|Photo by Claire Gunville|
Portland-based noise pop trio Lubec delivers a sound that is both blissful and chaotic. Their ability to create a visceral pop song through angular guitar lines, showers of fuzz and crashing drums is nothing short of impressive. They ensnared our hearts with their debut LP, The Thrall, in 2014. The equally exciting follow up, Cosmic Debt, was one of our favorite albums of 2016. We couldn’t be happier to share with you the following interview with Eddie Charlton, guitarist and vocalist of the endlessly delightful project Lubec.
Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc.)?
Eddie: We’re going to be playing up in Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle in April and then the East Coast in July. We’ve toured the East Coast before and it was spectacular and this time I’d really love to work a bit with our label, Disposable America – they’re positive and active in the DIY scene in the Northeast. It will be really fun.
Also, we’re recording a set of songs for a new EP that will hopefully be out in time for that tour. We’re going to be working with our buddy Dylan Wall again. He produced our last album and I’m excited to hear what comes of that.
Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
Eddie: While I don’t think we actively attempt to define ourselves within any genre too much, it’s cool to be a part of that scene. I like it all! I’m just not sure how much we ever think about them outside of just doing “our thing.” I was heavily influenced by the mid-Atlantic DIY dream pop scene of the early 90s, even though I never experienced it directly. And, even then, many of those bands sort of stubbornly challenged the genre with American punk and lo-fi influences – artists like The Swirlies, Lilys, Lorelei and Black Tambourine led the way for me.
I had sort of thought that maybe shoegaze and dream pop were on their way out in Portland, and I think we were content to keep doing what we do while playing with rad punk bands and stuff, but lately there has been a swell of new talent here, many of whom are also our friends (Two Moons, Helens, Alien Boy, Clovver and more) so…who knows? I’d love to see it have a new moment and to be a part of it. I’m proud and impressed by our local DIY/all-ages scene these days.
What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?
Eddie: I’ve liked seeing more post-hardcore/emo type bands like Pity Sex, Title Fight and others adopt parts of the sound. I’m always searching for obscure ambient and drone tapes, too, which I really love and I hope can come to be more a part of the general DIY zeitgeist and conversation. I’m ready for ambient and drone to be the new punk and for the two to mingle more. By far my favorite more traditional shoegaze/dream pop release of the past few years would be Hands by Reighnbeau. It’s such a modernly alluring and mysterious album. Their new album Blood is also really special in its own way. I’ve also been bumping Return by Blue Smiley and I just saw Never Young live the other night and they played a lot of material from their upcoming album and I think it’s going to be really special.
What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?
Eddie: In terms of guitar sound, I mostly just kind of hear what I want in my head and try to get it there with my playing and tone. I don’t actually know that much about pedals and amps beyond instinct and what little I’ve learned over time. I play a Stratocaster with a Fender amp that I really like and use an analog vintage delay modeler every now and then. I also have a Big Muff for the appropriate moments. I think a lot of our specific sound revolves around the treatment of Caroline’s piano and then the ways in which all three of us operate as a unit in the arrangement.
What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?
Eddie: Our process has evolved. We’ve ranged from recording at home, to punk studios to professional studios. I would recommend that an artist always trust their instinct and whatever makes them feel comfortable enough to work properly. It’s always and forever an education. Each of our releases has been a challenge to our process, and with the newest album we recorded it mostly live in a studio with Dylan. I know he used Pro Tools for tracking, but beyond that I think it was a whole lot of outboard gear – tubes, pre-amps and analog stuff.
How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway. How do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?
Eddie: It seems like it is still in a lot of flux. I think the change has taken away the ability to really survive financially until you hit a certain level, but it also exposes a lot of the world to all sorts of artists and people can connect way easier. As someone who has never made music for money or had anything to lose, I think it’s probably way better than it’s ever been for the most part.
When it comes to label releases versus DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?
Eddie: I like it the most when labels fully use and exploit all the distribution and media of the internet while still releasing something physical. Seems like the best way forward to me, though I know it’s harder and harder to maintain any profit. I pretty firmly believe that Bandcamp is the best thing to happen to music in at least the past decade.
Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or MP3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
Eddie: I like the sound of vinyl and the cost-effectiveness of cassettes. We must have a pretty strong feeling for both, seeing as our house is overflowing with them. I do really hope that The Thrall and Cosmic Debt can one day be on vinyl as that is certainly what they were recorded for.
Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc.)?
Eddie: Adam Curtis BBC documentaries, all the way. Also, in terms of music, I’ve really only recently discovered the work of Glenn Branca, who is definitely the arch-shoegazer if there ever was one. He’s very inspiring in terms of chordings, which are my favorite part about writing and arranging.
If you had to choose one track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?
Eddie: It’s both a blessing and a curse to say that I definitely can’t. It seems to be all over the place in terms of what people prefer. “Sunburn!” has probably stayed in our sets longer than any other track, for what it’s worth.
What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
Eddie: Oh jeez, I could spend more than an hour talking about only life philosophies! But, in terms of music, I am of the firm belief that the only things that really matter are the quality of the songs and friends.