Lauds | Interview | “We’re a guitar band first and foremost”
Lauds is part of the dream pop-shoegaze-post-punk continuum, but carries an unpredictable edge.
Lauds are a band from Wilmington, NC that was formed in the spring of 2019 by songwriters McKay Glasgow and J. Holt Evans III. Bonding over their love of Slowdive and Neil Young, the band plays in the style of the former while channeling some of latter’s more untamed guitarscapes. Glasgow and Evans were both craving an outlet to make guitar-oriented rock music, and Lauds is the result. Glasgow is also a member of Tumbleweed, a folk-rock group, but had songwriting ideas that didn’t fit within their confines. Teaming up with Evans, who has spent a lot of his free time in recent years recording reverbed-out bedroom pop songs, the two founded Lauds as a project to unleash their Jazzmaster ambitions.
How did you get together to form Lauds?
Evans: My dad does a lot of music production work in Wilmington, North Carolina which is where we’re all from and grew up. McKay and I met while he was finishing up his folk band Tumbleweed’s first record at my dad’s studio. We kind of just immediately became pals, starting jamming, grabbing beers and the rest is history I guess. We were both sitting on piles of old demos that neither of us had found a home for and realized we were on to something when we started playing them for each other and rearranging them together to be all about the guitars. We added my brother Boyce on drums and our friend Rett on bass after that and started playing shows.
What inspires your music?
Evans: We’re a guitar band first and foremost. I think when you look under the Lauds hood we’re really just striving to capture feelings from different frames of mind and experiences that are meaningful to us and turn those into memorable guitar melodies. I’m a huge reverb and chorus guy because my dad played that U2 album ‘October’ too many times in the car when I was a kid. I feel like those sounds are almost integral to how I approach the guitar for better or for worse. We kind of started Lauds on this half joke premise of what if there was a band that sounded like Neil Young and Crazy Horse covering Slowdive. We really don’t sound like that at all, which I guess is probably a good thing, but we did try to cover ‘Cortez the Killer’ at our first show. Very grateful there doesn’t seem to be footage of that anywhere.
Glasgow: We want to write songs that we like and that are interesting sonically and hopefully that at least our friends will like. For me, a lot of the appeal in performing and writing now comes from the ways the guitar riffs interlock and the generally very affected sounds that are a bit off center. Lately we’ve been putting more emphasis on trying to make songs really groove with the backing drums and bass so that people can move around more at shows. It’s just more fun for everybody to want to bounce around.
What can you tell us about the 4-track EP that you released via Fort Lowell Records?
Glasgow: I think it’s safe to say we feel it’s our strongest work to date. The recording process was less about trying to come up with perfect parts and more about getting the sounds right. We tried to limit adding additional guitars in the mix and keep the arrangements replicable for live shows. It’s a bit more distorted and aggressive at moments than any of our other stuff but it has the familiar melodic breaks and bouncy baselines that will always be a part of our songs. There is also more singing in lower registers to fit the mood of some of the tracks.
Evans: We took months and months between putting out our first batch of singles and releasing the EP. The pandemic definitely slowed us down but in hindsight I’m really glad we took our time with these songs and the writing process in general. Like McKay said, we spent a lot of time trying to hone in on a unified vibe for the record that fit the mood of the songs and I think that extra time really helped pull everything together in the end.
What about the single, ‘Are You There All Alone’?
Glasgow: Holt 3 and I had a couple weeks where we sat down and tried writing in post-surf stupors. Basically we sat there with an acoustic guitar and bass, not overthinking and came up with a couple songs we felt good about at the time. But as every songwriter knows, it’s the days after that determine whether or not you were being delusional. We listened later and were like, “That was okay.” ‘Are You There All Alone’ was one of those songs. We started thinking, maybe this is a better way to write songs than laboring over them. We have enough songs now where we can let a song go for a while and come back to it so that has kept us from agonizing over trying to make a song work that just isn’t there yet.
Evans: That one was written quickly. We both locked in on a chord progression and 5 minutes later we were giggling like little kids. We knew that we had just written a great song. Can’t recommend the post-surf stupor enough.
Are you planning to release an album in the near future?
Glasgow: We’ve got about 12 songs ready to go after EP 2. The plan is to get a full album done and out this summer before some of the guys head off for school. We have felt really inspired to write music so we aren’t wanting to take the next six months for granted.
How are you coping with the current situation as a new band? Are you excited about being on stage?
Evans: We love playing live. It’s probably at least 90% of the reason we started the band, to share our music with our friends in a common space and have a great time doing it. Obviously we wish the state of the world wasn’t what it currently is but we’re trying to make the most out of it while striving to be as safe as possible for all involved. We’re stoked to have added our good friends and great musicians Ross Page and Gavin Campbell to the band. I feel like we’re probably the best we have ever been as a live unit in terms of tightness and musicianship.
Glasgow: We are trying to be responsible and not overly fearful. We have canceled some shows out of town in February but we are planning shows for the Spring and hoping for the best. We would be very excited to get back to playing consistently through the spring and summer if it’s possible. And if we can’t then it’s just more time to record.
Let’s end this interview with some of your favorite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?
Evans: I know ‘Twin Plagues’ by the band Wednesday is a new album that’s been on heavy rotation for all of the guys recently. Great heavy shoegaze with an almost country bent out of Asheville, NC. Siouxsie and the Banshees ‘Tinderbox’ and ‘Script of the Bridge’ by the Chameleons are classics that are big for us. We also all liked the newest Deafheaven album a lot as well. I feel like I tell everybody I know to listen to that record. It’s amazing. Other than that, been bumping this bootleg copy of Mobb Deep’s ‘The Infamous’ that I got on CD for $2 at a gas station a lot in the car
Thank you. Last word is yours.
Evans: Thanks! We feel really privileged to be a part of an incredible music scene in our hometown. Lots of melodic and fun guitar music in all sorts of flavors. Our drummer Ross is the king of Wilmington and in about 18 bands and all of them are great. Check out Seeking Madras (jangletown), AZZA (chorused out political punk), Nice Derek (the only band on this list Ross is not in), and Color Temperature (like Guided by Voices covering Talk Talk).