Set to arrive September 16th via Metal Blade Records, the debut self-titled full-length album from South Florida’s LYBICA will take you on an epic musical journey of peaks and valleys where the possibilities are endless. Written and recorded by a dynamic and instrumental post-metal band that seamlessly blends flavorful guitar melody with powerful metallic crunch and features Killswitch Engage drummer Justin Foley on guitar, the album approaches several post-rock and post-metal oriented styles with affection and enthusiasm, trapping listeners with an irresistible vibrancy and multi-genre epicness.
To celebrate the upcoming release, we have teamed up with the band to give you their top 10 inspirations, as seen by Justin Foley (also of Killswitch Engage).
Lybica were first conceived in 2020 when it became clear to Foley that he wasn’t going to be spending much time with his normal bandmates for a while. Speaking about the album he says, “I’d written a bunch of stuff that didn’t quite fit into traditional song structures. I’ve always been drawn to bands where the instruments provide hooks, rather than relying on a lyric. It seemed like a good time to start something new and see where it could go.”
Lybica was produced and engineered by Jonathan Nuñez (Torche) at Sound Artillery Studio in Miami, FL and was mixed and mastered by Will Benoit (Caspian, Junius, SOM) at The Radar Studio in Clinton, CT.
With the band members all being “cat people,” the band’s name references a small wildcat species native to Africa that is widely considered the godfather of the modern house cat. Lybica is the first known feline species to be tamed and domesticated by humans.
In addition to Killswitch Engage, Lybica features members of Gravel Kings, Barriers Now Bridges, Days Spent & A Brilliant Lie.
Lybica are Justin Foley [Guitar], Joey Johnson [Guitar], Doug French [Bass], Chris Lane [Drums].
Catch the band playing live on the following dates:
9/22 — Albany, NY — Empire Live (Supporting Killswitch Engage)
10/28—10/30 — Gainesville, FL — The Fest
Top inspirations and influences behind LYBICA, by drummer Justin Foley:
1. The Cancer Conspiracy – The Audio Medium
This entire record is perfect. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in music, and I’ve been striving to write something even 1/100th as cool as it in the 20 years it’s been out. I also found out from the guitar player what guitar he used, bought it, then used it on the Lybica record. So yeah, I’d say it’s a rather large influence.
I’d been into post-rock/metal for a while but somehow never came across them until I saw them with Underoath. As soon as their set ended I beelined to the merch booth and bought everything they had. I studied Philip Jamieson’s Rig Rundown on Youtube and I own a Strymon El Capistan pedal because of it. Waking Season and Dust and Disquiet were both in heavy rotation during the writing process.
3. ISIS – Oceanic
When Doug, Joey and I first started talking about playing together, I was thinking of calling the band Oceanic in tribute to this record. It’s so fucking heavy even when it’s quiet. “Hym” is one of my favorite songs ever.
4. Sigur Ros – Untitled #8 (Popplagið)
The first time I heard this song, Adam D asked “Do you wanna hear what the end of the world sounds like?” That album is an exercise in musical patience with the greatest payoffs ever. I learned so much about texture and restraint from them. Also, Joey uses a bow on the opening track “Ascend”. It’s way more in a Jonsi way than a Page way.
5. The Pandemic
Credit where credit is due. Lybica may not have come about without the unexpected free time suddenly thrust upon me. It also ushered in some intense loneliness, anger and despair. After one particularly enraging moment of selfishness and lack of empathy from a particular public figure I became so incensed that I slammed 2 beers and wrote “Charyou” in about 15 minutes. It just came flying out.
6. The Allman Brothers Band – Jessica
This goes back to my parents being Allman Brothers fans and me loving this song when I was a little kid. I think it instilled in me very early on that instrumental music can be extremely hooky. I love how lyrical the guitar parts are in this song and I hope we can come close to something like that with Lybica.
7. Low – That’s How You Sing Amazing Grace
Alan Sparhawk is an absolute guitar tone god to me, and while working on this record I listened to a ton of Low, trying to get cleans as rich and lush as his. No chance, but it was worth a shot.
8. Yob – Beauty in Falling Leaves
I hoped to match the album’s heavy parts with the heavy parts from this record, “Our Raw Heart”, and that was probably a pipe dream as well. This song hits everything dynamically, from the delicate start and end to the steamroller middle. I love this band. And large parts of the song just sit on the flat 6 chord, I’m a complete sucker for that.
9. Thin Lizzy – Cowboy Song
I wanted to bring dueling guitar parts to post-rock/metal. There are tons of examples I could have picked, Maiden, Metallica, but the leads in this song just stand out to me. Simple, singable, catchy.
10. Cult of Luna – Ghost Trail
The middle part of this song just sits on this one chord progression for like 4 minutes, a normal song length in itself, while adding and subtracting layers. I think of this part often when I worry about a section of a song lasting too long, and it reminds me how powerful repetition can be when it’s executed properly, as it is here. I actually wish this part went longer.
More about LYBICA:
Justin had met fellow musicians Doug French (Gravel Kings) and Joey Johnson (Gravel Kings, Barriers Now Bridges, Days Spent) back in 2016 and they had repeatedly talked about jamming together but never actually got around to it. Justin and Doug, both drummers, often spoke about trying something different that allowed them each to get out from behind the kit. “I’ve always wanted to play a stringed instrument”, says Doug, “and bass felt natural since it is the other half of the rhythm section.”
Guitarist Joey Johnson grew up playing shows all over Florida, heavily influenced by early punk and then both hardcore and metal. “All the good places to get a beer kept asking me if I had met Justin, since they know I play music. I heard about him in our town for about a year before we actually met through mutual friends. We hit it off when we started talking instrumental music.”
So, when Doug and Joey eventually received the demos from Justin, they really liked what they heard. For several months the three emailed music back and forth while learning the parts, especially Justin (guitar) and Doug (bass) on instruments they weren’t experienced playing. They eventually started playing together with the drum tracks from the demos blasting through the PA speakers. Before too long they had enough music for a full record and the direction of the band was starting to take shape.
The trio soon discovered that they had something else in common besides music. “The three of us are pretty big cat people” Justin points out, “so it only made sense to call the band Lybica.” Named after a small wildcat species native to Africa that is widely considered the godfather of the modern house cat, Lybica is the first known feline species to be tamed and domesticated by humans.
Fast forward 10,000 years, and today Lybica the band are as addictive as catnip. With the recent addition of drummer Chris Lane (A Brilliant Lie) to the line-up and plans to release their debut self-titled full-length album later this year, Lybica is poised to make some serious noise in 2022 and beyond, fur-real!