03 March 2011

Interview with Foburg Band, The Luyas

The Luyas are a band from Montreal, Canada. They just released their sophomore album, To Beautiful To Work on Dead Oceans. They will be playing with Givers and Ra Ra Riot on Friday, March 11 at One Eyed Jack’s as part of the Foburg Music Festival. Art/Official spoke with the band’s frontwoman, Jessie Stein, earlier this week:

Art/Official: For people who have never heard your music before, give a first hand description of it.

Jessie Stein: It is strangely-dressed pop music with weird colors. I guess we’re trying to make music that sounds special, but still speaks a human language.

a/o: What kind of impression do you hope to make on people when they see you live for the first time?

JS: I just hope that they like it, and feel like it’s something that they don’t see everyday. I don’t really set out with any particular, specific mission. I just hope that people get a little break from things that they normally think about. You know, after all, music is a form of entertainment, so I hope people can get a little bit excited or a little bit transformed by it. That’s my noble, quiet hope.

a/o: How do your live shows differ from your recorded music?

JS: Well, it’s been a while since we recorded the record, so it’s more energetic, and kind of heavier. I think that just the fact that the instrumentation is a little bit more paired-down has forced us to use our instruments to their fullest potential. It’s actually pretty exciting live, and I’m almost digging the live representation better than the recorded representation at the moment because it’s especially exciting to me. I think that we’re a pretty fun band. It’s pretty cool to be up there with my best friends trying as hard as we can.

a/o: You guys use an interesting instrument called the Moodswinger, could you tell me about that?

JS: Yeah, totally. It’s a twelve-string, third bridge, overtoned zither. It was invented by this man, Yuri Landman from the Netherlands. He was really obsessed with Sonic Youth and the overtone series, and the way that certain – especially 80’s and 90’s – loud guitar music made really neat noise. So he was trying to create an instrument that could make those sounds naturally without the use of pedals or props. He designed this weird monster. It’s really cool. I don’t really play it in the style that he intended at all, though. I like to play it more like a strange harp or something. Every time you bring it out, people look at you weird, and it’s kinda neat... My phone tells me that youre in Tennessee, but I thought that you were in Louisiana.

a/o: Well, I’m from Memphis, but I go to school in New Orleans.

JS: I love New Orleans! It’s my favorite place in America. Last year I went to South by Southwest, and I hated it so much that me and a friend rented a car and just drove to New Orleans, and had a right good time. It’s really exciting and so beautiful. It kind of reminds me of Montreal, where we’re from. There’s sort of a French influence, and sort of a vitality in the face of poverty. It’s really alive with arts culture and art history. It has a great multi-ethnic, multi-lingual culture. I think it’s really great. Then there’s also lots of wrought-iron work in Montreal, too, except in a different style that’s not quite as beautiful as it is in New Orleans. I love it. The French is really trippy. If you speak Quebec French, and you hear the Creole dialect down in Louisiana, there’s really an amazing accent difference. And I love the old music down there, especially all the zydeco. New Orleans is place I’m most excited to go to on the tour.

a/o: What was it like working with Owen Pallett for your new record?

JS: It was cool. It’s pretty normal to me. I’ve known him since I was eighteen. We were roommates. We’re really good buds. So, it was just like calling someone you know really well and asking him to do something he does really well. He just did it perfectly and efficiently. We all just drank coffee and stared at him in awe. It was great. Everybody who played on the record who is a bit of a name, they’re all people who are just close friends. The music scene in Montreal is pretty tight, and everybody knows each other, so it’s kind of just like your friends playing on your record. Almost everything was played by the band proper, and then there are just little patches here and there where collaborators played.

a/o: What’s The Luyas’ next move after you guys finish this tour?

JS: Probably going to have to tour some more. We’re going to be gone for three months. I’m leaving Montreal in a couple days. I would imagine by the time we’re done that we’ll probably know about more stuff that we’re going to have to do. We’re already writing new songs, so hopefully we’ll record again because now that this record’s out, it feels like it’s time to write another one. One of my goals for this year is to learn how to do a handstand, so hopefully that will come of my year.

Listen to the great title track off their new album, then watch their "Take Away Show" from La Blogotheque:

--Article and Interview by Connor Crawford


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