Photo: John Carlisle
On Fri., Oct. 14, The Suicycles and Long Distance Operator come together at Urban Lounge for SLUG’s Localized to give you a night of unapologetic rock n’ roll bliss. Local indie act YYBS opens the show, releasing their new EP that night to celebrate the occasion. Localized is 21+, and $5 gets you in.
Long Distance Operator
Whil McCutchan - Drums, Hair
Josh West - Guitar
Randon Ostlund - Lead Vocals
Chris Wadsworth - Bass, Backup Vocals
The act of simply creating music is the top priority for the gentlemen in Long Distance Operator, or LDO as it is sometimes abbreviated. “I need to do it. Like fucking, taking a shit, eating, drinking water—I have to do it,” says West. The goal is simply to get it out and share it with the world. Ostlund and McCutchan agree. “It’s goddamn therapeutic,” says bassist Wadsworth. “You gotta turn it up loud and just play.”
Their new record, Sweet Lucy Devine, was released on May 7 at the Canyon Inn with aplomb, followed up by a “fuckload of local shows,” as West so eloquently puts it. They have been hitting up spots around town and beyond, and favorite venues include The Garage, Bar Deluxe and The Woodshed. A mini-tour took them throughout the Northwest, including gigs in Portland and Seattle.
Experience abounds among the band members. Ostlund is the only member who has not previously been in a band project, but his work as an acoustic solo act in Maryland has provided ample opportunity to work on his own showmanship. West and Wadsworth previously joined forces in Heathen Ass Worship, and Wadsworth also played in Medicine Circus with Ben Moffat (of King Niko) and Allison Martin (of The Last Look and Bellrave). McCutchan worked with Moffat in a project called Mother City, and also played with West in Lazy Billy and the Pillows. “It’s very incestuous, the music scene here in SLC,” Wadsworth quips.
LDO started playing together in January 2010. The band’s lineup hasn’t changed since then, which works well for all the members, but especially West, the main melody creator for the band. “I have to say, these guys all inspire me. I will write shit specifically because I know that they are going to play it or sing it really well, and it will be beautiful because of that.”
Inspiration aside, the other band members insist that West is the musical mastermind behind the origins of most songs. “Josh is a chord progression and riff machine. He brings the spark. We try to get a blueprint [from Josh] and evolve from there. All the music is credited as LDO on the album, [but] if you took away one piece of it, it wouldn’t be the same,” Ostlund explains.
All the members say that even within the band, they are just being themselves. “Image is nothing. We don’t care about image. We’re very personable and humble,” says Wadsworth. West adds, “Everyone focuses on what they’re best at, and that’s where the songs come from. We want people to feel something, whether it’s musical, physical, sexual, whatever.”
To elicit that response, LDO is willing to experiment with and explore their own musical inspirations and influences. Spanning the spectrum from Queen and Mars Volta to Patsy Cline and Buddy Holly, it seems the band creates music for the sake of creating music. “We want to emote, to have some integrity and not do what everyone else is doing,” says West. “It’s unique, but very
much not in a cheesy way.”
Come down to Urban Lounge to check out LDO’s refreshing take on rock n’ roll on Oct.14. You’ll leave humming their tunes and wanting more.
Vanimal – Drums, Backup Vocals
Camden Chamberlain – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Kellazor Von Gorelust – Keys, Vocals
Chris Cole – Bass, Band Gardner
Black Robert – Guitar
It’s been just about a year since the first incarnation of The Suicycles formed, and the full five-piece band is barely nine months old––not that you would know any of that by reading the band resumé, which includes the release of two EPs and a full-length album, three official music videos and countless shows across the state and beyond. Once you’ve witnessed a live show for yourself, there is no doubt as to how they’ve garnered such a loyal following so quickly. “We want to provide an all-encompassing experience: to create a lifestyle through podcasts, webisodes and, of course, our live shows. We want to create that broader experience,” says Chamberlain. “We are definitely ambitious—we have no expectations but we want to go as far as we can.”
Chamberlain, along with Vanimal, is one of the original members of the project, and wrote the majority of the melodies heard on the album, Sex, Drugs and Death. The title for the album came about when Vanimal casually declared that all of the songs were about sex, drugs and death. “Camden agreed and it eventually became the name of the album,” says Vanimal.
The name for the band and the EPs came about in much the same way: organically spawned from the actual experience of creating it, and the inspiration behind it. “[Our] name the result of several road trips driving and taking uppers, too much caffeine and having emotional breakdowns caused by that—it combines the words suicidal, psychological and chemical,” says Chamberlain. 4 Psychotic Car Rides and Experiments in Being Awake, the EPs released in early 2011, expound upon the theme.
While the origins of the band and many of their songs predate several members’ inductions, they all agree that what makes it exciting is the idea that this is just the beginning. Songwriting within the band continues to evolve as other members add their own inspiration to the melodies and drumbeats that the band was founded on. “I don’t even know what’s inside of me yet,” says Von Gorelust. Cole adds that not knowing what is coming next is what makes it exciting.
The sometimes eerie, sometimes poppy, always entrancing melodies played by the band mesh beautifully with Chamberlain’s rich and smooth vocals. The lyrics don’t shy away from some of our darkest experiences as humans, and harmonies added by Von Gorelust and Vanimal only increase the enchantment. You may find yourself attempting to sing along to all of their lyrics, not just Chamberlain’s, as the harmonies are as catchy as the lead vocals. Moody and dark, but with a strangely upbeat twist, The Suicycles have nailed the balance between creative outlet and marketable music. Their debut full-length album is a sing-along masterpiece, and it will certainly find an enormous fan base once larger audiences are graced with their mesmerizing sound.
The band appears to be in agreement about what the ultimate reason for creating the music is for them. Von Gorelust explains, “I gotta get it out! I’m so much happier, it’s cathartic. You can see and hear what’s inside of you.” Cole adds that the band wants their audience to feel the music with them. “When you hear that song that just has the right beat, it’s like somebody reaching out and giving you a hug,” Von Gorelust concludes.
Some of those beats—inspirations, if you will—have included The Cure, Jane’s Addiction/Perry Farrell, The Sounds/Maja Ivarsson, Alice in Chains/Layne Staley, Elbow, and Black Sabbath: a hodgepodge of intense and prolific artists who could easily fit into the nightly lineup once The Suicycles get their act out into the mass populace.
In addition to the ambience The Suicycles’ music creates, the cover art by Sri Whipple is bizarre, beautiful and truly inspiring in its own right. The colors and oddity prepare you for the experience you will soon be embarking upon, and will inspire you anew every time you take a few moments to peruse it. The outfits worn onstage, the branding of the online offerings (such as The Suicycles’ YouTube page) and the fully-produced show itself communicate the band’s professionalism and vision. If anything, they seem too big for their britches, as the show and product seems ready for a world audience. They’re not in it for the glory, though they wouldn’t shy away from it if the opportunity arose. “We’d like to stay independent if possible,
but it’s not like we would turn down the right label,” Chamberlain says.
For now, the band is content to keep playing locally and regionally, regularly hitting up spots like Bar Deluxe in Salt Lake, Brewskis up north, ABG’s down south, and working with other exceptionally talented acts originating here in Utah like King Niko, Muscle Hawk and Long Distance Operator. Check out The Suicycles when they perform with Long Distance Operator and YYBS at Localized on October 14.