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14 September 2012

Interview: Eli Lhymn of 2 Hearts & Chemicals.

When The Sun Hits
Eli Lhymn
2 Hearts & Chemicals

How and when was the band formed?

I started 2 Hearts a few years ago, and got my good friend Stephen to join on for the first release, the Coming Home EP. I was playing in one of my favorite bands at the time, Helen Stellar, and once that band came to a close, I just needed to do things on my own terms, and that's when I started 2 Hearts and Chemicals. Now it's become a vehicle for all of my collaborations. Every 2 Hearts release will have a different cast of collaborators.

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)?

We're releasing our debut LP, titled True Soul this month. It's a long time coming! In the near future, there will be LA shows, with a brass and string section! Also, expect another EP later this year...

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?

I consider 2 Hearts to be a more electronic, cinematic thing, than a shoegazey sound. There are dream-pop aspects, but also a lot of string arrangements, and piano, etc. At the end of the day, it's just a sound that is nostalgic, cinematic, and lush. The shoegaze community has been really supportive of us!

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?

I tend to like shoegaze / dream pop bands that do it a little differently. More melody, different production, etc. Not afraid of hooks!

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

Alesis Quadraverb! I used to have this ridiculous effects rig, but now, all I need is a vintage Rat, 80's Ibanez chorus, and a Quadraverb.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?

There is no concrete process, other than following whatever is inspiring. Sometimes, it's a drum beat, or a guitar line, etc. I used to have this crazy stamina where I would work on the same idea forever, and never stop until it was “done” - but now I bounce around from song to song, and it's easier that way, and a lot more productive. For recording gear, there is too much to mention, but for me it all starts with an Apogee.

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?

Well...the days of buying music are coming to a quick close (incl Itunes). Subscription is most likely the future, like it or not. Spotify is showing itself to be a strong way to get your music out there to new fans (via apps, sharing playlists, etc.).

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

Labels are becoming more and more obsolete. Label services like marketing and tour booking are in the hands of the artist now. Labels for the most part are entirely useless. Bandcamp is great, and your true fans will buy your music.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

For the sake of ease, I prefer high-res mp3. Unless you grew up with vinyl and intrinsically know the sonic difference, there is no advantage to vinyl.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

Sigur Ros, Brian Eno, Ulrich Schnauss.

If you had to choose one 2 Hearts & Chemicals track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

I'd say the title track “True Soul” - it has a nostalgic feel, lots of guitars, synths, bombastic drums, and pop sensibility. I always love a good pop melody combined with interesting production.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

Family first.