Northern Transmissions caught up with Mathieu Charbonneau of Montreal based The Luyas who have just released ‘Animator’ on Paper Bag Records in Canada and Dead Oceans in the U.S. Our chat with Mathieu explores elements that make the Luyas unique, from the use of the electric zither to the Serpentine inspired video ‘Fifty Fifty’.
NT: Your music has been described as retro futurist, can you elaborate a bit on this?
MC: Well, we have many retro keyboards and when we record we use a little magic box called the ‘space’ echo. Also, we have laser sounds on the song Earth Turner. We’re not huge fans of finding new genre names for what we do. Our influences are all over the map, and all very different for everyone in the band.
NT: The new album “Animator” sounds a bit more moodier then “Too Beautiful To Work”. Was it a difficult period for the band?
MC: It was very difficult for the band because we lost a close friend the first day of recording. But it was also a good time for the band creatively. We toured for 8 months in 2011 and got really comfortable playing with each other and the music was easily coming out in the studio.
NT: The album opens with”Montuno,” the song is nine minutes long. Why did you choose this track as the opener?
MC: I think this song is a perfect intro to Animator. After recording it, we knew it would end up as the first song on the record. Trying out different sequences for the final version, i don’t remember it being anywhere else in the record. It makes sense musically for us that its the opener, we hope it does for others.
NT: How did you get introduced to ‘The Moodswinger’ (Electric Zither)? I think you had one specifically designed for you.
MC: Jessie met the experimental luthier Yuri Landman in europe. The band Liars ordered an instrument from Yuri, he built them the moodswinger. Jessie’s is the moodswinger 2.
NT: What is it about the city of Montreal that continues to attract so many artists?
MC: Well, even though its going up every year, the rent is cheaper than most big cities in North America. That attracts artists. Also, there’s a lot of cool spaces close to where you want to be to create/rent/produce/put on shows/put up art etc. Now that there’s many artists that work here, the vibe is very creative and its stimulating.
NT: Tell me about the inspiration for the video for “Fifty Fifty’. It is quite unique, but there’s a real sense of sadness sadness to it.
MC: Its based on Lois Fuller’s dance Serpentine. Its also a superficial piece of randomness, and a collab with choreographer Katie Ward and video master Derrick Belcham. But i wasn’t involved in it, so not the best person to ask.
NT: Can you tell US five records which continue to influence you?
MC: Cass Mccombs A
Thelonius Monk Plays Duke Ellington
Talking Heads Remain in Light
Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin
Sandro Perri Like Hearts Swelling