Light Bearer are one of the most exciting bands of today, creating a thoroughly intriguing work in recent full length Lapsus. Vocalist Alex Cf took some time to answer a couple of questions we had for him about the record, the band and the future.
Scene Point Blank: How did the band form, I understand you don't all live in London (I could be mistaken on this!)?
Alex Cf: I've worked on various narrative musical projects before and from my past experiences I really wanted to set out and create something very specific with a strong artistic aesthetic and story arc. But I also wanted to forward ideologies within that music, the rejection of organised religion, to address radical feminism, evolutionary biology. Religion constructed such an elaborate framework which oppresses so many, I was interested in discussing this line of thought. I am not a musician, finding a group of people to help bring this to fruition was really difficult and took me a year. Lee (sound scapes) and I have been friends for over a decade and he has always been involved in noise and drone projects. Lee was very supportive of the idea, and with a love for the source material which would eventually become the concept for the band, we forged forward. I was very lucky to meet Matthew (guitar) who shared a love for heavy melodic music and a similar political persuasion and also as a writer himself, found a joy in creating a crossover of music and literature. He also became the primary song writer. He invited a number of his friends to join, Jamie, Liam and Tom, We wrote our first album "Lapsus" and played as this line up for 2 years, and then due to differences of opinion, Liam and Tom left and were replaced by Joseph on drums and Gerfried on bass. I have known Gerfried for years and myself and Matthew play with Joseph and him in a few other bands, so it was a logical conclusion which has worked out really well. So we are now Matthew, Lee, Gerfried, Jamie, Joseph and myself.
Scene Point Blank: Could you tell me about the writing process?
Alex Cf: Matthew is our main song writer and wrote the majority of Lapsus, and a large portion of what has been written for Silver Tongue. Matthew and I sit together and sculpt melodies around the narrative, and then he takes these ideas to practice so that everyone else can turn those disparate ideas into a song, to add their own ideas. It's crucial to have a strong backbone and texture to those ideas, which Lee, who creates the soundscapes definitely brings to our sound, and fortunately past and present members have all been very good at adding their own styles and ideas. We have had a turbulent career with lots of members coming and going, which is sad and stressful for all involved, but we have held it together and continue to create. Ideas are born of enthusiasm and passion, and we are excited to see where we go from here.
Scene Point Blank: Lapsus has one of the most intriguing narratives and concepts I've come across in a long time, would you explain a little about it?
Alex Cf: The story is about enlightenment, beginning with the birth of the universe and the first sentience claiming it as its own creation, despite that not being the case. All subsequent sentient beings bow before it, and the most loyal is Lucifer. He is asked to submit to humanity, personified as Adam, and he refuses through his love for the false "creator". As punishment he is cast out, and in this act realises the falsity in the creators claim. Through this he charges himself to become his namesake, the "Light Bearer" - to bestow all other life with the truth, that there is no creator, and that the oppressive false god must be stopped. The story continues in the subsequent records, dealing with the birth of sentience in life on earth, the passing of the torch to the mitochondrial Eve. Its about forwarding ideologies we adhere to, destroying the walls religion has built to support willful ignorance, which has separated gender and sexuality and the fundamentals of understanding the world around us.
Scene Point Blank: What are the inspirations and influences behind the record?
Alex Cf: Despite being a devout atheist, I find the Judeo-Christian story of the casting out of Lucifer, the mythology around him and the roots of his name and entire concept to be the perfect starting point in which to hijack that mythology and turn it on its head. I think the starting point was Paradise Lost (written by John Milton), which is in some ways a tragedy of rejection, revenge and arrogance, but Lucifer's voice is that of a heart broken lover. The author Philip Pullman set out to create a series of books that incorporated ideology through allegory. His ideas are based around the qualities that we as a band all adhere to, the rejection of organised religion, the acceptance of sexuality, of love and the removal of harmful belief which oppresses women and non human animals. These are all things that matter a great deal to us, and I felt that his goal was to be admired greatly. It was this quality, alongside a passion for evolutionary biology, that inspired me to create a story that weaves all these ideas together. I like the idea of creating work that adds to the concept of atheology, that atheism itself needs it own art and literature.
Scene Point Blank: When you started the band did you know where you wanted the story to go and then write around that central idea? Is this the beginning of a much bigger concept?
Alex Cf: Yes, I have mapped out an idea of the entire story, but like most things, and in this peculiar drawn out storytelling, I have the time to change and revise bits and pieces. In one sense, Lapsus is the prologue to the tale, it moves away from Lucifer and on to the metaphorical Eve in Silver Tongue, although Lucifer plays a role throughout all four records. The culmination of each story in the subsequent records comes to a head in our final record. It's a lot of fun to write! Everything ties together, there are distinct voices throughout. But I imagine a lot will change over the course of our career, the story is malleable. When we write we set out a plan of what emotions and interactions need to be invoked, Matthew wrote specific melodies that represent the different characters in the story, Joe and Lee will shape drums and noise scapes around specific events within the story, its all very hands on and I hope that this translates in the music.
Scene Point Blank: I feel the physical product (the LP, the limited LP etc...) is particularly important to entire theme, you designed these? Could you tell us how they fit with the music and the story itself?
Alex Cf: Yes this is very important, we wanted the artwork to be as rich as everything else we produced. The concept is quite complex so its gives me a lot of food for thought. I wanted there to be a tactile side to it all, that mirrors the story, for each record to have a physical quality. We also wanted to do limited edition releases, from the die cut/screen printed LP to a special tape box set, amongst various other prints and art projects. We may stray into other territories at some point, but of course this all takes up a lot of time and personal money so we are limited by this. I guess if you find passion in creating something like this then it doesn't really matter how much time to dedicate to it, as long as people like it or at least appreciate what we put in. We are a staunchly DIY band, so what we put into this is for nothing more than to create something worthwhile.
Scene Point Blank: There's a number of different musical styles (post-many things, ambient electronic) in your work, do you have any major influences?
Alex Cf: We're influenced by a lot of bands, from sludge, hardcore and post rock, shoegaze, even 90's emo. I don't think we necessarily try to emulate any particular band, but we are walking on well worn ground, music of this kind had become rather derivative. I guess you just have to be aware of this and try to create something that you enjoy, even if its not new. But the music is a product of a bunch of guys getting together and playing music that we all love, we always have productive practices and what we create is full of passion. Each member brings different influences, and I think its refreshing that some of us have never taken a huge interest in the whole "post" genre, so whatever that generates is a new angle. Lapsus was a bumpy ride, so far Silver Tongue is a different take on things, so we shall see how that pans out!
Scene Point Blank: Do you many future plans in the way of touring? You've done some European shows, is America on your horizon at all?
Alex Cf: We just toured Europe with Monachus from Sweden and we have some tentative plans to tour Scandinavia next year and yes, at some point America. Its all a case of having the time and money. We hope to play as much as possible. Now we have a stable line up, we can start to make plans.
Scene Point Blank: What kind of future do you see for the band? Have you thought about what would happen once this particular story is told?
Alex Cf: We hope to write the next three chapters of the story, alongside various splits which carries a divergent narrative. his begins with a split with Northlessfrom Milwaukee next year. We hope to tour a lot and play awesome passionate shows to awesome passionate people! I think the idea of the end is a long way off, so its not a thought we have entertained much. We are all involved in other bands together, so we have plenty to work on for now!
Photos: Joseph Towns