The opening track of Lightness debut EP is slow, droning, and packs a wallop when the guitars kick in and the cymbals splash. Sometimes the characteristics of the music conflict, with tempo changes and Jules Campbell’s vocals humming and smoldering comfortably on top of the guitars, drums, and bass that set the altering pace. They make it work better than most, cornering a genre and doing it well.
We caught up with Jules of Lightness after the release of their first single before the full EP was released.
I stumbled upon the new song last night while I was doing some late night web browsing and really dug it. My first impression was that I loved the way the song was recorded and the thickness of the recording. Where did you record and what were you going for?
We recorded with Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business in Greensboro, NC. It was an awesome experience because I think he really understood what we were going for without much prior explanation. At the time we were only a three-piece so a really full sound was important to us.
Tell me about the members of the band and what bands they were involved with before Lightness if they were.
Lightness is me, Tucker, Kyle and Austin. Tucker used to play guitar in a band called Future Wives a couple years ago, Kyle and Austin actually play in a really awesome instrumental band called Cepheus right now. Before Lightness I sang in a band called Milky White for a little while.
What’s the plans for the release? Is it an EP or a full length?
It’s a four song EP and we’ll be releasing the other three songs on November 17th. It feels like forever since we recorded so we’re really excited for people to hear the EP as a whole.
How did the band get started? Did you start writing off the bat planning to record or was it more of a feeling that you’d play a couple of shows and then go from there?
Originally, Lightness was me, Carter Hill and Mike Murdaugh. When we started playing together I don’t think we were necessarily so focused on planning to record as much as we were just writing songs that we thought were good and playing shows. Recording kind of came as an afterthought when we finished a few songs and decided it would be cool to put out an EP.
Your sound is popular in circles around the country because a lot of the bands that first had a comparative sound are reforming and recording albums, and because there is a new crop of bands that play that same style. Locally your song is reminiscent of Ivadell in some ways, and when they get national press it’s interesting to see them compared to 90’s bands. What are your thoughts on your influences and sound?
I think we work as a whole because we all pull influence from totally different places. Tucker grew up listening to bands like Danzig and Queens of the Stone Age, Kyle listens to a lot of stuff like Bloc Party, Austin’s really into Spraynard and I’ve always loved Deftones and Bjork. It’s definitely interesting to hear current bands compared to 90’s music so often. I think there’s a nostalgia there that a lot of people really appreciate.
Do you ever feel a need to take a “fresh” angle or is it more of a natural writing process where you don’t focus on all the outside bull shit that people might compare you to?
I don’t think any of us really ever feel any pressure to put a new spin on anything. I mean, we definitely want to keep progressing as a band, but we’re all into different stuff, and because of that I think we each bring something to the table individually, which makes it easier to only worry about what we think sounds good and shut out everything else.
Who are some young bands in Charleston people should look out for? You’re sound is a lot different than a lot of the other popular Charleston bands now and I think that’s a really good thing.
I think the EP that Innerout released a few months ago is amazing, and Austin has a really great solo project called Yast. Him and Kyle’s other band Cepehus is awesome as well. Honestly, there’s so much cool music coming out of South Carolina as a whole right now.
Charleston’s always had a nice hardcore scene that kind of existed under the surface — the surface being the more Jam Rock/Americana/Pop stuff that’s on the surface of the scene there. Is Lightness coming from more that kind of place or something different entirely?
I think what we appreciate about the hardcore scene in general is the sense of community that you don’t typically see too often anywhere else. What we’re doing right now isn’t necessarily coming from that place but I think we all have roots there and it’s been a big inspiration for us, consciously or subconsciously.