Members of new London based screamo / post hardcore act LUXOR BEAM have been in many bands before, including What Price Wonderland?, Arkless, Bird Calls, Kinshot, Enoch Ardon, and Ciudad del Cabo, and with their debut EP “Luxor Beam”, they have offered a solid delivery of their own take on emotive hardcore and vibes akin to mid-90s offerings from Ebullition Records. Their debut brings a heady dose of nostalgia and promises another great new bands from the UK.
We caught up with LUXOR BEAM to explore their early work, learn more about their backgrounds, this new project, and tease ourselves for their hopefully bright future.
James (drums) and I (Andy – bass/vocals) first met when we were 14 to start What Price Wonderland, a band that would end up lasting for 12 years. We jumped head first into DIY knowing nothing other than the few bands we had heard on mixtapes and online etc. It ended up being the best decision we ever made.
As the three of us got older we moved apart and started other new bands. James played in Bird Calls and then Kinshot, Joe played in Plaids then Soul Structure. I took a long break before starting Arkless. After Arkless split up James and I talked about wanting to play together again and after trying to get things going with a few different people where it didn’t work out for various reasons we were introduced to Pablo. Pablo had just moved to the UK after years of playing in DIY bands in Spain (such as Enoch Ardon and Ciudad del Cabo) and wanted to start something here in London.
We started playing together without any real ‘vision’ for what it would be outside of discussing that we all wanted to playing something ‘fast and loud’. After a few practises we started to get a hold of the sound we wanted to create and the songs flowed quite easily, so we decided to book some recording time in December which coincided with playing our first show with Overo and Punch On! a few weeks prior.
>> GO HERE to see our features with PUNCH ON!
The new EP
We booked recording time mostly feeling that we wanted to have something to show to people when they asked what our new band sounded like, but as we got closer to the time we realised we had enough songs we were happy with to make more of a proper release. All six songs were recorded over two days, which was pretty intense, and we were really happy with the outcome. One of the main things that was important to us when recording these songs was that they came out as a coherent, whole thing that ran together – almost like a wall of noise. There isn’t really a break between the songs, just noise as they finish and the next song kicks in. Bandcamp adds an artificial gap between each song which breaks this a little, but for the full experience we’re hoping to get this released on vinyl at some point during the year – watch this space.
Firstly, I really love writing lyrics. It has always been one of my favourite parts of the whole process of creating music and for me the difference between something I love and hate can often be the words so I really spend a lot of time thinking about the lyrics and changing them around. My approach has always been to take from every day life and try to write in a way that offers an idea or emotion that you can relate to and think about but to absolutely never write in a way that says ‘you should think or feel this way’ about a certain thing.
01 Unreal – we wanted this to be the opening track because we felt it encapsulates everything we are trying to do well, and well just because it’s probably the consensus favourite song of ours on the record. The lyrics are derived from reading the news every day and being baffled by the complete lack of honesty in the world.
02 Missed detail – this song was actually one that turned out better than it should have – a little look behind the curtain would be to say that it’s a combination of parts of songs we scrapped, but had good parts we wanted to keep. The lyrics are on a similar theme to the above, but the flip side. As I get older I find myself constantly questioning if I ‘do enough’. I definitely don’t, I think it’s a common feeling.
03 Unnecessary input – musically this song came together really easily. The writing process is similar for most songs, Pablo writes parts and we finesse them between the three of us at rehearsal and keep trying different things until they’re right. This song though was just written start to finish by Pablo and James and I couldn’t fault it. There’s a part of the song that Pablo announced as ‘here’s the Birds in Row riff’. See if you can spot it! The lyrics were also written from an idea of Pablo’s, after he saw a tweet about a mass shooting (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/arts/neil-degrasse-tyson-el-paso.html).
04 A reminder – this was one of the first songs we wrote. I think in a lot of ways this song represents what we weren’t sure about when starting out – the same question almost every new band asks itself I suppose, what kind of band is this? What will define the songs we make? This song definitely has the most leaning towards a more traditional mid 90s emo sound. It has my favourite part to play on the whole record. The lyrics are about the odd juxtaposition of how our bodies heal. I broke my hand many years ago, and there’s a bump there on the bone where it healed itself. I broke it, but actually now it’s stronger. It’s a weird allegory for life in some ways.
05 Dust – I don’t remember much about writing this one, which means it must have been pretty easy and came together quickly! The lyrics are a combination of things, in some ways they’re about how simple things in life (in this case going to the dentist) can be scary in a way that really doesn’t make sense given how ordinary they are. On the flip side they’re about the transience of life. ‘Remember, you are dust’ is something I saw inscribed over the entrance to a cemetery, I thought it was a pretty bleak (if true) thing to remind people as they went to visit their lost loved ones or to put them to rest but no less true. Given it’s a religious phrase, a construct which subsists at a base level on people’s inherent fear of death, it’s not that surprising.
06 – Nostalgia – if you discount the songs we scrapped, this is the first song we wrote and finished together. The ending of the song was one of those ‘could it sound like this?’ moments in rehearsal where James and I tried to vocalise what the guitar might sound like and Pablo, alchemy like, brought it to reality. I think that was the moment we all knew we wanted to commit to the band for real. The lyrics are derived from getting in a disappointingly cold bath late at night and that causing a melodrama where I questioned all my decisions in life.
LUXOR BEAM in 2020
If we record again, it definitely won’t be until the end of the year but more likely this year will all be about touring and playing shows as much as possible. We are currently in the middle of booking a few shows in Spain, but depending on logistics it could be in March or later in the year. We will be playing Fire As a Metaphor 3 in Nottingham. Arkless played the first and second iterations of the UK’s best DIY all dayer so I’m really happy to be able to continue that tradition. Beyond that, we are open to offers and happy to play wherever there’s a show.
Not wanting to sound too negative, but emo/screamo in London and around the UK is going through a fallow period. There are bands and shows dotted around but things tend to be fleeting and inconsistent. I’ve been hoping that the widespread revival of a new found love for that mid 90s sound is just around the corner for many years, but I’m yet to see it. Either way, the small community that love this stuff will keep putting out records and putting on shows.
Other bands worth a check
My favourite UK band at the moment. Incredibly intense screamo from Leeds.
Three releases in, they keep getting better. Their latest record, Harm Passes Forward, carries with it a really important message. Two piece screamo from Bristol.
Joe, who was in What Price Wonderland with James and I, has been in many great bands since. This is the latest, and he’s also joined by Matt Taylor of Algae Bloom.
You never hear bands like this anymore and that’s a shame, but I’m absolutely in love with Loro.
I love Football, etc but I didn’t know I wanted to hear that sound mashed up with Yaphet Kotto until I heard Overo. Absolutely outstanding debut LP and brilliant live when they toured last year.