CMJ, Spinner The CMJ Music Festival is back! Every year, hundreds of bands…
- Posted on Nov 15th 2012 2:00PM by Melody Lau
"I love a good pop song, but I think that our band has been slightly misunderstood by some people," Stein tells Spinner. "I don't think that we were ever really a pop band."
Instead, Stein believes the Luyas are closer to the art-rock scene and its experimental, free-form nature. The band's new album Animator certainly has little to do with "pop."
"When people think it's a pop record, they're like, 'Where are the hits? Why is this not catchy?' and that's never been what I've been interested in," says Stein. "it's always been more about patience and restraint."
Patience and restraint is the key, in Stein's opinion, to absorbing Animator. With an eight-minute opening track that takes its time easing the listener into their world of abstract, otherworldly melodies, it's clear that they're not trying to feed you a slice of sugary pop pie.
If it seems like Animator has a sombre, reflective tone, there's a good reason. Just as band began setting up for their first studio session Stein received a phone call informing her that a close friend had died.
"It affected everything," Stein says. "Not a note was played before we got the phone call and I had an idea of what the record probably would be before, but most of it was not written yet and that was a major part of this particular piece of work."
Stein and the rest of the band, Arcade Fire/Bell Orchestre/Torngat associated Pietro Amato and Mathieu Charbonneau, and Mark Wheaton, proudly proclaim Animator "the most powerful manifestation" of the band's goal of continual exploration, creating substance and achieving a unique feeling that's entirely not pop.
"A friend made an analogy about pop music," she says. "That this idea of music made for quick consumption is like fast food versus a more complicated or delicate thing like a perfect salad where it's not begging for your attention.
"It's just a shame because people work really hard and try to make things that are subtle and beautiful and we're set up in a system where we think everything should be free and fast. I just think it's really important to think about that and how it affects our relationship to musical and artistic work because I don't feel it makes you engaged. I guess I'm really attracted to art that expects something from me and trusts me to spend some time on it."
Stein is particularly fired up about this topic of late, referring to a recent blog post made by Lower Dens frontwoman Jana Hunter about music streaming sites like Spotify and the state of music consumption.
"It's not that I think we're tremendously inaccessible," Stein continues. "I just don't like the sweetness of the term 'indie rock' because it's so much more than just catchy songs on the internet. It's my whole life, it's my art practice, it's a much bigger thing to us than the way it gets presented."
Stein doesn't discount all pop music and indie-pop sugariness. But she has a specific warning about Animator.
"This record... it's not a dance party."