Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dead Leaf Echo's LG Galleon talks Beyond.Desire and the evolution of the band

Dead Leaf Echo, photo by Drew Reynolds (courtesy of LG Galleon)
Brooklyn shoegazers Dead Leaf Echo have much to show for the work they’ve put in this year, with their latest full length Beyond.Desire and its supporting tour attracting scores of new followers for the quartet. Though they tend to maintain a forward-looking disposition, the sheer hype that has built up toward the band’s events this year has given them reason enough to reflect fondly on the album’s pre-release period. As such, Dead Leaf Echo’s LG Galleon and Square Cotton Candy have devised an experiment to travel back to the early autumn and once again look forward to the launch of one of 2017’s top LP’s, Beyond.Desire.

SCC: Beyond.Desire is the first full-length with Dead Leaf Echo’s current, longest standing lineup. Did your tenure playing together make for a smoother or more memorable studio experience than with Thought and Language?

LG: Both Studio experiences were very long and taxing periods of my life that took well over 2+ years. Producing it myself is always challenging. Working with Charlie Nieland on the demos and Al Carlson for the final tracking was very easy, and they make our world of recording much smoother and easier to be in. Also, Beyond.Desire's was quicker for takes (we could usually nail it in 2 or 3) because of our past experiences and [the] current lineup is at its best yet. ​The problem really was finding the right people for the right songs in terms of mixing. Some people seem to deliver different results for different songs and that also made the mastering a very difficult challenge when you have different mixes coming from different platforms and people. 

SCC: The intermittent releases have shown you as a multi-dimensional act, with faster-paced, ethereal A-sides like “Strawberry Skin”, “I Will DoAnything”, and “True Deep Sleeper” backed by a range of dub and industrial tracks. Can listeners expect to hear this dynamic continue on the new album?

LG: The industrial and dub material serves best as one-off b-sides. There's no exploration of that on this full length LP in order to maintain a consistence throughout the album. That doesn't mean that we won't do a full dub or industrial album in the future ;) ​

SCC: What new songs have you felt the best audience response from so far?​ 

LG: All the singles have hit the audience's response. "Temple", Strawberry.Skin" and "Lemonheart" But also that because they have been released to the public so they can sing along and expect them in the setlist. Once the album comes out I'm looking forward to seeing people call out for other songs. ​
Dead Leaf Echo live at Ortlieb's, Philadelphia PA 12/3/16 (Photo by Tom Faix)

SCC: You’ve maintained a rather athletic touring schedule, and yet it seems like there are quite a few additions to the setlist each time you come around. Do you write new material while on the road or just prolifically during the downtime?

LG: Ideally we work on new songs and then we are able to work that into the setlist on the road where we can hone it over time and find out what works best for both us and the audience. ​ I've never understood a band that can write on the road unless they are at some 1% level where every single aspect of you day is taken care of and you could actually function like you are at home. Most of the time we're are running around to get to the next city, eat, soundcheck and catching up with old friends. 

SCC: PaperCup Music is releasing Beyond.Desire after a stint with Moon Sounds Records, who handled the advance singles. What brought you to change labels? Is this a multi-album commitment?

LG: Actually the album is a split between both labels. With Moon Sounds handling the physical side and PaperCup the digital. We are super happy to be with them ​and [to have] their support. 

SCC: With the new album around the corner and your second European tour behind you, your following is now approaching critical mass. At this point, your back catalog consists largely of out of print EPs and singles that are sonically consistent enough to make a listenable compilation. Do you have any interest in taking this approach after listeners soak in Beyond.Desire and start wishing for more?

LG: I really prefer the LP format, but they are so laborious and very taxing budget wise. Releasing EP's and Singles [is] very satisfying because you can turn them around much more quickly and you can relate to this frame of mine or emotional state that you were in because of the shorter time period between creation and release. ​

SCC: The tracklisting of Beyond.Desire is a bit more concise than Thought and Language's. What went into the decisions to narrow down the new material into the final program?

LG: It's a conscious attempt to achieve something under 60 minutes of material for the listener. Doing a double album was a little overzealous especially for a debut. So now that we got that out of our system just trying to do our first standard LP. Lyrical content (themes of desire, want, needs) and musical arcs (tempos and song length) were the decisions made in bringing this material together. 

SCC: How did Dead Leaf Echo come together in its current form?​ 

LG: We have all played in previous bands that were on past bills together over the years in the scene here in NY and Brooklyn. Ana and I have been together for over 10 years thru her previous band Mahogany. Kevin had contacted me about a rehearsal space and also finding a new band. We had recently parted ways with our first drummer so the timing was very on point. ​Steve used to throw these parties in the hood called Fantastic Planet that were so great and that's how we met. 

SCC: At your DJ gigs, do you notice much of an overlap in the crowds with those at your full live sets? How does the pre-show feeling compare?

LG: When we DJ for the most part it's at smaller clubs and bars in comparison to what we play at with the live band. The DJ sets are a way for Ana and I to play the music that we like for our friends and a way to go and promote the band without a lot of work. . It's how we bonded in the first place really, over great music that we both have in common. ​

Dead Leaf Echo will join their peers The Silence Kit, The Morelings, and Hidden Lights on December 9 at PhilaMOCA for this year's touring epilogue.

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