Look Vibrant: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Bursts of joyous static and child-like wonder
File next to: Early Flaming Lips, Medicine

Playing: Saturday, April 19 at Smiling Buddha for WL #595.

Look Vibrant are “boys in the eyes of men and men in the eyes of boys.” Look Vibrant are Boys II Men, but at the end of the road there’s a smashed amp and shitloads of candy. Look Vibrant are also Justin Lazarus (vocals, synths, production) and Matthew Murphy (vocals, guitar, production) with help from the wonderfully talented Eli Kaufman (drums), Andrew Moore (guitar) and Alex Rand (bass). Dean Williams had a meeting of the minds with head fellas Justin Lazarus and Michael Murphy, and there were no survivors.

There’s a gleeful destructiveness to your songs — they’re noisy but not aggressive, more noisy but friendly, like a burst of static-y confetti — what if anything are they “celebrating”? There feels like there’s a real emotional catharsis beneath them.

Matthew Murphy: The songs, at least the ones on the first cassette, were very much celebrating creating for the first time together after a long lull. We hadn’t seen each other for almost a year and within the first day of meeting up again had written “Plateau” after a jam session. In regards to catharsis, we try as best as we can to put ourselves, whether the sad, funny, or other bits, into the songs. That’s therapeutic for us. I think any artist experiences catharsis when they create to some degree.

Tell me about the name — I read that it was inspired by a mispronunciation of ‘Luke Vibert’ — is this true?

Justin Lazarus: The name was actually conceived while busking through Europe with improvised material and covers. In Milan, we took a break in a neat record shop and found ourselves surrounded by an ethereal chorus of R&B robots. It was sick. The guy at the desk had a thick Italian accent (naturally), so when we asked who was playing he said “Lucke Vibernt” which I interpreted as Look Vibrant. Fluke that it was, we feel pretty good about the name.

The production of your tracks is so striking and unique, it’s almost like an additional instrument — how would Look Vibrant songs sound if they were produced using more traditional methods? Is it even conceivable?

JL: As it happens, we are currently working on some new Look Vibrant tracks using real signals, recorded with real microphones (as opposed to laptops), although the goal is to maintain the core “aggressive” production aesthetic, just airbrush it a tad. We also compose all of the songs with acoustic instruments and perform them as such when café gig opportunities arise.

Your music sounds like a joyful sugary breakfast cereal with a rainbow of marshmallows. Your music sounds like “Lucky Charms.” Not so much a question, but feel free to comment.

MM: We consider being compared to Lucky Charms the highest compliment. We love Lucky Charms.

It must be tough being bandmates and roommates. I had a roommate who ate my cheese all the time. I bought quality cheese, it was annoying. My question is this: which of the two of you is the one who eats the other’s cheese?

MM: Co-habitation is a very fortunate thing when it comes to writing tunes, because if one of us comes up with an idea, chances are the other one is home to provide feedback and help flesh it out. Justin dreamt the chorus to “Sweater in the Lake,” woke up the next morning singing it and we began working out the vowel sounds.

JL: I think we’ve both been known to eat each other’s cheese.

What do you do when you get sick of the sight of each other?

MM: We only get love sick.

Who would win in a push-up contest between the two of you?

JL: We’d both struggle. The three members of our live band would take us to school.

What about between the three of us?

MM: You. I’m pretty small and weak. Justin’s too nice, so he’d let you win.

Thanks for pumping my tires on that one. Montreal and Toronto — compare and contrast. Is there a ’90s style coastal beef brewing between Hogtown and… Cochonville?

JL: We both grew up in Toronto, so naturally it grew a bit stale. It took a lot of scheming to actually get gigs when we were underage, and the venues were always empty because our friends weren’t allowed in. I’m sure it would feel different if we lived there now. Montreal is fantastic, because it’s small enough for most bands to know and respect each other, but active enough to feel like you’re actually getting somewhere. That being said it’s easy to convince yourself you’re soaring high in such a tight-knit scene when in reality you’re just in an arts-loving city where everyone goes out to shows.

You witness a BMX rider execute a flawless tabletop into a 180. You exclaim to one another…

JL: “Bet he can’t pull off a Bunny Bounce..” (*Matt and Justin do a tabletop BMX Bunny Bounce*)

When are we getting another Look Vibrant release, or even a full-length? I have worn the pixels off your four songs from over-listening.

We’re working on new material now. The plan is to have two new songs or an EP out by mid-May and a full length out by late fall. Hopefully we’re not getting ahead of ourselves – we have a tendency to obsess over the songs.

Look Vibrant are playing at the Smiling Buddha Cafe on April 19th along with Connoisseurs of Porn, Cellphone and Mystics. If you challenge them to a push-up contest, it’s highly likely that they will let you win.