Name: Levity Breaks
Formed: July 2010
Line-up: Marty McLoughlin (Vocals / Bass) | Eamon Lenehan (Drums) | Jonny McGuiness (Keyboards/ Vocals) | Richie Lappin (Guitar)
Similar to: Editors | Glasvegas | Cry Before Dawn
What They Say: “Music with pop appeal, but an underlying funeral quality.”
What We Say: Hook driven splendor with the perfect balance of melody and melancholy.
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ For anyone who hasn’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
I think our music straddles a couple of different genres. We tend to be drawn towards a sonically expansive sound but because the songs usually start out as a simple run of chords and a vocal melody, I hope they retain the sincerity and isolation in which they were written. Lyrically I try to play with weighty themes of loss and grief but l like to write of an enduring spirit, which weathers the storm.
▶ You’ve just released your debut EP, ‘Maudlin’ to critical acclaim, but it could so easily have been different – Is it true that you had an EP ready for release last year? If so, why were the sessions abandoned and how has your sound evolved into what became ‘Maudlin’?
The original incarnation of our debut EP was almost entirely complete when we decided to raise the stakes and re-record it from scratch. I think the main complaint we had ourselves was with the acoustic environment in which we recorded the drum tracks. We also decided on a different title track for the record, Maudlin, as it had become a bit of a highlight in our live set.
▶ You’ve drawn many interesting comparisons over the years, from a slightly softer Biffy Clyro to the high tempo barrage of Birmingham’s ‘Editors’. Who do you take inspiration from as a band?
If you ask each of us this question you’ll likely get very different responses but it was probably the music I listened to in my formative years that most influences my writing style today. This inexhaustible list would include Nirvana, Pixies, REM, Bowie, etc. Over the last ten years or so I’ve become pretty infatuated with Tom Waits. The most recognizable feature of his music is obviously his voice but I think it’s the imagery and wit in his lyrics that attracts me most. I also hugely admire Arcade Fire. They just can’t put a foot wrong in my book.
▶ Does your name have any hidden meanings within it? It’s a very unique choice that seems to resonate well with the people of Belfast…
We arrived at the name very quickly and there’s a simple explanation for it. To me, ‘Levity Breaks’, refers to a moment when something happens to cause you to transition from calm to distress; the moment when the fight or flight response is engaged. I’ve heard the name shortened to, ‘The Breaks’. Fair enough.
▶ Can you pinpoint a highlight and a lowlight of your musical journey so far?
Highlight – Playing to an almost full house in limelight 2 at the Launch of our debut EP in October this year.
Lowlight – Playing to just the bar staff at another Belfast club last year.
▶ What is your favorite song to play live and why?
A new song we played as an encore at our EP launch, currently untitled. I’m really proud of this song. It came together so quickly and I love to perform it. Its delivery is unlike any other song of ours; it’s essentially just a piano and a vocal.
▶ On your own hypothetical world tour, who would you choose as your three support acts (past or present)?
Ok, to ever call these acts ‘Supports’ would be massively egotistical so I’ll alter the question to, ‘hypothetically, which bands would we like to provide tour support for?’
If we were ever invited to support Arcade Fire then I think I would truly be in danger of reaching a permanent Zen state. Another would be David Bowie and words could not describe the joy that would course through me. A third, I’ll say The Flaming Lips.
▶ Having gigged so extensively over the last year or two, you must encounter many of this countries most underground acts – are there any you’re particularly excited about breaking through at present?
I recently heard a band called Sullivan & Gold and I was immediately sold.
▶ Your recent headline gig at The Limelight gained rave reviews, what was it like playing to such a warm and loving home crowd?
It was amazing! We were truly humbled by the response from our audience. Our lights guy, Tucker, had the novel idea of bringing the house lights up between songs in the middle of our set and it was only at this point that we became aware of how big our audience was. More of that please!
▶ What does ‘success’ mean to Levity Breaks?
It depends how we’d define ‘success’. I don’t take anything for granted. Every time someone says they enjoy what we do I consider that a success. We really don’t set out in a really calculated way to engineer our own success. If it happens then we’ll be incredibly grateful but we’re happy to continue to write, record and play obsessively.
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