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Exclusive Interview with The Life Electric

Hailing from Boston, The Life Electric anticipates the release of their second album The Real You, set to come out on March 25. At the beginning of January, the band debuted “Heartbeat” on idobi Radio. “Heartbeat” is the second single from The Real You, following the release of “Gone, Gone, Gone.”

Even with all of their preparation for The Real You, The Life Electric was able to find time to answer some questions about the upcoming album, as well as some of their band dynamics.

 

How did you all meet each other? Was it through your previous associations with Action Verbs and Gold Star Morning, or did something else happen that brought you all together?

Joey: It was through our common friend and common sound engineer Chris Thomas from Strewnshank Studios that we all met.  I was looking for a new band and they were looking for a new singer.  As luck would have it, we both had Chris in common and he was able to put us in contact.

What is the meaning behind the name “The Life Electric?” Do you each have a different interpretation of it? Choosing a name can be difficult sometimes, so how did you decide that this was the right name for your band?

Joey: I remember that we were trying to think of names that would convey the type of music we wanted to play.  I think it was Ben that came up with the actual name.  It clicked pretty quickly for us on that end.  The name has always felt as big as we hope to be someday.

Who/what were your influences for getting into the music business, especially performing music? If you weren’t playing music currently, what do you think you would be doing?

Joey: I was definitely a very late bloomer as far as music is concerned. I’ve always been obsessed with music and musicians, but artistically I tended to lean towards writing (not very good) screenplays.  Through the end of high school and throughout college and my early years out of school, I had this notion that the only way to get across these “big ideas” I had was to write literally big screenplays.  I was in the middle of one of the messes at my computer, stuck with no place to go, when I decided out of the blue to look on Craigslist for anyone who may need a vocalist.  That led directly to my first band.  So my crappy writing really was my biggest musical influence.

Ben: One of my best friends in high school got me into actually performing and playing in a band.  I wanted to be like Nirvana, The Beatles, Foo Fighters… I was in marching band and concert band, but being in a band felt so much more personal and powerful.  I really don’t know what I’d be doing without music.  I come from a musical family on my dad’s side, where there was always a string instrument in our hand.  Maybe an aspiring film director?  Something creative, where people would be forced to listen to me!

You’ve been categorized as sounding like “a combination of modern disco, The Flaming Lips, and pure fucking rock.” Is this a statement with which you can agree? Or do you think you have a different sound from what’s been stated? I can definitely hear The Flaming Lips influence, but there are also songs, like “Don’t Wait up for Me,” that I can also make out some Kings of Leon. What are you personally going for regarding sound?

Joey: We’ve  definitely gotten the Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, etc., comparisons since we started. Personally, I love being compared to any of those bands, and I take it as a high compliment.  Where I think it can get a little sticky is when you feel compelled to emulate those bands.  We’ve been good about not doing that and sort of letting the chips fall where they may as far as comparisons go.  I’m always open to new sounds and seeing what weird places we can take things musically because I know on account of my voice and my writing style we’ll always have, for better or worse, some sort of anchor that brings us back to sounding like The Life Electric. So far it’s been for the better.

 

What is your writing process usually? I know that some bands have a method, and others really don’t, and both can produce some phenomenal music. What was like writing The Real You? What were your inspirations for the album?

 

Joey: I’ll let Ben answer the true nitty-gritty of that question.  I’m fortunate in that generally Ben and Cory will come up with great ideas and either send them to me to see what I think, or work them out in practice with me.  My job is easy and my process is straightforward.  Listen & repeat until something happens.  They make the sausage.  I just have to cook it.

Ben: I thought you were going to say, “I just have to eat it.” {laughs} I wrote The Real You years ago, before even being in a band.  I was listening to a lot of DJ Tiesto at the time, and I wanted to blend that with a modern rock song.  The intro is the bridge is the outro.  But the chorus… I remember when I came up with that, it felt very special, like I managed to find the right balance with the lyrics and the feel of the music.

What does the single “Heartbeat” mean to you? What message do you hope comes through for your audience in this single?

Joey: “Heartbeat” is about being with someone that you know you shouldn’t be with and feeling like you’re unable to leave without destroying that person and potentially feeling like you may destroy the life that you made for yourself up to that point.  At night when you hear their heart beating it’s one more reminder that life isn’t as simple as just leaving because it’s the right thing to do.  Life is a messy thing where humans and human emotions are involved.  I hope that anyone who listens isn’t left with such a dour message. (laughs).  I hope that some folks can relate and enjoy it on that level and that everyone else can enjoy it as a catchy tune about stethoscopes. I believe we did write the first song about heartbreak, right?

What was it like to work with Brian Charles? What were your first reactions when you found out you’d be working with him?

Ben: I remember Joey telling me, and I was over the moon.  I live in an apartment, so I was, like, a silent scream.

Joey: Brian is just an awesome guy.  If he had nothing to do with our band, he still would be someone I would want to hang out with and ask for advice.  He brings such joy and passion to every song that it becomes contagious.  I was a big fan of a band that Brian is in called The Sheila Divine well before I was even thinking about entering the realm of music myself. So, when I realized we’d be working together it was like getting a little pat on the back from me 10 years ago.  I knew it would be great and I wasn’t wrong.

I know that you’re playing an album release show at the Great Scott in March. Are you planning on doing any touring in the near future to promote The Real You? What is your favorite and/or dream venue to play?

Ben: For sure.  It’s being planned at the moment but we’ll be playing any place that’ll have us.  It’d be cool to one day play The Fillmore, Red Rocks… I wish I could play the original Austin City Limits stage.  Even the new venue is pretty cool.  Any place historic, to feel connected to that somehow.   The Ryman, CBGB’s if that still existed.

You’ve opened for a number of well-known bands in the past. If you could open for/tour with any band(s), past or present, who would it be and why?

Joey: That’s a tough one.  There are so many great bands big and small that we all listen to.  I try to listen to everything I can and try to be open to as much as I can. I know this is probably the least cool thing I can say, but I would absolutely love to open for Pearl Jam.  They’ve unfairly been pegged as sort of joyless from their grunge days when being joyless might as well have been currency but they are one of the best bands out there and they have been for a very long time.  The love they have for their fans and the passion they put into their live shows are something I genuinely admire.

Ben: (laughs) I don’t care if that’s cool or not, that’d be great to tour with Pearl Jam.  Let’s see, if I were to choose a band in the past, I’d say… James Brown in the early sixties?  Party with Zeppelin in the seventies?

What is one thing you hope your fans take away from your music as a whole?

 Joey: I hope they know we meant it. And I hope eventually they sing along and mean it too.

To get to know more about The Real You, releasing this March on the 25th. Check out The Life Electric’s singles “Gone, Gone, Gone,” and “Heartbeat.” For their earlier music, check out their BandCamp page.

Written by Samantha Schweitzer

Music business major at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Aspiring writer. Advocate for people with mental illnesses. Tattoo and body piercing enthusiast.

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