Luminous Crush 20 January 2016 on Rocket Shop
WORDS BY TOM PROCTOR. PHOTO by JAMES LOCKRIDGE.
Laura Molinelli and Ben Campbell of Luminous Crush joined host Brent Hallenbeck on 'Rocket Shop', Big Heavy World's local music radio hour on 105.9FM The Radiator. You can hear more from Luminous Crush at soundcloud.com/luminous-crush
Luminous Crush are nothing short of adorable, their songs, their personality and their overall vibe screams quirky-creative and they’ve brought this energy to every piece they’ve produced. Strumming out feel good dream pop, the duo mix talents and skills to create whimsical numbers that can vary from ukulele acoustic ditties to electronica rock, placing you in the clouds and dreaming of far away places.
Laura Molinelli and Ben Campbell joined us in the Big Heavy World studio to discuss their current direction, Ben’s tendency to demolish tracks and why this music just make them feel like kids with something special to show off:
Tom Proctor: You guys have a mix of sounds, from pop to rock to electronic, do you guys see yourself gravitating towards a certain style?
Ben Campbell: It’s a constant search to find our voice at this moment. We went through a period half a year ago where we got a drummer and keyboard player to flesh out a full rock band sound. It didn't work in the end due to other commitments so we stripped it back down to us two.
Laura Molinelli: I think we needed to do that anyway, we needed to go back and find out what we wanted to aim towards. At the start we didn't know what we wanted and we just thrashed around trying all sorts of stuff. I usually write for acoustic instruments, but we’ve been trying out new things. I’ve just started trying out the ukulele which has been really cool as i've never played uke before, it's opened up a whole different world of sounds. With Ben's electronic background and his ability to produce we took the simple two chord strumming of ukulele tracks and built them up. I love the mix of the acoustic and the electronic, thats where we want to go.
TP: You guys only formed last year, but your gigging a lot already and got a number of tour dates coming up. What have you done to get your sounds out there?
BC: Laura’s been diligent in reaching out and marketing. She’s our publicist and booker as well as our song writer.
LM: I’m really confident in our sound. It’s unique but very familiar, it doesn't copy anything but you can recognize the style. I feel really good about it so that gives me a lot of confidence when contacting clubs and venues.
TP: You almost sound surprised at the connection you've made with this music.
LM: You do get surprised, sometimes I just think “wow, we sound good”. We really do like it and so we just want to share it, we feel like children showing people our favorite thing.
TP: How do you record your songs, do you have your own studio or do you have a space you like to frequent to record?
BC: Just DIY. I have a mic set up in my living room I use recording software and I have a cool input device that allows us to record eight tracks simultaneously. We’ve never pushed it to its limit though, it's usually just one microphone and sometimes we’ll sing together to get the harmonies tight, but really I just build on what we have.
TP: Does it all happen at once, start with a blank page and end with a track?
LM: We usually bring a half baked idea or parts of a song and then we’ll collaborate and flesh it out. I’ll go away and Ben will work his magic, I can come back to it and it’ll be a totally different song but I always love it. I’ve been a fan of Ben's music for a long time, before we started playing, I love his style and his sounds.
BC: Laura wrote one track called ‘The Old Song’ on the ukulele, a three or four chord number, She came to the studio and riffed along to a track I had playing and sang along. Then she left, I donned the headphones and completely demolished what she had created (laughs.) I took out the ukulele track left her voice in and made it totally different, totally psychedelic it was great (laughs). Laura brings the kernel of the idea and then I work with it.
TP: So are you guys gearing up to create an album, is that the end goal for the moment?
BC: Yeah, we’re about two thirds the way through it at the moment, we’re going for a full length LP all original songs. The sounds will be consistent as an album but each track will have a little something that's unique about it.
LM: The tracks really seem to work well together. I've made albums before and it almost feels that we slapped on songs just to make a collection, where as this one feels really organic. This feels like a real album, you have to sit down and listen to the whole thing. As you can tell we’re pretty pleased with ourselves.
TP: You come from bands prior to this so you've played with a lot of different musicians. Is there anyone you would really like to work with that you feel would contribute to the sounds you’re creating at the moment?
BC: Well I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for Michael Chorney and the music that he makes. I love his music as well as his overall outlook and personality. He’s a musical genius so even having him as an advisor would be incredible. He's helped me with mixes before and offered encouragement so that's been fantastic.
LM: Neko Case would be a great person to work with. She doesn't know me but I’d love to work with her. I almost did an album with her producer a couple of years ago but that unfortunately that fell through. Maybe one day (laughs.)
TP: You’ve crowdsourced to get funding for your masters tapes. Hows that campaign going?
BC: Well we started an indiegogo account to get it started but it’s just sitting there and not doing much at the moment.
LM: It’s a lot of work, people have managers and what not to sort this out so doing all the promotion on your own is somewhat exhausting. We also feel that people are somewhat tapped at the moment in terms of crowdsourcing and asking for people for money. A folk duo that are friends of ours made a pretty successful campaign but we’ve been a bit annoyed lately as they keep posting pictures from around the world, eating delicious food and we know we’ve paid for it all (laughs.) Are you guys playing music or are you guys just going around Europe eating on our tab?!