Comprised of six songwriters from varying creative backgrounds, Lurch & Chief have developed an intricate and dynamic sound. Showcasing a mix of influences – ranging from 60s garage-surf to 90s influenced grunge to psychedelic jams and indie dance floor fillers – 2013 is looking like a promising year for the Melbourne six-piece. We chatted to bassist Josh Lane about the blues, the Melbourne music scene and TripleJUnearthed.
By Meghan Player
To kick things off – how did the band start out/what brought you all together?
It started out with Hayden, Alex and Renno jamming on some song ideas that Hayds and Alex had been kicking about with. From there it just kind of snowballed into where we’re at today. The idea of not really having any boundaries to the type of music that we make and just having a fun, chilled out time brought everyone together. The fact that we work so well together and it clicked for us musically is definitely what made us all decide to stay.
Had you each been in bands previously?
More or less, yeah. I’d been in bands and playing music in some form since I was about 14 and had been in another project with Hayden and Alex before we got Lurch kicking. Brendan played in a couple of bands before he moved down to Melbourne from Canberra, and Lil’s been performing in some form or another since she was 15. Nothing too serious though.
As a six-piece, you must have a varied range of influences when it comes to the sound of the band – who are some of the biggest influences?
There’s definitely a huge range of influences. It’s really cool because we all have pretty different tastes, but meet in the middle and agree on a lot of music within that. Brendan is the biggest fan of Tame Impala that you’ll ever come across, and that whole psychedelic influence is pretty apparent in some of the sounds he gets from his effects – particularly in our live show. Other things we all dig really covers everything from The xx to Grimes to The Kills, and of course all of the early stuff, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Floyd, etc. There’s just a whole lot of music that we dig and are influenced by.
There is a kind of dirty blues/rock vibe – especially in your new single, ‘I’ll Meet You On Planet Z‘ – is this a sound/style that you are looking to develop in the future?
That’s kind of just how that song turned out when we were writing it. Odds are that there will be other songs that go in that direction at some point, but we don’t really sit down and decide to write a certain style. Most of our songs tend to come from huge improv jam sessions that we record and then refine down a week or so later – which can be pretty weird and fit just about any style depending on what we’re listening to at the time. So it’s hard to say if we’ll keep coming up with stuff like Planet Z moving forward. It’s mega fun to play though, so odds are something similar will pop up eventually.
Melbourne has a thriving music scene at the moment – with some of the best bands in the country calling it home – are there any local acts that have caught your attention recently?
Yeah, there are a lot of great bands kicking about Melbourne at the moment. We all really dig King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, they’re great. Apes are another sick band, as are Atolls, Kingswood, Snakadaktal, Money For Rope and so many more, it’s a really cool scene we’ve got going on at the moment.
TripleJUnearthed has become a great platform for unsigned musicians such as yourselves to get your music out there – would you recommend this “tool” to other local musicians? Is it sometimes hard to make yourself stand out among so many other acts?
Yeah, I’d definitely recommend Unearthed to any and all local musicians. It certainly wouldn’t hurt anyone to have their music up there where triple j presenters and other industry folk can check out their music in a format that they’re familiar with. It can be kind of hard to stand out from the crowd, but I think it’s just important to always keep it fresh & up to date. If they see that there’s constant activity going on there, then eventually someone will go and have a look.
You played your first show in May of this year – what has the band learnt since then? How have your live sets developed?
We’ve all become a lot more familiar with each other on stage and kind of come into our own a bit in terms of the live ‘performance’ aspect. Not that it was ever overly awkward or clunky or anything, but we’ve kind of hit our groove and are getting a lot more comfortable on stage. Our sets have started to incorporate things like jams at the end of songs, or to link a couple of songs together, instead of just song after song. The way that we structure the set flows a lot better too, I think. Just all of the usual stuff that comes with playing in a band for a while.
How would you sum up your year?
It’s been absolutely crazy. A lot bigger than we could have anticipated, but we’re loving every minute of it and are definitely going to keep pushing it as far as it can go. Everything that happened with getting to play at Harvest, gigging interstate, and some of the crowd sizes that we’ve been playing to locally have been absolutely nuts. It’s been great.
Where is the best place to check out your music?
Either www.lurchandchief.com, our unearthed profile or our Facebook, where we always post about any new releases.
What are your plans for 2013?
We’re going to be releasing a new EP in the first half of 2013, with the first single looking to be released around late Feb/early March. We’ll be touring a lot, get to play at Push Over Festival with a bunch of great local bands, and have a bunch of exciting shows that we’re announcing over the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for news there.
Many thanks to Josh for taking the time to chat to us.
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