And then there were three … . A lot has changed for THE LUNAR LAUGH the last couple of months; a new member (the third), a new Spanish record deal and 11 beautiful new songs. Sweet Sweet Music talked to Jared Lekites about the new record, Mama’s Boy.
A lot has changed since the last record?
That’s true. We expanded the core lineup from a duo to a trio by bringing in Campbell Young on bass and vocals halfway through recording the album. Also Connor was only on some of the first album but with Mama’s Boy he’s on every track.
Connor and I also co-wrote about half of the songs on the album together instead of just me. So those factors contribute to the overall change, I’m sure. But also we didn’t want to attempt to recreate the sound of our first album anyway. We wanted to just make a new album and avoid any sort of formula.
A bit more harmony vocals and some extra westcoast, ‘softer melodies’, violins and trumpets?
We had more voices to work with this time around. The first album was a lot of me overdubbing vocal parts all over the place but this album has a bit more organic feel. We had some friends singing along with us on some tunes and with the three voices we were able to create some really nice and thickened vocal beds.
I love to arrange background vocals so it was great to have all these great voices mixed in with my own. It definitely contributed to that John Phillips/Brian Wilson/Bee Gees type background vocal parts that pop up in some of the songs.
Since I spent a significant portion of my childhood in Southern California, that west coast vibe always creeps in. It’s a certain mellowness that colors the music a bit. I really like the idea of working with the players out there, too. Adam Marsland played on a track on the last album and on the new album, Jim Laspesa and Derrick Anderson are the rhythm section on “She Gets Stoned”. It’s an honor to have guys with those kind of chops playing our music.
Same for the strings and horns. It blows my mind how a little song we came up with in my living room (The Bedroom Door) now had charts for trumpet and cello. I think we all got goosebumps when we heard the final mix.
A very comfortable, warm record (please take that as a compliment, let’s put it differently I liked evey song straight away). Was that something you were looking for?
We didn’t set out for it to be that way, though I’m happy you think so. I think our voices have a warm quality and that informs what we do in instrumental terms. Plus we had the opportunity to road test a lot of the songs by getting to play them in concert throughout the making of the album.
So I think that helped us become pretty comfortable with the music itself. But I was also really trying to get out of the comfort zone so that’s why songs like “A Better Fool” and “Living A Lie” are a bit of an about-face compared to the other songs.
And a Spanish record deal! That would not be possible 25 years ago. That’s the new music industry, isn’t it?
We were just as surprised as anyone. I remember we had a band meeting at Freebirds World Burrito and we were talking about the album and how we all wished we could get some kind of deal so that the album would reach more people.
We made a plan to release a really strong single and hoped that maybe something would happen locally with it. Well the single came out and within a few days, You Are The Cosmos was contacting us and asking if they could hear any rough mixes of the other new songs we were doing.
A fan of ours in Spain really liked the song and had passed it along to the label. I was so knocked out by it. It was right place, right time, and the right song. You hear the term “music industry” a lot but in my head it used to only apply to places like Nashville and LA that just keep churning out stuff like factories.
But then, I take a moment to think about it and realize “oh, I guess we are in the music industry now”. We are in the business of making records. Legitimate records too. We’re on a piece of vinyl! That’s a priceless feeling.
Will you go on tour? Or any other plans for 2017?
Once summer rolls around, we hope to play a number of dates in the states. We don’t know if it’s just going to be us loading gear in a car and going it alone or if we are going to maybe plan on doing dates with another band. Naturally, we’ll do more in Oklahoma than anywhere.
We also got asked to contribute a song to a movie soundtrack which we did, but we have no idea if they will use it yet.