An Interview With The Chicago-Based Trio LUME On Their Brand New Album ‘Wrung Out’ and More!
Posted On 26 Apr 2018
Meet the Chicago based trio, Lume!
On April 20th, they released their full-length album with Equal Vision Records called “Wrung Out.” “Unending” and “Keep Me Under” were the two singles released ahead of time from this collection.
“Keep Me Under”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwWVgzjyO0
When the band set out to write Wrung Out, they initially were inspired by the weight of societal pressures, but after the consecutive deaths of three friends in 2015, due to drug abuse and suicide, the writing process became a means of memoriam, catharsis and a sounding board for unanswered questions. While most of the songs on the record revolve around loss in some way, shape or form, “Unending” is one of the only songs on the record that’s specifically written from the point of view of one of the close friends the band lost in 2016. Vocalist Daniel Butler describes the song as, “essentially me trying to put myself into their headspace of mentally/physically not being able to feel anything, hear what anyone has to say, or see the worth of your own life, or others’ presence in your own life and feeling guilty that those incapabilities have led to not being able to be there for the people you care about.”
With Wrung Out approaching these central themes from so many different angles, it was important that the band emphasize the individuality of each song. The band turned to Mike Watts (Glassjaw, Dilinger Escape Plan, O’Brother) to produce the record and help guide them as they expanded their sound. They also enlisted Johnny Dang (of o’Brother) and Spencer Ussery (of Big Jesus) to collaborate on several tracks; learning valuable lessons about crafting a song from both in the process. The result is a diverse collection of ethereal, heavy rock songs that owe as much to the bands they grew up on – such as Soundgarden and Radiohead – as they do to contemporary rock bands like Citizen, Chelsea Wolfe or Nothing. Lume continue to push themselves sonically, tour constantly, and now are preparing to share their carefully crafted album this Spring via Equal Vision Records.
Learn more about Lume in the following All Access interview:
How has being from Chicago influenced this band and the kind of music that you make today?
There are so many great artists of all genres in Chicago, it for sure influences us being surrounded by people creating art in all these different ways. Also, I feel like the level of creativity is so high, that is sets a bar for us. We sometimes play with amazing locals and leave thinking “Damn, we really need to step up our game, they were amazing”.
Let’s talk about your newest track “Unending” that was recently released. What was the inspiration for it? How do you this song and your previously released one prepare listeners for your forthcoming album, “Wrung Out”?
Unending was inspired by a close friend we lost to suicide in 2016. We actually lost three close friends while writing this record, two to suicide and one to an accidental overdose. I feel many people tend to ask themselves “why would someone do that?” and this song was our best guess at getting inside someone’s head in a depressive/mentally ill state. A lot of us go through depression and its a serious thing to deal with. I think the first single (Keep Me Under) is more of a middle of the road pace/vibe to our record while Unending is more of our softer side, and the newest single, Loss Leader, showcases more of our constant hard-hitting side. We hope that it will give people a good idea of how the record is shaped.
What was it like putting together “Wrung Out”? Did you find that it was more therapeutic then you expected it was going to be? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How did you go about choosing your producer and other musicians to be a part of it?
This record was written completely different than anything else we have done in the past. We wrote each song one by one over a long period of time. Which is the opposite of our first LP, which was entirely written and recorded within a three month period. With “Wrung Out” we were just focusing on how to make each track “the best it could be” instead of thinking of a full LP. It was a huge learning experience in writing, for better and for worse. We went with Mike Watts as a producer because he was highly recommended by our friend Anthony Gesa, and had worked on records that we really respect by bands like As Cities Burn, O’Brother, Glassjaw, etc. It ending up being a great choice because Mike introduced us to Equal Vision, and that is why we are here today. He was great to work with. He voiced his opinions on what we were doing and would give input without being pushy. Having never worked with a producer before, it was a great first experience. We also had Johnny Dang of O’Brother and Spencer Ussery of Big Jesus sit in on our second round of recording sessions for Wrung Out. Sometimes, with us being a three-piece and being so “in our own heads” it can be refreshing to bring some other musicians into the mix. Johnny was able to add some really cool atmospheric guitar parts to certain tracks, and Spencer has such a great ear for melody and harmony, and put down some amazing auxiliary vocals on the record.
Can you recall what it was like listening to it all for the first time?
I personally remember hearing the song “Unglued” mixed for the first time while sitting on the couch in Mike’s studio. The feeling that I had was unreal. That song in particular, just grabs me. I remember thinking “this is the sound that was in my head, I’m so glad we captured this on a record”. As far as listening to the record as a whole, we were most impressed with Mike’s work. The quality of recording and mixing is outstanding. We really have him to thank for that.
How do you think this album, your first collection with Equal Vision Records, is different or similar to anything else that you have put out before?
I think this is more of a “collection of songs” than it is a full front to back “piece of work,” partly because it was tracked in two different sessions. We went to Long Island for a week, recorded 8 songs and sent them to Equal Vision. They ended up signing us, then we went back for another week to do a few more tracks and touch ups. Johnny, Spencer and Mike all listened through the record with us countless times and helped us sequence everything out and decide which songs to keep and cut, which is also a completely different approach than we’ve taken in the past. Our last record was basically written as a cohesive piece where we knew the order of the songs well before we ever entered the studio.
Why do you think Equal Vision Records is the right place for you and your music today?
We fought with this question for months before signing with them. We had such a hard time making the desciion at first. We grew up on EVR, listening to bands like Bear Vs. Shark, Circa Survive, This Day Forward, etc. so we were so honored that they were even interested. However, we looked at their current lineup and thought “where do we fit in with these bands? Could we tour with any of them? Will people who follow this label even be interested in us?” I feel like we made the right choice, they’ve been so helpful and amazing to work with. I think the older crowd of EVR fans might be drawn back in with the direction we took this record. Anyone can put out their own record nowadays and be successful, with the right talent and choices. Having a team like EVR that has the history and experience really helps us understand what we want out of music and where we want to take this project in the future.
How do you all generally go about writing your music?
We typically start by just plugging in and jamming. We will hit a note and start to noodle around until a riff is made. Then from there, Dan usually takes that riff and adds lyrics/melody. The final step is all of us getting back together and shaping the song. There are other ways we write, but that seems to be the most common.
Do you have upcoming tour plans? Where can people see you perform live next?
We have a tour planned with the band REZN from Chicago, they’re incredible. We’ll be doing an East Coast run with them that goes from April 20th – May 5th. We’re also planning a West Coast tour for summertime where we’ll be linking up with several friends. More details on that soon.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I honestly think we are the happiest on tour. We love to travel. We built-out our van to have it basically be a home away from home. We have a stove, bunks, fridge — everything we need. There’s just something about waking up not knowing what you’re going to experience that day that keeps me wanting it to never end.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today? With everything going on in the world today, how do you think your music is a reflection of these times?
There’s a lot of negative things happening today with politics, media, conflict of religions — the list goes on. It feels so nice to be able to tune out of the negativity and tune into a world of music and community. There’s a time and place for all of those deep discussions, but we believe it’s okay to just enjoy life, and the comfort of loved ones. It can sometimes end sooner than you want it to.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Lately we have been down a rabbit hole of different influences. I feel like what makes our music the way it is, is that all three of us have some similarities in music, but also a lot of differences. I’ve been really into The Armed’s new singles, we also recently started jamming The Black Angels record “Directions To See A Ghost” on our last tour and fell in love with it. Radiohead, Kowloon Walled City and All Them Witches always seem to be on constant rotation in the van. We’d absolutely love to work any of those bands.
What advice would you give to a young band just getting started today?
Don’t let other bands and people shape the way you create art. Do what comes naturally. There are no rules. Experiment as much as possible. If you think you’re weird, its okay, there’s a ton of people out there who are also weird and will relate.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
Thank you for being interested in what we do. There’s a lot of static on the internet and we’re very grateful that you tuned into ours.