La Luz: “Shit is fucked. We need to party.”

Want to be my new favorite band?  Be a retro-leaning girl-group who writes badass motherfuckin’ surf doo-wop and send me your latest release on a fuckin’ cassette tape… Seattle’s...

Want to be my new favorite band?  Be a retro-leaning girl-group who writes badass motherfuckin’ surf doo-wop and send me your latest release on a fuckin’ cassette tape… Seattle’s La Luz did just that… and they are my new favorite band.  The quartet seems to enjoy dragging their lovely four-part harmonies through a fuzzy garage rock filter, making for a sound just as transgressively hip and postmodern as it is nuclearly sunny.  My enjoyment of their recently released Damp Face EP (courtesy of Burger Records) is beginning to scare me because, if you don’t know, kids, tapes do wear out (What profoundness is to be found in beauty if it is, after all, everlasting?)  Apparently I’m not the only one who finds these four ladies to be a subversive brand of perfection, as many other critics are already speculating that they’re destined to be huge (I’m not saying that, but… if they were, it would renew my faith in the music industry and youth culture.)  Sonically, they’re the most amazing blend of everything that is conventionally enticing and everything that is conventionally confrontational… I’m not sure what it is in the water (or whatever) they’re drinking but, if you’re a band, I would highly recommend inquiring about it.  La Luz have an upcoming 7” (out July 17th on Suicide Squeeze), which explores their softer/warmer side, and which Pitchfork is already digging.  They are also about to embark on a summer tour, which kicks off on June 28th at The Know in Portland, OR.  Unfortunately, there’s not currently a Philly date (although there are a few possible off-dates that they could fill in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection), but they are hitting up The Makespace in Harrisburg on July 18th.  I recently chatted with vocalist/guitarist Shana Cleveland about just what’s behind La Luz and why they are currently rocking my socks so fucking hard.  Here’s what she had to say.

La Luz photo 1Izzy Cihak: First of all, I just have to say, that you are officially my favorite band, for sending me a fucking cassette of your EP.  In about seven years of doing this, you’re the first band to ever do that and it’s much appreciated.

Shana Cleveland: Yay! Glad it arrived safely.

IC: You’re still a relatively new band.  What have been the highlights of your career, thus far?

SC: It has been amazing so far. It’s hard to even pick a few highlights. The music scene in Seattle has been so incredible and supportive to us. So many people have offered to collaborate with us, whether it’s playing a show, or making a video, or putting out our music… It’s been like a dream. We went on a tour down the west coast and met so many great people and got to record a song on a sailboat. Seeing big groups of people dance at shows is always a highlight.


IC: How would you describe the Seattle music scene?  Does it have a particular vibe, or do you have any particular favorite peers?

SC: It would be difficult to describe the scene as a whole. There are a lot of bands here, like, an outrageous number of bands, and tons of scenes within scenes. Live music is a big part of this city. People help each other out. We usually play with garage rock type bands. Some of my favorites are Diminished Men, Wimps, Dude York, Lonesome Shack (an awesome blues band with a tape coming out on Burger this Summer), Tacocat, our buddies Heatwarmer, and the Shivas and Nucular Aminals, from Portland.

IC: What were the biggest influences and inspirations behind Damp Face and your upcoming 7”, whether musical or not? (Non-musical influences can often times seem more juicy and profound.)

SC: 60s surf, Mississippi Records tapes, rock and roll in general, the idea that music can let people forget about life and death and just be in the moment. Some friends of mine were killed a year ago at my favorite café, right around the time we started this band and, among all of the other revelations that tragedy unearthed was this: Shit is fucked. We need to party.

IC: Do you have a favorite La Luz song?   “Easy Baby” kind of knocks me out and desperately needs to be in a film by either John Waters or David Lynch.

SC: Nice! I feel like our music must be kinda cinematic feeling, because people mention directors a lot when describing it. Tarantino gets brought up most often. John Waters is a big inspiration. The whole punks and freaks vs. squares thing seems pretty relevant to much of life as a musician. And David Lynch, of course, as north-westerners. My favorite song of ours changes all the time, but right now it’s a new one called “I Wanna Be Alone (With You).”


IC: What are you most excited for in 2013?  Any significant plans or hopes for after touring wraps?

SC: We recently finished our first full length album that will hopefully be out in the fall! Most people only know us for the 5 songs on our EP, so we’re stoked for that.

IC: You’re about to kick off a string of live dates.  What should fans expect of the live experience?

SC: Surf instrumentals, some slow jams, ripping keyboard solos, swaying, lots of upbeat songs about dark moods — all of which you can dance to. My bandmates are amazing and we just like each other a lot, so playing shows is like throwing a party with my friends.

Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.