01 February 2010

My Luminaries Answers 5

I reviewed My Luminaries’ “Order From the Chaos” last month (link), and was struck by the beauty of this album. “Order From the Chaos” is one of those albums that you will find difficult to put down; you will listen to it again and again and again. What shines through is that this is a band that has musical chops and dedication to their craftsmanship that is more than impressive, it is admirable. It was not a hard choice to reach out to them, and we would like to thank James Ewers (singer/songwriter) for taking the time to Answer 5.

(My Luminaries / Photographer: James Dean White)

1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

We allow ourselves to be influenced by as many things as possible. And our music seems to be a balanced combination of all these many influences, and there's thankfully not too much of any one influence. Influences change all the time, and if the music is not documented soon enough then we've found in the past that we're in danger of our music not having a consistent thread. You can hear elements of this on our album, but I feel it all comes together well enough and makes for a more interesting, all round listening experience.

Where the music is concerned, I could say I love Neil Young, or whoever, but I'm most influenced by the sound of a record, more in a production sense. I recently emailed the producer Tony Visconti just to introduce the band, and only when I was writing the email did I realise how much of an influence he has really had on what I regard as what records should sound like. The depth, types of ambience and weighting of arrangement etc… Though I am the songwriter in the band, it isn't the process of the writing that inspires me most, it is the vision of how it might sound when it is eventually written and recorded.

Sam (drummer) often uses his influences creatively in his drum parts, and he's great at that. He'll be coming up with e.g. Frank Zappa or Buddy Rich references, in order to bring as much to his drum part as possible. I'll often reply with, "How about just doing a simple boom chick!" which will standardise and centralise things somewhat, and might fuck him off a little! I'm often more interested in just getting the song across, and it’s the meeting in the middle that becomes the sound of the band and makes it more interesting.

2. Why "My Luminaries?" Why did you choose that name?

I liked the word 'Luminaries,' or 'Luminaire,' the way it sounded and its double meaning, in the visual and academic sense. We formed when there was a horrible abundance of 'The' bands in the media, so we wanted to steer away from being 'The' Luminaries. My Luminaries was suggested by Dylan (ex guitarist). It's been called an awful moniker in the odd review, and sloppy promoters still spell it as 'Luminaires' on posters, but on the whole its been a good name to us, however much of a mouthful it might be to some.

3. When the band sits down to write a song, what is the typical process?

Very occasionally we'll begin a song when in a rehearsal, and jam it with the intention of writing it totally democratically. But usually I'll write the bones of the song, chords, melody and lyric and as said above, I'll often have a vision of how it might end up sounding. We'll then bash it about, sculpting it towards this vision, but when it’s finished it will no doubt be different and a lot more satisfying than how I'd originally imagined. There are now five great musicians in the band, and everyone is so creative. It’s a great and very fortunate position to be in and I can't wait to make the next record with everyone involved.

(My Luminaries / Photographer: James Dean White)

4. It seems odd that your first full-length release was a live album, as opposed to a studio album. How did this come about and has it been to your advantage?

It was more of a money raiser to be honest, and to bridge a gap. It wasn't something that we were overly proud of, but we felt we had enough live recorded stuff to put something out. 50% of profits went towards the Jail Guitar Doors Campaign in Reading, so that we could buy musical instruments and software for inmates at Reading Young Offender's Institute. With the other 50% we bought a mandolin, which was used on the album. It was a pay what you want thing, and most people gave generously. It wasn't released officially, but gave us a chance to promote something while we strived to be in a position where we could be the band we wanted to be and afford to make our first studio album the way we wanted to. Otherwise we'd have been totally off the radar for two years.

5. Are you looking forward to playing at Glastonbury? Any chance of a North American Tour?

We can't wait to play Glastonbury! Being selected to play has been great for us, and we want to make sure it’s the start of a greater momentum. People seem to take you seriously when you say that you're playing Glastonbury. It’s quite an event. And we're glad we don't have to buy tickets this year!!

As soon as we can afford to come to North America, we'll be there! Don't you worry. And its people like yourselves that are gonna make a trip worthwhile. We probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for American music and its influence on us, and we're so excited about the prospect of playing to American audiences. We've heard great things about them. Until then!!

Keep up with My Luminaries at their MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.

Also, on 22 March 2010, “Parasol” will be available on all good online retailers.

Here is their video for “Welcome to the Family” from their Vimeo Channel: My Luminaries.

My Luminaries - Welcome To The Family from My Luminaries on Vimeo.

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