I use the term "news" pretty loosely but a few things of interest regarding the lovely LEMURIA:
- they are playing The Fest
in Gainesville later this month
- they are currently WORKING ON A NEW RECORD! (more news on that coming soon)
- they just had a nice feature in UK's DIY Magazine. You can check it out copy/pasted below or here
Lemuria: The Lost Band
Sarah Jamieson talks to the best band you’ve (probably) never heard of, Lemuria.
It’s probably fair to suggest that you haven’t yet heard of Lemuria. Go on, Google them. We dare you. You still might not manage to unearth them. Instead you’ll be faced with endless image results of dated maps, and dictionary definitions for “the hypothetical ‘lost land’ variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.”
So, why you ask, should you even spare a second thought on this ‘lost band’? These days it’s almost impossible for any act to remain clear from overexposure, so somehow, it seems apt that Lemuria have managed to stay firm as punk rock’s best kept secret.
It’s not as if they are mere young pups, forming back in Brooklyn in the summer of 2004 and growing steadily ever since. Having started out when drummer Alex Kearns and guitarist Sheena Ozzella were in a different band together, they began to pen songs that would later contribute to Lemuria’s original EPs. However, it’s not been until recently that the co-vocalist duo settled with bassist Max Gregor – they’ve gone through three bassists previously – who originally stepped into the position after Kyle Paton was sent back home to Canada in mid-2010.
Those, though, are just the facts. What makes Lemuria so incredible is everything that lies in between the lines. Whether it’s their indefinable brand of punk-meets-indie rock, their poignant and somewhat melancholic lyrics or their perfect ability to juxtapose scuzzy, distortion-laden guitars with sweet and simplistic melodies. There’s something special at work.
“I think that it feels like we kinda fit with everything,” begins Gregor. “We try and do a little bit of everything. We’ve gotten along with bands like Screaming Females, but we’ve done tours with New Found Glory. All of those things have worked, and they’ve all been fun and they’ve all paid off in their own ways.” Which is true. As it so happens, the band are now signed to Bridge 9 Records; the label which put out New Found Glory’s 2010 EP ‘Tip Of The Iceberg’.
“The opportunities that Lemuria has gotten have all been embraced,” adds Gregor, who also mentions that he spent a good amount of time watching the band grow from an external perspective, before he joined. “From the beginning, I feel like they came from a very eclectic mix of people and places. As Lemuria was developing as a band, you know, NFG was offering them tours, they were still playing The Fest and stuff. Those opportunities that arose from all over the place helped to really make it something that isn’t really classifiable.”
However, there’s still the question of how the music itself has become so indefinable. The answer is simpler than you’d think, as Ozzella explains: “I think, originally, a big part of why we maybe didn’t sound like other bands is because Alex and I were just learning how to play our instruments. Alex had just started playing drums pretty recently and I had just started playing guitar. I was playing things that weren’t really notes! Or they were, but I didn’t know that they were?! Alex would just wanna practice for so long playing drum beats that didn’t sound like things he had heard before. I think that’s part of why we sound the way we sound: because we learned to play our instruments together.”
Unsurprisingly then, their DIY ethos has carried over into most aspects of their career. Having originally signed to Asian Man Records (an independent ska label which released their EPs ‘The First Collection’, as well as their debut full-length ‘Get Better’) they’re now completely settled with Bridge 9, who more commonly cater to those of a more hardcore tendency. If you don’t believe us, just check their roster: Defeater, H2O, Verse and Agnostic Front are all apart of the family, which welcomed Lemuria’s more indie-pop elements with open arms early last year.
“That’s why we went with them,” explains Kearns, when we mention how positive a relationship it must be knowing they were signed simply because the label were fans. “Knowing that they genuinely weren’t just putting it out because we fit the criteria of the label, but because they wanted to do it.”
And it was through Bridge 9 that they released their latest album ‘Pebble’, in the early months of 2011. Having signed with the label, it was around that time that they were able to work with J. Robbins to produce their second full-length. “J is awesome because he is more of a DIY guy,” says Ozzella, before Gregor adds something that really helps to explain the sparse, laid bare nature of the record. “The vibe with J is very minimalist, it’s a bare bones kinda recording style.”
Don’t be fooled, regardless of making home amongst the heavier side of the genre, these three are punk rock through and through. Naming the likes of Descendants and Rancid as some of their influences growing up, they’re a trio that seem to ooze cool, in all legitimate senses of the word. Heck, Sheena even works back home in Washington at a vegan bakery. “We all kinda come from a similar punk rock background even though we didn’t grow up together,” says Gregor, who currently resides in Austin, Texas. “I had a very similar process: my sister took me out to punk shows, I listened to the Descendents.” But then again, they also love a bit of Fleetwood Mac and The Kinks; another added piece to their musical puzzle.
It seems as though the future’s bright for Lemuria, and, as the band get ready to head out of that Kindergarten stage, they’re more than ready for things to come. “Now, I feel like we’re arriving at a place where we’ve gathered all of this knowledge - all these little things that we’ve learned and things that we’ve tried,” begins Gregor. “And what we’re focusing on now is really taking everything that we’ve learned with that and pressing forth with full steam, to see if we can do something huge with it.”
It looks like what once was lost has now been rightfully found.
Lemuria’s second album ‘Pebble’ is out now via Bridge 9 Records