Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
“We got a lot of crossed arms and tilted heads” : Best Fit speaks to Light Asylum

“We got a lot of crossed arms and tilted heads” : Best Fit speaks to Light Asylum

05 September 2012, 11:55

When Bruno Coviello met Shannon Funchess while on tour with Bunny Rabbit five years ago, they were in different bands and were working on their own projects. But after a month on the road and realising they were just about musical soul mates, the two got into the studio and Light Asylum was born.

“We never met each other before, but we got into a van and spent 30 days touring the country,” Coviello explains. “So we got to know each other and got along really well. We realised very early on that we had similar music tastes. So we talked about making music together in the future, and then I happened to run into her at a party and she wanted to work on new material. She stopped working with the producer and wanted to do something more live than studio based. I was down to write some songs. Then we rehearsed on a Thursday, and we had a gig on a Saturday. So we had a couple of days to come up with a 20-minute set. We wrote the ground work for ‘Shallow Tears’, ‘Dark Allies’ and ‘A Certain Person’ in the first rehearsal and took it from there. And it just got the ball rolling and got us to where we are right now.” The duo’s working chemistry was so strong that they managed to write more songs than they could have actually put on their self-titled debut album, which they released earlier this summer via Mexican Summer.

“To be honest, we didn’t really have a set idea when we first got into the studio what it was going to sound like,” he revealed. “We had to come up with something fairly quickly, and I had some equipment that I knew we could use for the gig. And for the most part, it’s the same gear we’ve been using for the past three years. But we have similar tastes in music, which is important. She has a lot of experience in performance and has been on many artists’ records. I have more of a studio experience with DJ-ing. So I came to the table with a more DJ perspective.”

Coviello continued, “I think it was more organic rather than sitting down and thinking about who our influences were and what we wanted it to sound like. It was more inspired because we had a short period of time to come up with something. So we just kind of went for it.”

Despite their different backgrounds – Funchess grew up in the American Northwest region while Coviello’s family was from Italy – their various experiences on the road as well as the places they have separately travelled to and lived in shaped the multi-layered and electro sound that has become Light Asylum’s signature. However one place that has linked the two is Brooklyn – New York’s 21st century answer to downtown Manhattan’s Bowery. But Coviello is hesitant about being known as just another Brooklyn band. “I love Brooklyn, and I give props to it,” he says. “But there’s a lot to be said when you call yourself a Brooklyn band. So I hesitate to call us a “Brooklyn band,” but all the press calls us that.”

Regardless of his feelings toward titles, Coviello does adore the area not just for the music scene it has been breeding for years but for the endless opportunities the New York borough has offered Light Asylum. “Living in Brooklyn for the past 10 years or so, we have many different friends and collaborators in different scenes in folk and straight up dance music,” he conveys. “there is a lot of amazing music to be heard in Brooklyn right now. There are so many venues. That’s what made us. The ability to play in Brooklyn once a weekend, every weekend for a year since we started playing together. We played at least a show a week, and it was because we had such great access to so many places where people were coming out to see bands.”

And all those gigs and the mutual support Light Asylum has gotten from the music community in the area has helped grow their fan base and get their sounds out there. “I think that that was really instrumental in pushing us in the beginning because there were all these artists that we respected who were supporting us,” he says. “But I’ve heard from fans that they heard about us through Telepathe writing that we’re their favourite band on MySpace. So I think these kinds of things helped shape where we ended up. But as far as our sound, I think it was more a connection that Shannon and I had with each other rather than any kind of outside entity.”

One of Light Asylum’s big fans as well as early supporters was James Murphy. Not only has he got the band to open for one of LCD Soundsystem’s last gigs but also invited Funchess to sing at the band’s goodbye gig. “James Murphy has been a big supporter of us, and Shannon got to sing at the last LCD show and she’s going to be in a film about that last show,” Coviello reveals. “But we got the chance to play the first show of that tour, which was their last tour, which was in the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. That was amazing. James went out of his way after we played to let the audience know that Light Asylum opened for them, and that LCD Soundsystem chose us to open. It wasn’t like a booking agent who set it up. It was really their choice, and they’ve been really supportive. We’ve had the chance to open for such amazing bands – bands that we really respect.”

With all this exposure, it only makes sense for Light Asylum to take their music out of their Brooklyn home base and bring it to audiences across the pond. Although the duo were practically unheard of when they initially played in London a year or so ago, the band’s recent returns to the UK have welcomed them with enthusiastically open arms.

“We get a really good reaction. London has been great,” he explains. “The first time we did our first show because the first time we played was with CocoRosie and Yeasayer. And those were opening shows and theatre gigs. But we got to play a show in Club Motherfucker, which is in London. And the first time we played it, we don’t think the kids knew what we sounded like. We got a lot of crossed arms and tilted heads. And then we ended up playing the Club Motherfucker anniversary party a year later. They asked us back, and it was completely different. I think at that point London has heard of us and our songs. So we got the same feeling we did in New York where kids come to the front and go crazy and dance and get sweaty with us and sing the lyrics back at us, which is always an amazing feeling. It’s been great. There hasn’t been an audience that has been completely anti-Light Asylum so far.”

The future looks pretty positive for these two like minded musicians who just coincidently met on the road. And the songwriting and recording has never ended. They hope to record the songs that they wrote when Light Asylum first started, but unfortunately didn’t make the first effort and release that material to their growing fan base. “We plan to put together and show new material to the world because the world is fast right now with the Internet,” he says. “I remember when the album came out, they said, ‘Oh we heard that already.’ So it’s important to have new material out.”

Light Asylum is out now via Mexican Summer.

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