. We’re so happy with how they all turned out though, and my mum likes them so that’s all that matters."

Lately: Which songs have you had on repeat lately?

Emma: "Every week I try to revisit music and this week I've been going back through Pink Floyd, Nina Simone, and Daniel Caesar and I'm in love all over again! That being said, I just got tickets for Moderat at Alexandra Palace so I’ve rinsing their latest tune “MORE LOVE.”'

Lately: If you could play only one of your songs to somebody who has never heard your music before, which would you choose and why? Paul: "Ummmm that’s a tricky one because some of our stuff is fun and upbeat and some of it is cry your heart out in a dark room sort of vibe, so I guess it depends what mood you’re in really - I’m really happy with how “Hesitate” turned out and lyrically it really gets me every time so I think I’d say that one at the moment."

Lately: What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality? (What hobbies do you turn to in order to energize your creativity)

Emma: "We all love getting back to nature so going away somewhere quiet and green is always a blessing. I’m obsessed with astronomy so that usually helps me lyrically to just get outside the box sometimes and think bigger. I love photography and literature but I have to say the most energizing activities are having open conversations with people, going to exhibitions, and going to a gig; it just makes you fall in love with music more and more. That’s truly the most inspiring… apart from being hurt, that triggers the most rapid songwriting in my opinion hehe."

Lately: What are you currently working on? Paul: "Musically, everything under the sun - just loads and loads and loads of songs mainly about being sad. Personally, I’ve just moved into a new flat so I’m trying to master the art of acquiring lots of nice things without spending any money, turns out nice things cost a lot so it’s been quite hard. I think I’ll just settle with having a mattress on the floor and a lamp that doesn’t work."

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