Exclusive: Previously on Lost Gear Up for Lost Season 5

Previously on Lost
Photo: Previously on Lost

It’s hardly a revelation to point out that there are more than a few obsessed fans of TV’s Lost out there, but few are obsessed in quite the same way as Jeff Curtin and Adam Schatz. Together, the two are Previously on Lost, a New York-based “recap-rock” band dedicated to chronicling the adventures of everyone’s current favorite castaways (sorry, Gilligan). During last year’s season 4, the duo wrote a new song about each episode of the show within 24 hours of its airing. The collected results became The Tale of Season 4 and the Oceanic Six, a 13-song album that documents the entire season.

To celebrate the long-awaited season 5 premiere, which airs Wednesday Jan 21 on ABC, the group has put together an appropriate celebration at Brooklyn’s Bell House. A screening of the two-hour TV event will be accompanied by a performance from Previously on Lost, complete with free leis and cheap rum punch. We caught up with Schatz ahead of the big night to find out what the group has in store for the future, whether it has received official endorsement, and how it all relates to photosynthesis, George Carlin, and the World Cup.

Flavorwire: What do you guys have planned for the premiere party?

Previously on Lost: We’ll perform most of the numbers off of our debut album, though we won’t have time to play every episode.

FW: Are you planning on doing the same thing for season 5 that you did for season 4?

PoL: Not entirely. There are some major differences. We have a full belief in our ability as recappers, but I also believe there can be too much of a good thing. And with such a complete masterwork as The Tale of Season 4 and the Oceanic Six already under our belts, I wouldn’t want to just keep churning out Lost recaps, because it would take away from the glory of the Season 4 opus. We will be recapping the premiere, and you can expect it to be online a few days after the show. But after that, it will be a mystery. Much like the show itself.

FW: So, does this mean that you see the lifespan of the band as much shorter than that of the show?

PoL: I believe that people will always want to hear the tale of Season 4. But there is much more to recapping than just Lost. Or even television for that matter. Under the name Previously on Lost, we plan on recapping much more in the future. We’ve already recorded a George Carlin recap, commissioned by the Kennedy Center in DC. We played there in November, a big free show before the Mark Twain Comedy Awards honoring Carlin. We set one of his jokes to song, in which we embody his spirit and ability to memorize ridiculously long lists — in this case, a list of terrible things that are waiting for you after the show.

We’ll likely perform the Carlin recap after the premiere on the 21st. Other recaps we have in store are a recap of the process of photosynthesis, a War Suite recapping some history, the Oregon Trail computer game, and the 2010 World Cup, to name a few.

FW: Well, you clearly won’t be running out of material anytime soon.

PoL: The world is our source. We are just the messengers. Chosen by JJ Abrams.

FW: We noticed that your performance is scheduled during ABC’s pre-premiere recap show. Are you guys not a fan of those?

PoL: We’ve been living Season 4 ever since it ended, and believe that our recaps will be just as effective, if not more effective, than whatever B-roll ABC has to offer. Some formalists will insist that they watch at home, and that’s fine. But we believe that we’re on the cutting edge, taking television and making it truly communal — an inherently lazy act, suddenly the point of going out. With a side of dancing and tropic fervor.

FW: Have you had any feedback from the show’s cast/creators?

PoL: Yes, yes, yes. Two weeks after we started, Public Radio International reached out to us, saying that they were having cast member Michael Emerson on their show Fair Game (listen here), and wanted one of us to call in. We actually rewrote the most recent song to have a verse about Emerson’s character, Ben, and they surprised him on-air with it. He was baffled, and said he liked it. Pretty hilarious.

Then, a few days later, he was on Yahoo! TV, the Internet TV site, and they were talking to him about all sorts of stuff. The interviewer says, “Have you heard about Previously on Lost”? and our MySpace page floats onto the screen. The song starts playing, and Emerson stares at the camera and says, “Previously on Lost! Those guys are everywhere!” I cried.

FW: That’s amazing.

PoL: Yeah. We were also contacted by the man who produces the Lost DVDs, prior to our California tour last August. We met with him out there, and he brought some of the producers to the show. They had a blast, and it’s looking like we may be on the Season 6 DVD, in the special features, which we’re pretty excited about.

FW: Also amazing! Have you seen ajirairways.com yet? It’s a Season 5 teaser…

PoL: No! Yow, I thought Jeff and I were big fans, but we’ve never gone above and beyond. (Other than this whole band thing.) I’ve never done the online games, or read any of the books. We prefer to just take in the TV show. But that’s the thing about Lost — the producers go all out to make it an engaging experience. And that’s why it made so much sense to start this band and do this record. We just became a part of the whole.

FW: We wonder if you could ever get a cameo on the show.

PoL: You wonder, I dream. And beg, for that matter. There’s still time. My money’s on Season 6.

For more from the Previously on Lost crew, check out Champollion — a space opera based on the musings of Carl Sagan — and the indie-band-spotlighting Juan’s Basement on Pitchfork.tv.