Friday 23 May 2014

Interview with L.M.I.

Today's guests début album was a very challenging one to review. As their blend of Stoner Metal, Hardcore and Punk Rock does take a while to get used do. But once it does you can't deny the sheer talent of this band.

I called their début album – Sleepwalker - “Now I should of said earlier of who produced this album as the album sounds superb through out. Philip Cope of Kylesa fame has produced this album. So it's good enough for Philip then it should be good enough for you to check these guys out. As L.M.I. are definitely worth checking out.

Sleepwalker is one very strange beast indeed. It will frustrate and entertain you in equal measure. If you want something different to check out then L.M.I. is the band for you.

An intense wild ride that you won't easily forget.”

So it's my pleasure to be talking to L.M.I. - a band with a lot of ideas and riffs to confuse the living hell out of you. But like I said, If it's good for Philip Cope then it's good enough for you all to check out. I decided to find more about L.M.I. And they have kindly agreed to do this interview.

Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.

No problem! Thanks for having me. I’m doing pretty well.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history on how the band started and where it is today.

The band really started in early 2010. Our bassist Brando and I had been jamming for a little while and we needed a drummer. I knew Kevin from another band he had previously played in and I asked if he wanted to jam with us and he said yes. That’s pretty much how things got started.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound as you pack a lot of different noises into the mix.

A kind of genre people have been calling us recently that I think is interesting is “Stoner Punk”. Normally when people ask me what kind of music we play I generally just say weird punk rock or something along those lines but I kind of like the term Stoner Punk.

Q4 – How did you become involved with music.

I have been playing music since I was 7 years old. The first instrument that I really practiced and learned how to play was the violin.

Q5 – What does L.M.I. Stand for. Any particular meaning behind it.

L.M.I. stands for Lazy Middle-Class Intellectuals. We got the name from a song by Bad Religion called “21st Century Digital Boy”. When we first started, Bad Religion was definitely a big influence on our band.

Q6 – So lets get talking about your new album. Sleepwalker. What a great album it is. Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for.

Thank you! And the writing process was more of a mixed bag. When we first started writing the album things seemed to be going smoothly and on time. But I’d say right around when we were getting close to finishing the record a lot of issues seemed to come up. But we worked through them and this record is a result of it.

Q7 – It's a very strange album especially with the different mix of sounds. Was that your intention to do something different compared to other bands.

Our band has a very wide range of influences so it wasn’t originally our intention to have a record that has a bunch of mixed sounds through out but it ended up coming out that way. To tell you truth when I was writing the majority of the record I thought our songs would sound too similar to the bands that influence me but as I played it for the rest of the band it was obvious that they didn’t think of it that way and once they put in their parts it really took on its own sound.

Q8 – How did you hook up with Philip Cope from Kylesa to produce your album.

I had emailed the studio that he worked at but never got a response. So I ended up messaging him on Facebook and we talked for a little while and I showed him our material and he liked it and agreed to produce our album.

Q9 – What sort of dynamic did he bring to your album. Did he offer any helpful advice.

He was very honest and a diligent hard working guy when it came to working in the studio and that had a positive impact on the record. Pretty much within the first few minutes of getting into the studio we setting everything up and began recording. If their was something that we played that he didn’t like or he thought didn’t fit the song he would come straight out and tell us that we needed to rework or rewrite whatever we were doing because it frankly sounded like shit haha. But I appreciated his input because he really told it like it was.

Q10 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album that stand out.

Like I was saying earlier it is really a wide range of bands and artists. But I’d say some bands that probably had the biggest impact on my writing and myself would be groups like Kylesa, Best Coast, Black Flag, Gallows, The Bronx, Hot Snakes, Converge, Cancer Bats and Unwound. There are tons of bands that influence us but these are the first that came to mind for me.

Sleepwalker cover art

Q11 – Love the album cover. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have with overall design.

John Santos did the artwork for the record. I’d say I had some input on the overall design but more so in the beginning rather later on. When Santos first began the sketches for the record he and I talked extensively about what the songs were really about the general themes of the record. I would explain to him what the songs were about and he would tell me ideas he had based on what I had explained to him and that’s really how it started. It was really bouncing ideas off of each other to get a general idea of what the visuals should be.

Q12 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

I would say it is a group collective. How it normally starts is I have some riffs that I show it to our drummer and after we jam with them for a bit the song is generally different than what I had originally written. After the drums are written I write the lyrics and our bassist writes his parts. Afterwards we come together with what we have and jam till it sounds really tight. There are also times where our bassist or drummer will have some riffs they wrote for a song but the process is generally the same.

Q13 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community been in promoting your music.

Well the album just came out this week so I haven’t really seen much support from the doom/sludge/stoner metal community. But we will try our best to spread the record around so people become aware of it. But having Bandcamp has definitely made things a lot easier for us. It is just nice to have a simple page where all that shows up is our music and no other distractions. It also makes it easier for us to send out our music to promoters and venues because it is simple and easy to use.

Q14 – What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

We have a pretty simple set up when it comes to playing live and recording. We all generally use the same set up for recording and live as well. I have a Fender Bandmaster head and 2x12 Fender cabinet that I use pretty much all of the time. Our bassist uses a Yamaha B100 2 head and an Ampeg BA115 as a cabinet. Our drummer has a mix of Tama hardware that he uses with his kit and all of his main cymbals are Paiste cymbals.

Q15 – We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you vinyl fans yourselves.

Absolutely! Yea we all collect vinyl and have been for a while now. It is definitely my preferred way of listening to music. We are fortunate enough to have a great record store near our area called Siren Records that has a pretty extensive vinyl collection. So it’s nice to be able to have somewhere close by that has a good selection of records that aren’t insanely expensive.

Q16 – Do you guys perform a lot of gigs in your home town or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We actually don’t play in our hometown very often. We normally try to travel further outside of where we live to play just because we primarily played in our hometown when we first started. I’d say we normally travel at least a few hours on a regular basis for shows. We also currently booking our east coast tour set for August as well.

Q18 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene. Where bands ask fans to fund their next album. Are you a fan of that platform. Would yourselves ever go down this route.

In some circumstances I can understand the crowd funding idea. The only real thing I think it works best for is if a band has an accident somewhere and they are in serious need of help to get back on the road. Their was a band from our area that had an incident happen like this, they got in a van accident while they were on tour in Europe and they were completely out money and basically stranded in the Czech Republic.

But because of crowd funding they were able to raise enough money to get home. That’s really the only time I think crowd funding is worth it. Other times I really think it makes a band not have to work as hard as they really should. A lot of the bands I see doing this easily have enough money to record their new record but they don’t feel like paying for it from their pockets so they try and get their fans to pay for it for them. I think fans really already do enough by supporting the bands and buying their records and it is kind of selfish to make them pay for the recording process as well. I would never use crowd funding for our own recording.

Q19 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Work hard and expect nothing in return. If you do this there is no way you can be disappointed with how things turn out.

Q20 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Thanks to everyone for checking out our new record and supporting us these past 4 years.

Well guys. Thanks for doing this. All the best with Sleepwalker.

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Written by Steve Howe