Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chicago band The Luck of Eden Hall putting fresh take on psychedelic music with new CD


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Psychedelic music is alive and well, thanks to Chicago band The Luck of Eden Hall.

But under the direction of frontman Greg Curvey, the music sounds fresh and not dated, as reflected on the band's new CD, "Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1," released on July 1.

The Luck of Eden Hall, www.theluckofedenhall.com, will perform July 20 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave., www.beatkitchen.com, as part of a CD release party.

Red Light Driver and Umbra & the Volcan Siege also are on the bill. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at www.ticketweb.com.

I had the chance to talk to Curvey about the making of the new CD.


Q - Of course, the band has a new CD out, "Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1," the followup to 2009's "When The Clock Starts to Wake Up As We Go to Sleep."

I think with the last record, we finally hit the bullseye as far as my production capabilities and how I wanted a record to sound.

So this one's much along the same lines. It's just a new one.

Q - Did you have any particular goals for this album?

The goal for this album is that I want more people to hear it. It's such a shame to paint a beautiful picture, and have it sit it in your living room and only your friends get to see it.

I want everyone to have the chance to listen to it. So we're trying like crazy to get it out there.


Q - Have you already started "Vol. 2?"

Yeah, "Vol. 2" is finished. When we started on this project, our drummer, Carlos Mendoza, who has two beautiful twins, had one of them diagnosed with cancer.

Fortunately, the cancer has cleared up, but it totally occupied Carlos' time. I also play drums, so Mark Lofgren, my bass player, and I started to record the project.

We were getting all different types of songs that were coming out that didn't quite feel like they made a cohesive record. We had more than a double album on our hands.

So all the songs have been done for a long time. We wanted to pick the songs that really flowed well together as a side A and side B.

Q - Did you look at the order of the songs? I think the song "Chrysalide" is a great way to start off the album.

Absolutely. The funny thing behind that song is it almost didn't make the record because I couldn't get a mix out of it. 

It finally came together, but I was getting very frustrated with it. And it turned out being the best song. We feel that it's the best song.

Q - And I think that's a song that can get some attention. Yeah, it's psychedelic, but it has some pop sensibilities. 

Right, absolutely.

Q - That song reminds me of early Pink Floyd. Would you consider them as one of your big influences?

I'm influenced by so much, so it's difficult for me to pick a main influence. 

But I would say that what I'm trying to go for here isn't a retro sound. However, I want to utilize the sounds that I always thought were cool from that era, from that psychedelic era, like the thin vocals, the backward guitars, the sitar, stuff like that.

Q - How would you describe the band's sound?

I came up with the phrase, Popped Psychedelic Rock and Rollism. I like a hook.

When I'm writing a song, I like to have it so there is a melodic part that you can hum to.


Q - You guys have been on the scene for a long time. In 2009, you bumped into your friend Billy Corgan, who you hadn't seen in 10 years. How did the meeting go? Did it seem like 10 years had passed?

He came out to see us, and we just picked up the conversation where it had left off, that kind of thing.

Q - Your respective bands were on the scene at the same time, but Smashing Pumpkins hit it so big. Any regrets about your band not achieving the same success?

It is still what I want to do. I would love to be able to make a living off The Luck Of Eden Hall.

Right when our first single came out, my first drummer moved back home, then we were forced to get a different drummer.

You know, things like that. Life gets in the way sometimes. I definitely feel that I'm writing the best stuff now that I've ever done.

Q - So you're not doing this full time now?

No. I have my own business. I do stenciling and murals. And Carlos is a teacher. He teaches music. And the bass player, Mark, is a teacher who teaches video, how to edit and stuff like that.

So that's what we do to make the meals.

Q - Did you do the album cover for "Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1?"

I did. I do all the artwork. There's one album cover that I didn't do, and that's "Subterrene," because my little girl was born right at that time, and my hands were literally full and I couldn't do it, so a friend of ours did the cover for us.

But that's one of the things I enjoy. I like putting together the package. I really enjoy doing that.

I've created props. If you come see us play, we have props to try to help set the mood.

Q - Is that to kind of add to the mood of the songs?

Yeah, yeah. I want people to come in and experience something fun. I want the smell in the air to be different. 

I built a couple of these optical wheels that spin. I have different wheels, and some make it look like the room is bubbling, some look like it is going down the drain, just different things like that.

Q - When should people expect "Vol. 2" to come out?

The label in England is going to release a four-song EP of us on colored vinyl on Oct. 3. We're going to coincide "Vol. 2" with that.

Q - What should people expect from it?

It is a continuation of "Vol. 1." It really is, because all the songs were written at the same time.

We just kind of placed them in an order that we felt flowed right and felt right.

It's every bit as good as "Vol. 1." We didn't pack "Vol. 1" with the good stuff.

As a matter of fact, we were really trying hard to spread the songs around, so that one album wasn't stronger than the other one.