What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
David (Vocals/Guitar/Tech): St Lucifer is (and always has been) a dynamic, potent and at times rather combustible mix of personalities/ideas and influences!
When we first started (back in 2015) it had been quite a while since I’d played in an actual band (plenty of studio projects, production, running labels/club nights/you name it) but I really felt I’d lost sight of that visceral thrill which can only come from going out as a proper gang and playing loud/energetic original pop music.
I guess the other driver was about attempting the impossible task of distilling every musical/cultural influence we had into concise blasts of pop energy – hence the (slightly self effacing) ‘BlackMetalGayDisco’ description of our sound.
Clearly we were never going to manage *quite* that level of alchemy trying to force prog, techno, metal, beat poetry, musique concrete and electro-punk into 3 minute pop songs, but we’re now onto our 3rd LP of trying (4 if you count ‘Biphoria’ – last year’s double-compilation of b-sides/rarities and remixes) and we’re still having plenty of fun.
The current line-up is myself + Alice (who has been behind the kit since the release of 2018’s ‘Music Is Violence’), Ashleigh (who we’ve known since we toured with her other band ded.pixel early on) and Amy (who – among other things – makes music as Still Forever and SØTUL.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Alice (Drums/Vocals): The ‘plan’ for 2020 was pretty straightforward – and involved going on tour with our friends Caffeine Kill, playing some festival dates and gently working our way up to some 3rd album demos.
Obviously COVID-19 has, ahem ‘disrupted’ this thinking somewhat – so, like many other acts we dug ourselves in for the long haul and began writing/recording new material in earnest (initially using Dropbox, Zoom and our own home recording set ups).
Although we’re obviously gutted about postponed gigs/the chance to get out play and meet people we really feel we’re turned the situation into a positive – making a record which matches the ‘4 people on the same mission’ direct-energy of the first LP with the widescreen ambition of ‘Music Is Violence’.
David: All of us have really put the hours in on this one – and I really feel it shows in the ‘craftsmanship’ of the songs, arrangements and production.
Amy (Vocals/Nefarious Tech): It just sounds a million times BIGGER than anything the band has done before – focused, exciting and (if it doesn’t sound too forthright) HOOKS TO DIE FOR.
In terms of some (exclusive) detail – we can reveal that the album is called ‘Deathcrush Palare’, features 10 tracks and includes songs called ‘The God Complex’, ‘Pronouns’, ‘Backsliding’ and ‘Hellbound for Nova Scotia’.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
David: Wow. BIG question. I mean, as I said before it really is a huge, ever revolving melting pot of ideas and reference points. However, for this particular album I’d say it leans more into the weirder punk end of things (Butthole Surfers/Melvins etc) than it does some of the more metal stuff on ‘Music Is Violence’. The bass is a lot more prominent (Ashleigh brings a really different style with her 5-string melodic riffage) while we’ve deliberately tried to make an album that’s less introspective and a lot more outward looking – in terms of writing about the world around us rather than the depths of the bell jar (which is what, for better or worse – inspired a lot of the last record).
Ashleigh (Bass/Vocals): In terms of reference points, I’m reliably informed that the opening track tips its hat to the Pet Shop Boys, Pop Will Eat Itself, Against Me! and Refused – which is not bad considering it only lasts for 2 minutes, 36 seconds!
From here you’ve got Daft Punk/Machine Funk, Holy-Bible-era Manic Street Preachers, huge-motorik Krautrock blasts of noise, a ‘state of the US’ electro rant (sung by Amy) and then a whole run of tracks which involve (yes you read this correctly) harpsichords, acoustic guitars and at one point an entire (multi-tracked in lockdown) choir of angels.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Alice: You should listen to our music because… we’re genuinely really a) good and b) don’t sound like any other band (at least not for more than around 4 seconds).
David: To invert the question slightly, I’d say that ‘genre-defying’ is kind of the point of St Lucifer – it is (by definition) a band of extremes.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Ashleigh: REM – Automatic for the People, Slaughterhouse-5 – Kurt Vonnegut, Dr. Strangelove.
Amy: Coil – The Ape of Naples, Fight Club, Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti
David: (I hate these questions – far too many to choose from and it’ll inevitably change next week) – but if we’re going for consistent ‘keepers’ I’ll go…. New Order – Substance 1987, Douglas Adams – The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, Three Colours Blue (or possibly White, or even Red).
Alice: (disappears off to work mumbling something about NOFX and ‘Industrial Action for Dummies’.)
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Amy: They’re two rather different beasts, and I’m not sure you can fairly compare them as such. There’s lots I love about both, and equally, there’s things I definitely don’t love about each of them. In terms of studio work, you’re always striving to produce the neatest version of what you’re doing, the ideal – your best performance, your moment in time. Live performance is structured differently, and although you put in hours of rehearsal time, you’re unlikely to ever play something exactly the same way every time. Nor, I think, should you. I do feel that to a certain extent, a performance should be just that. If you’re spending every moment worrying about getting everything absolutely perfect, then it’s not going to be much fun for you, or indeed for the audience, and if you’re not enjoying yourself, what’s the point? There should be a few surprises.
David: What Amy said – kind of chalk and cheese really. Personally, I enjoy both for different reasons: this year however, has been a bit of a challenge on that front! Still – we’ve still managed to play live (pre-recorded in the studio) 3 times – including headlining Trans-Pride Brighton – which is not bad going in the middle of a nationwide lockdown!
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Amy: Well, there’s certainly a bit of an ‘origin’ story to be told, although it already reads like ‘War and Peace’ directed by Stanley Kubrick and we’re only onto album 3…
Ashleigh: We’ve got a few to be honest, but probably the only one we could really tell you about without being arrested for indecency is the night (part of) the current line up first met each other in Leeds.
St Lucifer were playing as part of a tour – and Ashleigh’s other band were on the same bill.
Amy, who was in the audience for the gig, propositioned a rather startled Ashleigh, and was politely declined. Not wishing to be deterred, Amy cheerfully switched targets and threw herself at David instead. On top of which the gig was a really memorable one and now we’re all in a band together!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Amy: For me, it’d be the closing track on the new album. Without giving too much away, I think it’s going to raise an eyebrow or two, and I think it’s something that is very much indicative of this specific lineup, and the way in which we work, creatively speaking.
David: I’m going to go with Amy’s answer here because I don’t even know where to start – the new album is definitely the most unique set of songs we’ve done to date.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
David: Easy one – record something and release it. Specifically 2x 4-track EPS (the first of which ‘FutureNoisePsychology’ is out in October – and features ‘Sirens’ (the one with the lovely video that this interview relates to).
There’s then a 2nd EP (‘Casanova’) with another 4 tracks before we release the album proper in early 2021.
The ‘live performance’ front largely hinges on whenever/if ever we emerge from lockdown – however, we’ve got a whole load of tour/festival dates which have been rescheduled for next year (and are hopeful will happen) – while in the meantime we’re busying ourselves trying to work out more innovative ways to play the new material within the current restrictions.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Finally, can you tell us about your experience of writing an album in lockdown?
David: It’s certainly had its challenges. In some ways, it’s been simpler since we’ve only had that to focus on, as opposed to fitting it in between rehearsals and live dates. On the other hand, those same things have produced their own difficulties, in that we’d usually have rehearsed and performed a lot of the tracks live before committing them to a release.
Amy: Early on, we managed to get equipment to Ashleigh and Alice, to allow them to record high quality parts, which were then uploaded for David to put together with the recordings we’d been doing ourselves. It’s certainly made us grateful for the various advances in technology over the past few years!
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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