Luge: The WL Interview

Purveyors of: Actual Rock ‘n’ Roll
File Next To: Deefhoof, Weaves, rubber objects, obscure tropical fruit
Playing: Saturday, November 25 @ Bike Pirates. Get tickets here!

Slippery and springy art-rock, slathered with oils and muds. Mallowy stuff burping out of crusty craters, sliming colour over reluctant shapes, coiling up and cracking off in the sun. Gut churning entertainment for life beneath the lava flows. Adam Bradley had a chat with vocalist Kaiva from the band and here’s what she had to say.

Where did you guys meet? You all have an impressive chemistry and smooth flow for such disjointed music.

High school originally. But we (Tobias and I) found Cam and Stu playing with Sly Why, so when we needed a new drummer and bassist they were our first choice for obvious reasons. Not that it was easy to think of many people who would be interested in playing like we do. We really depend on the rhythm section to ground us. Tobias and I tend to go off on musical tangents.

You make this brand of proggy genrelessness seem pretty effortless. Do you have a system for writing songs together?

There is a very loose system. Usually Tobias will bring guitar parts or just a general idea to start off with. Then the rest of us build around that. It helps that all band members are thinking about the collective sound, not just what their instrument sounds like. Vocals always come last due to the unpredictability of the song. I don’t know where the song is going, so I won’t know what I want to do until the song is basically finished. We often switch things up within the song quite drastically before setting a final version. Most often we realize some other riff written some other time has some little similarity that we can transition on. Other times we intentionally want to flip it on its head. The other thing that helps is the very wide range of genres we listen to or at least appreciate. The ability to fit it all together is that “je ne sais quoi.”

Your songs are often pretty absurd and funny. Is there any particularly serious subject matter hiding in there lyrically?

It’s just about the aesthetics of the absurd. It’s just language, folks. But all jokes aside, our serious subject matter includes high school physics, horses, and garbage men at Christmas time.

You sing in both English and a second language I can’t quite place. What lead to the artistic decision to sing bilingually?

The other language is Latvian. I find it easier to avoid cliché when I write in Latvian un tāpēc ir vieglāk uzrakstīt kaut ko kas man pašai patiks. I think that the unusual and sometimes funny sound of the language fits well with the absurd lyrics and freaky sound. I also don’t get to speak Latvian much anymore, so it was kind of natural to start writing in Latvian. It wasn’t something that we really discussed or thought about too much. Dievs, svētī Latviju.

In my experience, people really love watching your live set. Is there any local band or otherwise that you really love seeing live?

We will never pass up an opportunity to see Fet.Nat (QC) or Baby Labour (Guelph). But the best live show we’ve been to would have to be Guerilla Toss with Horse Lords, Sly Why, and Bird Death at the Kapisanan about three years ago. These are some of our favourite bands anyways, but that was a show full of impressive musical skill and the best dance-energy. Dance-energy is crucial for a live show. This is something Toronto needs to work on actually. It is quite off-putting when I’m performing in front of a wall of crossed arms. Luge’s official statement: we endorse dance-energy for mayor.

You guys are booked up for the rest of the year for shows looks like, including Wavelength this Saturday. Do you have any special plans for the New Year?

We’re going to be very busy bees in January. We have a little 5-day something with a band we recently met in Montreal and a couple of exciting shows in Toronto. And of course we’re going to be working on our next release. It’s gonna be huge.