With a sound as eclectic as the themes within its imagination driven walls, Vancouver hailing Lucid AfterLife has earned loyal attention and support at home and across a global landscape. Renowned as one of Canada’s more impressive and memorable live propositions, the progressive groove rockers are luring bigger spotlights their way with their new EP, the successor to their well-received debut album I Am, expected to spring a new wave of invention hungry fans the way of the quartet. We recently had the pleasure to find out more about the band, that upcoming EP, and the creative heart of Lucid AfterLife with guitarist Thom Turner…
Hello and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.
Hello, Thom from Lucid AfterLife here. Thank you so much for having us!
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
In the beginning our vocalist Nat Jack was floating through the aether contemplating the purpose and form of existence. He then came upon our drummer Matt. The two of them forged a great alliance. From this union a great universe was born. It was one of never ending inspiration and possibilities. To round out this vision myself, Thom, and our bassist Miles were sought. Together we are take these rough shapes and turn them into the most honest and kick ass songs that we can.
Have you been or are any of you involved in other bands? If so have they had any impact on what you are doing now, inspiring a change of style or direction maybe?
I am a current member of the band Freya as well as being a professional musician for the last 15 years. I have played in numerous groups. The work ethic and attention to artistry that I got from that band is immense. Sonically they are very different. Miles is a member of Riftwalker and Hallux. Matt has played with many groups as well. As for Nat Jack…He simply is. All of us take our experience and add it to everything we do. That is one of the best things about LAL. Genre does not factor in. Whatever mood serves the lyric or vibe is what it needs to be.
What inspired the band name?
As a group we feel that reality is in an illusion…More than that it is malleable. Life, death they are merely shades on a continuum. So through our music we transcend. To be able to visualize and experience multiple levels of existence is. We can experience multiple worlds through our songs and live shows. That is what Lucid Afterlife means to me.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
There are always stories that come to us…things that may be inspired by every day. Some come from deeper more existential places. All of them are important to us. As we have toured we have been lucky to see that these topics hit home with so many people. So we continue to write them. As for the sound it is meant to be inclusive. To be the heaviest thing ever when the emotion is deep and powerful then, turn around and be very clean and melodic to represent another story or character is as honest as we can be.
Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?
Constant evolution…we are all about that. That said though most of the same principles are the corner stones of what LAL is. Relatable honest music that is served with all the energy we have live.
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
Since I was brought on I would say that the sound has evo-loved. We still love Sabbath and Monster Magnet. On top of that we explore our mutual love of progressive music. Things like Kansas and Yes and Porcupine Tree and Kings X. It adds a broader pallet to the stories we can tell. Really though it all comes down to the live show for us. Nat Jack is a wild man on stage and we push out the sound track for the listener’s experience.
Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
Extremely organic I believe. We work to service the songs that come out. Our sound is extremely diverse. Yet, when you hear it you know it is LAL. It all comes from that point of honesty in the lyric and music.
You mentioned some already but presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any others in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach to creating and playing music? As I said before Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Monster Magnet, Yes, Kansas, Porcupine Tree. Also Ministry, Cream, Dream Theater, Kings X, Hendrix, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, Body Count, MF Doom. Soooo much music goes into what we do. From rock to jazz to metal to Hip-Hop, it all moves us.
Does the band have a particular method to its songwriting?
We work in very brotherly way. I will write some things, pass them to Nat and a lyrical idea will usually pop out. From there Matt and I go to work on fleshing out an arrangement and Miles lays down the bass. So far it has been all hands on deck movement.
Where do lyrical inspirations more often than not come from?
Everyday life through the lens of existential global truths…A lot of our songs have to do with relationships. Not really with people per se, more archetypes. If we do a song that is very obviously about sex then you can bet it isn’t at all about sex. We like to lead people, through the parlance of our time to deeper truths.
Can you give us some background to your latest release?
Our new EP Occult Mafia Mistress is an opening salvo into what is coming next for LAL. With this line-up we have 4 great singers so we wanted to put that to use. Most songs really take advantage of all of us.
How about an insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs?
This record focuses on themes of transcendence. Be it through love, sex, meditation or sheer elation. They are explained in somewhat adversarial roles. Some characters and ideas want to hold you down from your potential. Others are the inner explorers rupturing out into being against that oppressive force. We are able to do this through the use of many styles and genres, from hip hop on a song like Time Killaz (feat. Merkulese) to the pure rock and roll of Retarded Owl, the voice of the song blends seamlessly with the lyric.
Are you a band entering the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
The frame of a song is all done by the time we get in there. Because we play the crap out of the songs live and see what goodness comes out. So when we get into the studio what happens is we add all the touches; layering and vocals. A record should be a piece of art unto itself. Music is ephemeral. It changes depending on your mood; where you listen to it, even through the course of the song. Then it is over. That time has passed. So when we are in there recording and mixing everything is fluid. What comes out is even more magical then what went in.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
Live we are a completely different band depending on Nat Jack. His mood and character shape our live performance…never the same thing twice. We reach out to the audience and invite them in…literally. They play with us. We feel that the live stage is a conversation so we go all out. We breakdown our bodies and minds while we are up there and show the people they can too. We do a lot of improv along with our normal songs as well. We ask the audience for suggestions on style and lyrical content. And we go at it…all within the confines of a normal set.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
With the internet EVERYTHING IS REGIONAL; we have many devoted fans and neighbors in BC. They are amazing and we love them. But, we also have some amazing fans all over the world just looking for the same stuff we are. The impact is right there. The days of $500,000 an album contracts are gone. We are out there just to make these connections…One person at a time. Art drives life; even if only one person listens to us and passes it onto one friend. That is growth and the conversation continues. As long as you are creating you are growing.
Do you see the internet and social media impact you mentioned destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or when or if it happens it is more that those bands have struggled to use it in the right way?
The internet is reality for many people. So ignorance on how to use it to your advantage doesn’t seem to make very much sense. Every tool is right there for you. It can be no different from handing a demo to a person on the street. As long as that person passes it on you are good. I really think it is a matter of perspective size. Many musicians hold themselves in light of Metallica and Sabbath and Kanye and Adele or whoever Enormous star. These standards can be so daunting that you quit creating. This is an atrocity. Look, did you know that Platinum albums are now 500,000 albums instead of 1,000,000? That proves that the old system is dying. That level of “success” is meaningless without a real connection with people. That is what the internet affords you…The ability to connect with THE WORLD. We all want to be able to make a living off what we love to do. But, that can’t be the end goal. We all have a world of art inside us and we owe it to ourselves and humanity to get it out there. So go into it with the goal of making great honest art, whatever that is and, people will take notice.
Once again Thom, a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
Myself (Thom) and all of LAL want to tell you and your readers that we are so thankful for you to be participating in all this with us. We are looking forward to meeting all of you. Remember to keep your head up and your mind open.
Occult Mafia Mistress is released digitally and on CD December 9th @ http://lucidafterlife1.bandcamp.com/
The RingMaster Review 15/11/2106
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