Raucous Melbourne six-piece Lurch & Chief are steadily finding their niche. With the release of their Breathe EP comes a more focused collection of songs, all of which explore intense emotion in one way or another. We spoke to vocalist Lilibeth Hall about the band’s new direction, the recording process and their imminent national tour, which – comprised of 15 dates – is their biggest yet.
Congratulations, firstly, on the EP. I think it’s more cohesive than Wiped Out was, and there’s also a darker sound to it; would you agree?
Yeah, for sure. We wrote all the songs together over a two week period when we went away as a group to the Grampians. Bloody gorgeous. So that’s a new process in relation to our past EP, which was tracks written and recorded quite separately.
We were lucky enough to record [Breathe] all at once and have it all done together, so I guess the cohesion is apparent. And yeah, definitely darker. Changing times for all of us, I guess, and different things weaving themselves into our lives and different feelings going on.
And being in the Grampians would have had a huge impact on the end result. How did being in that beautiful natural environment influence the process?
Well basically we were just away from all outside influences, like Melbourne. We took ourselves out of day-to-day life and it was just us as a group. We all stayed on the same page and it was a lot more… liberating, I guess. You’d kind of wake up and work on one song and really get a lot done quickly.
Most of it was conceived up there. Some of the things we’d dabbled with or started the idea back in Melbourne, but it was all just up there. The environment was beautiful; you’d step outside, look at the mountains… There was a lot of spirituality and earth energy up there.
The title of the EP reflects how it was a release for us all. It was therapeutic, getting all that out – the angst, and the different emotions that life throws at you. It’s nice; it’s like a little time-stamp, really.
What are some of the more specific themes of the EP? What kind of emotions were you conveying?
Speaking on behalf of myself, growth, anxiety, loss, relationships… All sorts of things, really. Sometimes you write it all – you wrote it about someone else – and then you turn around and it’s like, wow, it’s like me talking to myself. But yes, you just kind of let the creative monster and angel play it out.
Was there a lot of material that missed out on the EP, or were you focused on those five songs?
We had a lot of ideas and we sort of voted them off [laughs]. So there’s still a lot to come, really. I’m really excited to write more; writing is the most beautiful, liberating part.
We’re definitely heading in a slightly different direction. At every stage, as musicians and artists, you’ve just got to be true to what you like and your tastes, and let the music monster evolve and steer you. You’ve got to be in the present and validate exactly where you’re at.
Your live shows are incredibly high-energy, but are you worried at all about maintaining that over such a busy period of performing?
No. I find the more you gig the more you can learn to tap into that headspace and have fun with your alter ego and get out and about and do some weird stuff [laughs].
You and Hayden (Somerville, co-vocalist) are obviously very different singers. Did you ever have difficulty combining those two styles, or has it always been a very natural relationship?
We offer very different qualities and tones. You’re always discovering new things about your performance and your voice and the way that you can fit into the overall picture. I guess we’re growing and experimenting with that; it’s been kind of organic. I think we complement each other. Sometimes if we’re rehearsing and Hayden is messing around and singing a higher part, someone will actually think it’s me [laughs]. So in some ways our voices are quite similar. The good thing about us is that we do have complementary voices, so you’ve just got to work hard at executing that.
Tickets for Lurch & Chief’s national Breathe EP tour are available here.