|From Left: Alex Kerns, Max Gregor & Sheena Ozzella|
One of my favorite records from last year was The Distance Is So Big from Buffalo-based indie rock trio Lemuria. It encompasses all of the infectious components of their past efforts, but for me, as a whole this collection of songs features the band at their absolute finest. Yes, I have evidence to back up this claim. Check out “Brilliant Dancer” (if you haven’t already):
Although their latest record is a little over a year old, the band is touring away, as they always seem to be. In 2014 alone, they have extensively toured the United States as well as Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines. That’s almost certainly enough to warrant their own show on The Travel Channel. In addition to those fine destinations, Lemuria will be making a stop in Louisville this Monday night at Zanzabar. To get you hyped about the show, drummer/singer Alex Kerns was kind enough to have a short conversation about the new record, the writing process behind it, as well as a few other tasty morsels..
Never Nervous: Your latest record The Distance Is So Big has been out for about a year now. While it still has a fresh, new feel to it, are there plans for another album in the future?
Alex Kerns: Definitely. Right now we have about 5 songs demoed. Since we have been very busy with touring all summer, we are going to set aside some time in the fall to work on new songs. I’m hoping that we are back in the studio before the end of 2015.
NN: Is there a particular song-writing process with Lemuria? Is it a collective effort?
AK: Every song is written differently. Some songs start with a guitar idea, some start with a vocal idea, some with a drum idea. Each of us present different ideas and we’ll eventually collectively put it together. There are some songs that I wrote entirely, and some songs that Sheena wrote entirely. But for the most part we collaborate as a collective.
NN: How would you describe your band to someone that hasn’t heard you?
AK: As vague of a genre class as it is, I usually say “indie rock”. But that means so many different things. The band of course has punk roots as well. But it would be best to say that we grew up listening to a lot of bands on Matador, Merge and Lookout! Records.
NN: It seems that Lemuria is always on tour. Any interesting tour-related stories you’d care to share?
AK: We tour about 3 to 4 months of the year. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a lot less if we are in the process of writing and recording. We have many stories from dealing with a few neo-nazis in Milwaukee, to gangs of neo-nazi’s attacking folks at shows that we played in Russia. We’ve been somewhat regulated by by Sharia Law at shows we have played on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. So far it’s been a pretty wild ride for us all.
NN: You’ve played some pretty big venues, and some pretty small ones also. What kind of show do you personally prefer? How does the connection to your audience differ?
AK: There are pros and cons to both. I love the intimacy of a small show. We’ve played so many house shows over the years. It’s great when there is nothing separating you from the crowd. But I also enjoy really large clubs as well with great sound systems. Because it’s fun to hear everything blast at it’s full potential through the speakers and making it so that the audience can hear some of the more subtle dynamics. Ultimately, I feel privileged to be able to roll into any venue and set up and play to people.
NN: Having come from Buffalo’s hardcore scene, talk about a band or two from New York that folks in Louisville haven’t heard of, but should check out.
AK: Unwelcome Guests are a very good Replacements-esque band from Buffalo that I think people should check out. Mallwalkers is also a great band, and they just released their first album on Buffalo based label Peterwalkee Records.
NN: Would you rather see more Star Wars sequels, Indiana Jones sequels, or neither? Or fucking both?!
AK: I’m optimistic about the Star Wars sequels because I think JJ Abrams has been doing a good job with the Star Trek ones. Although, I am very disappointed that the story is going to be deviating from the books that were published over the years that were supposed to be post “Return of the Jedi”. “The Truce at Bakura” and “The Courtship of Princess Leiah“, which went onto a planet full of domesticated rancor beast, would make great movies. I love Indiana Jones movies, but I’m not sure if I would enjoy them too much if Harrison Ford wasn’t starring in them. Anyway, I’m sure you didn’t expect this answer to get that nerdy, so I’ll stop now.
NN: What are your favorite albums of 2014 so far?
AK: We just got off of tour with The Menzingers, PUP and Cayetana who all just released albums this year. After 40 days of traveling with those bands and hearing those songs every night and I only like the songs more than I did before the tour instead of being sick of the songs. So I would say that everyone should go check out their tunes. Great bands, great people!
NN: Before you go, give the folks in Louisville one good reason to come see you perform at Zanzabar.
AK: Because if they come up to me and ask me for a super secret tiny gift, I will give them one.