September 29, 2009

Buffalo Band Profile: Lemuria

Lemuria is an indie/punk Buffalo band with a very eccentric sound--in a good way. A bit ninties college rock, a bit grungey and a tad twee pop. They are like the love child between Deathcab For Cutie and Jawbreaker.

Check out their myspace HERE

Lemuria is a mythical ancient civilization, why did you name yourselves after it?
- I (Alex) have always been very interested in ancient civilizations, especially ones that are on the cusp of being mythical and there are people currently on payrolls attempting to discover. This was my favorite mythical, or maybe mythical, continent that sort of exists.

What motivated you to form a band and how long have you been together?
- Sheena and I have been best friends for a very long time now, and it only seemed natural to start a band together because we were comfortable writing with each other. We formed about 5 years ago, in the fall of 2004.

Your sound is heavily rooted in punk and indie rock, what bands would you say helped shaped your music the most?
- Bands like Leatherface, Jawbreaker, Superchunk, Jawbox, Sebadoh, and many others have really influenced us. On tour, music from the 90's are what we all usually agree on listening to in the van. Even though we are constantly getting into new artists, these are the bands that really shaped our lives.

What would you say makes your music special or different? What sets you apart from the crowd?
- I think the personal dynamic that I have with Sheena has made our band slightly odd. Sheena and I used to be in a romantic relationship when we were younger, that eventually ended and our personal friendship has been unlike any relationship I've ever had with anybody. Our music definitely amplifies that awkwardness sometimes, but I don't think it's a negative thing.

Where do you derive inspiration from to write a song? Do you find yourself more inclined to write about real things that have happened to you, or fictional stories?
- Every song is inspired from our real lives. Some are familial inspirations, others are relationships with significant others. Occasionally we have songs about human behavior.

The song "Who would understand a turtle" is quite an interesting title and also one of my favorite songs on your MySpace. Where did the idea for the song come from?
- That song is actually a tour story from when we were on tour with Kind of Like Spitting. We were driving from Chicago to Dekalb, IL...from show to show. The night before we played a show in Chicago and Sheena and I had a big argument. While driving the next we were all in different vehicles on the road, close to each other on the highway because some of our friends were traveling with us. I wasn't in the same vehicle as Sheena but I really wanted to resolve the situation. I wrote the song on the trip, I also ran from car to car during a slight traffic jam not realizing the traffic was moving much faster than I thought it was and I barely made it to the other car! There is actually a video somewhere that my friend Mike took of me running. Sort of silly.

You are a relatively well established indie band, with a national following. Many musical acts of similar size tend to relocate to larger cities like New York or Austen, why has Buffalo remained your home base?
- Buffalo is comfortable, and the cost of living is very cheap. It allows us to do what we love artistically and be able to tour without having to worry about ridiculously high rents at home. It's also close to our families and it offers a lot of the same luxuries that bigger cities do. I love this city!

How has the Buffalo indie scene changed since you have been a band?
- It hasn't changed very much. It's been pretty consistent. There is always ups and downs with the hardcore scene, which oddly enough was our original audience because that was the crowd of people we knew and ended up playing shows with a lot of hardcore bands. The scene is very supportive and we are very grateful to be a part of it.

And furthermore, do you think the Buffalo independent music scene has the potential to become nationally known (like Chapel Hill, or Austen)?
- I think it definitely does. I know a lot of artists who have recently moved to Buffalo from the New York City area for the reason that we live here. It's cheap! So cheap that they don't have to work 2 jobs to get by and try to find a way to still do what makes them happy with the few spare hours they have a week. We pay $75 for a huge practice space that has 24 hour access, which is a fantastic deal. A lot of bands to pay nothing because they just practice in their attic or basement here.

As an independent band, you are especially susceptible to shifts in the economic climate. How has the recession impacted you? Has it influenced the type of music you write? Your touring schedule? Has it forced you to travel more/less?
- I think during a recession, artists sometimes gain attention and support because people are cutting down on large luxuries and involving themselves in less expensive things. So maybe instead of taking that European vacation, people are just going to settle to go to a few shows here and there that month. We travel about the same amount as when we started the band, but the recession hasn't really impacted us. It seems like a lot of older bands are reuniting and playing music these days as a result of the recession as well. Ultimately we play music for fun though! Whether we're making money or not, we'll all personally be involved in the music community.

Also be sure to check out other bands featured in the Buffalo Band Project series, just click on the label below or in the left hand section of the blog guessed it "LABELS!"

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