Lendway to Perform at SOUND PROOF Showcase this Saturday

lendway Words by Sarah Frazier.

I think it’s important to do some research before running my mouth off about something that I’m not really familiar with. Lendway was the first of the four bands I sampled that will be playing at the launch party for Big Heavy World’s Sound Proof photography exhibit taking place Saturday, October 15th at the Magic Hat Brewing Company.

One of the songs I sampled, "Pokeberry," introduced me to the folksy pop melodies of Lendway. A mix of upbeat guitar strums and heavy bass instrumentals, coupled with the angelic and demanding vocals of Mike Clifford alongside lead guitar Matt Hagen, bass player Kevin Lynam, and drums Todd Gevry, creates the folk rock/pop sound of the quartet called Lendway.

Lendway was more than eager to be part of the event this October at Magic Hat, as band member Michael explains, “Magic Hat throws some amazing parties and I’ve always wanted to play at one so, when they asked I immediately said yes.”  A lot of the members have close ties to Burlington and love being a part of the atmosphere.

“There is a strong family network of musicians here. It is great to share the stage with our friends from other local bands,” says bass player Kevin. The other members of the band also shared similar mentalities: Todd - “Being a native Vermonter, Burlington was the first local music scene that I was drawn to. There have always been great bands coming to here to play. Burlington just feels like home to me!” Matt - “Burlington just seems like it's the natural hub of the state. It's very easy to live and play here. We are very comfortable here doing what we are doing.” Michael - “Burlington really seems to give everyone a shot too.  No matter how big or small you are there’s always a stage waiting for you.”

It’s easy to see that the band has bonded over the years. They originally met at Johnson State College, where these educated boys got together through their musical appreciations. “There,” says Matt, “we crafted great friendships along with musical relationships. It just so happened that after a couple years of going separate ways, we found ourselves all together again playing new music with each other in Burlington.” It was through this strong connection that the band formed and began combining their talents. “I knew these guys could sing,” Michael says, “That sealed the deal for me.”

With a variety of influences ranging from Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, to genres such as chamber pop, sonic soundscapes and industrial music, the band has a lot to look up to. Coming back to their own sound, member Todd adds, “Vocal harmony has always been an obsession of mine so naturally if I can create that sound with like-minded musicians I will do everything in my power to make that happen.” It seems that the conversions of influences have really helped develop the band’s overall sound. From sound to lyrics, Matt and Michael share the responsibility of helping craft the narrative behind the backdrop.

Individually I was very turned on by their answers about how lyrical inspiration reaches them both. For Matt, it often comes first with, “singing gibberish or whatever the first thing my mouth physically wants to let me say. Basically for structure and melodic purposes. From there I latch on to one strong line or theme and run with it. They will mostly come back to instances that may or may not be influenced by my own experiences. It becomes very introspective and interpretive.”

Michael’s responses differ from Matt in terms of lyrical stimulation. For Michael it tends more to come more from his own experiences. “All the different characters and situations create an endless pool of inspiration,” says Michael. While inspiration from lyrics may differ, the process for both remains the same, “When it comes to putting it all together in song, I think I have a very similar process to Matt.” They start with a tune that seems attractive and then latch the narrative onto that.

When speaking of their newest album, 'Giant Places' and their previous, 'The Low Red End,' the band discussed how the two differ from each other. Michael explains that the first album was a collection of songs that were written previously by Matt and him before the formation of the band. Michael explains further that, “Once we formed, we learned and recorded the songs while not really knowing just how to perform them. 'Giant Places' is essentially a continuation of 'The Low Red End,' only the songs were written for the band and we learned how to perform them live before stepping into the studio.”

For band member Kevin, he believes the newest album is another step forward in developing the band’s overall sound, “I feel the overall sound is strong and rewarding.” Fellow member Todd goes even further in describing the sound by talking about his own part as the drummer, “The drums were recorded very similarly. There were more percussion overdubs on the first record. I felt like the new record didn't need as much percussion this time around because the nature of the songs and the drum tracks seem to hold more ground on 'Giant Places.' A lot of the focus was on the vocals and the neat little "science fiction" guitar overdubs that sound really cool when listening with headphones - we call it "ear candy." Overall, it was just as fun as recording the first album!” That’s what it is all about though right? The fun and adrenaline that you get from that creative innovation.

Lendway is harmonic band with folksy undertones that are sure to please the crowd at this Saturday's SOUND PROOF SHOWCASE at Magic Hat, supporting Big Heavy World’s Matthew Thorsen photography exhibit. Come see great photography of local Vermont bands while enjoying some awesome BBQ and brewery tours.