Electric Lights Flashing Very Fast
'Eee ... 'Ello!'
A wise person once asked, "What's in a name?" To which some arrogant
ass replied, "Everything." The less presumptuous among us aren't so
quick to accept that answer, but one could hardly contest the fact that
Electric Lights Flashing Very Fast is big enough to contain five words,
nine syllables and one obscure Syd Barrett reference. But if their name
is big, this quirky, NYC-based trio's sound is downright
brobdingnagian. Conjuring the camp ferocity of the Louis XIV (T. Rex),
the epic scale of The Arcade Fire (ELO), and the debauched whimsy of
Genesis, ELFVF smash their drums, guitars and electronics into an
unexampled amalgam of synth-enhanced psych rock.
Coming off their recent UK tour, Electric Lights Flashing Very Fast
have emerged from The Walkmen's Marcata Studios with their debut EP.
And thus we at Cult Hero herald their formal proclamation... Let There
Chatting recently with Jason Comis w/ help from the the other two members, Evetson Watts and John Paquin, I first wondered if they had ever been confused by fans with the seminal '70s and '80s band Electric Light Orchestra?! "We, ourselves, confuse ourselves with ELO. There are two reasons for this: 1) A rough approximation of our sound may be made by playing 'Xanadu: Music From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' at
speaker-brutalizing volume. (This, by the way, is not a more
cost-effective alternative to buying our EP now available for $4 at
cult-hero.com.) 2) Our singer bears a striking resemblance to Jeff
Lynne. Under the right circumstances, however, even Jessica Alba could
bear a striking resemblance to Jeff Lynne."
"Pop Quiz: Under which circumstance(s) would Jessica Alba be made to resemble Jeff Lynne?"
a) aviator sunglasses
b) big, round hair
c) big, round beard
d) all of the above
Your new EP title 'Let There Be Lights' is very to the point, but
I'm wondering if it originates from a more personal standpoint? "The point cited by the title is the one in which The Creatrix trumpets
her resounding proclamation and proceeds to craft Electric Lights
Flashing Very Fast. With the left overs, she goes on to squeeze off a
few planets, stars and you people. The title should also be taken as a
plea, "Let there be lights, please?" The "please" is implied."
If there was one track on this EP that truly encapsulated Electric
Lights at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "Finest on the EP, eh? Hmm... Our label favors Never Been To London. Our
friends in London favor Up Where We Belong. The song most often found
on fans' myspace pages is Darwinian Begin Again. Here Comes Mr. Night
is an antipodal homage to an ELO track (and, you know, there really
aren't enough antipodal homages to ELO tracks out there.) Nevertheless,
most people seem to like Arthur Layne; so we'll go with that one,
because we're people pleasers. Arthur Layne it is!
And whilst we're revealing things, just where did that band name
originate and what else could you so easily have been called ... ? "The choice to use an entire sentence as our textual identity was born
of both the desire to transcend the ubiquity of actual band names, and
the abject self-loathing so often at the root of marketing disasters
like the difficult-to-remember band name. When it turned out "Kittens
Are Great But It Sucks That They've Got To Grow Into Ratty Old Cats"
was already taken by a skiffle outfit from Des Moines, we turned from
sentences to sentence fragments. The rest is history."
... And is it true that it also features an obscure Syd Barrett
reference?! "Funny you should mention that. While recently filling out our CMJ application, we (and by "we" I mean our innumerable, nameless handlers) considered re-tooling our descriptive paragraph* to instead say,
"Electric Lights Flashing Very Fast is big enough to contain 5 words, 9
syllables and one no-longer-quite-so-obscure Syd Barrett reference." We
figured CMJ applications reviewers, unlike our star-struck fans, aren't
disposed to abide the verbose meanderings of pseudo-literate band
members; so we opted to simply drop the word "obscure." Anyway, as
no-longer-obscure as it may be, it's no good trying to find the
reference without listening to the entire discography... Barrett's and
*Our "descriptive paragraph" is something we use in lieu of the bio
our numerous, nameless handlers are too embarrassed to write."
Do you have a funny, possibly embarrassingly story you can tell us
that may have happened to you on this road to stardom?! "Where is that road to stardom? Somewhere in Newark, I imagine. Wherever
it is, I'm sure it's hilarious."
If you could thank anyone for where you find yourselves today, who
would it be and why? "I thank that man in the mirror, 'cause he's always so happy to see me!*"
"*This response was written by the band mate who fancies himself a
leading man of the George Clooney variety. Unfortunately, you're more
likely to see him as a Jon-Favreau-type side-kick. Actually, he's even
less charismatic than John Favreau, which is saying something because
John Favrau is universally understood to be one of the least
charismatic figures inhabiting the planet. That being writ, Zarthura is
a decent movie."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) song would you love to cover today
if asked ... and why?! "Can one cover oneself? If so, we'd cover ourselves. We're plenty 80s and cheesy. There we go mistaking ourselves for ELO again."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I don't know. Do they taste like ostriches? I like ostriches."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Electric Lights' new CD, just answer this easy question: ELO was a band formed by Jeff Lynne back in which city in England?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: ELECTRIC LIGHTS CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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