I Love Lightning Bugs talk about their new album, “Kensington”.
Every year I attend the Metrotimes Blowout in Hamtracmk, so to no ones surprise I was there this year doing some promotion for a few of the bands playing back in March. Upon wandering through the streets of Hamtramck and shuttling from bar to bar, I walked into Whiskey in the Jar to discover I Love Lightning Bugs. Packed to the brim this band sure knew how to please the crowd. I made sure to make friends and attend another show in the future after the band was named the best Blowout Band by CW50. This trio of powerful musicians has a ton of credit and experience that shines in every performance.
Now over 8 months later, I Love Lightning Bugs have released a fresh new album titled “Kensington”. Below I ask the bands bassist, Rob Shelby and also Reid Mclellan, singer/guitarist of I Love Lightning Bugs to discuss their songs, history, and production of their new album. You can catch their next show on December 9th at the Rustbelt Market in Ferndale and also you can get yourself a copy of the new album at the I Love Lightning Bugs official website.
Reid: Kensington feels like a complete and intended work of art. The songs differ from our old material in that the song writing and production are on another level. The new songs are very emotionally charged and have a bigger sound.
Where was this album recorded, who worked with you to produce it?
Rob: We recorded it in my basement. Reid and I produced it all myself. Dave Feeny played a lot of slide guitar on it and mixed 1 song. We also had a ton of guest musicians! Like a few members of the Julliets, my buddy Dave from the Australian band Sounds Like Sunset. We also used home made pre-amps built by David Krofchok. They were, by far, the best pre-amps I’ve ever used!
How did the band form? Or can you give me a brief history of the band?
Rob: Reid and I had worked at the same place for many years. He was a fan of my band Stills of Japan (www.knerd.com/bands/stillsofjapan). We actually have completely different styles. But it seemed to really work, so I brought in Angie Kaiser on drums (also of Stills of Japan). We all are working towards the same goal. We just want to write songs that we actually like to listen to! We don’t want to tour aimlessly. It’s all about having a great time while writing music and hopefully getting a few people to our shows… The three of us have been in so many bands. Reid was the #1 electronic musician on MP3.COM for a while. I have tons of production and engineering credits. Angie was in bands all over michigan. We don’t care about “making it”. We don’t go out every night. We just kinda do what we do! Unfortunately, Angie had to move for work. But we picked up Ron Vensko.
Who can you compare yourself to, what are some of your inspirations or favorite bands?
Rob: We are always compared to 90′s bands like the Psychedelic Furs, Pixies, The Cure and Built To Spill. Some people keep saying we sound like U2. I really don’t think we do. Reid’s voice sometimes sounds a bit like Bono, I guess. I’m mostly inspired by bands like the earlier Modest Mouse, The Rentals, and Why? albums. We are very melody focused.
What are your songs about? Do you cover any specific themes in your music?
Reid: Each song on this album captures a brief moment in time that has had a profound effect on our memories.
Songs thematically range from overcoming hopelessness, loneliness and heartbreak to putting your life back together when it seems like it’s the end of the world.
Rob: Our instruments really take turns as the lead theme instrument.
Do you guys have any type of tour coming up?
We are planning to do a few tours this spring. We’ll probably stick the midwest…
Where can you most likely find I Love Lightning Bugs playing a show?
Reid: Well, we mostly play in and around Ferndale, Royal Oak and Detroit. We played a lot of festivals this year and we love playing at the Rustbelt Market and the Lager house. The Magic Bag and The Pike Room were great gigs. We also played in Brooklyn, NY but have yet to go on an extended tour.
Rob: Yeah but my favorite place to play is the Berkley Front. That place is really what you make of it. I like that freedom. Of course, the magic bag! I love that stage!
Can you mention some of your favorite places to see local bands play in the metro Detroit area?
Any shout outs to some local hard working bands that you know in the metro Detroit area?