An Interview with La Luz: We talk new album, making L.A. home, crowd surfing limbo and more

La Luz photo

Photo by Andrew Imanaka

La Luz to Perform at The Glass House, March 22

Interview feature by Emily Saex

Surf doo-wop quartet La Luz originally hail from the rainy city of Seattle, and while a bit of that gloomy underbelly remains — though generally bright — effervescent tunes pair up nicely with Los Angeles’ sunnier outlook. Their sound finds itself teetering on the edge of psychedelic at times, placing an almost other-worldly filter on it, that takes the listener far out with songs such as “You Disappear” off their 2015 sophomore album Weirdo Shrine (Hardly Art Records).

In just a few short years the band has found such an overwhelmingly warm and receptive response from Los Angeles audiences (see Echo Park Rising 2016) that it influenced their decision to move here. Bassist Lena Simon fills us in on how the love and weirdness of L.A. made it easy for them to make the transition into becoming bona-fide Angelenos.

“We loved playing L.A. so much that we moved here! We’ve been calling L.A. home for not quite a year but we all enjoy the vast weirdness it has to offer. These crowds have always been high energy and full of love and support for us, that we always look forward to playing here. I think it was before I was in the band but I believe L.A. was the first place where people crowd surfed at one of our shows.”

While Seattle still remains a home away from home (post-relocating) their true measure of success is measured in the audience’s physical response to the music, according to Simon.

“There’s been some amazing crowd-surfing and moshing in both cities. I guess that’s how we measure how good a show was. Did they crowd surf? Did they limbo? Did they crowd surf limbo? Must have been a good show.”

It seems kind of strange for fans to crowd surf to surf-psych-doo-wop. The fact that La Luz’s beautifully crafted melodies could incite such an instinctual, raw party animal response — the kind you’d expect at a punk or hardcore show — seemed unexpected but La Luz defy those expectations and that is essentially part of what makes them so fantastic. Their rock driven instrumentation coupled with their lush harmonies really drive it home.

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“You’d be silly not to admire the sound of the human voice singing in harmony,” shares Simon. “The vocal harmonies are just as important as the lead vocal. We’re lucky that coming up with them usually feels like second nature.”

Simon also revealed that their strong melodic drive and appreciation was derived from the band’s love of ’50s and ’60s soul / rock n’ roll harmonies; from the Ronettes to the Drifters to Indonesian girl groups.

La Luz also recently revealed on Facebook that they are already in the process of working on a new album. With Weirdo Shrine, the intent behind the direct-to-tape recording was to capture a very raw and live sound, much of what draws in those crowd surfing limbo fans. According to Simon regarding the recording of their still very top secret new album: “This time around was similar (to Weirdo Shrine) but a little more polished. We still recorded all the basic tracks together live and to-tape, but ran everything into Protools so that the overdub track space was unlimited. We took that opportunity to add little ‘tasties’ throughout the record. Instrumentation is the same at its core but we played around with different guitars, amps, organ sounds to give each song the character it needs. When you have unlimited tracks, the only challenge is to be careful not to add too much.”

Beyond that insight Simon wasn’t willing to give up anymore secrets or details about the new album. “We are taking this Winter to be home and rejuvenate after a couple years of almost non-stop touring. Early 2017 looks like massages, vacations, family time, creative endeavors. After that we’ll be ready to go on more tours and all that new record stuff.” We’re betting that Southern California fans will be the only ones to get a true sneak peak at some new material at their upcoming one-off gig this week before they hibernate for the Winter.

If you’re itching to join the crowd-surfing limbo for a wildly good time be sure to catch La Luz live at The Glass House on Wednesday, March 22. Joining them are primo supporting acts Veiny Hands and Brainstory. Get Tickets!

Follow La Luz on Facebook for new music and tour updates.

 

Watch La Luz’s video for “You Disappear.”

Watch La Luz’s video for “Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine.”

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