This is an exciting time for the Sydney music scene and it’s groups like Levingstone that continue to give us faith in the expanding diversity of quality sound. Levingstone blurs the lines of genre, effortlessly fusing a blend of Future-Soul, Rock, Jazz and R&B. They tantalise the senses, integrating sounds that take us on a journey through their flawless musical freedom. Following the release of their recent track ‘One Up,’ Levingstone has just finished up a tour of the East Coast and is hitting the studio with some exciting new releases on the horizon.
We chat to the band about the interpretation of 'One Up,' their experience on tour, and the dynamic between this five-piece force of fusion. Ayla Dhyani writes.
You just finished up a tour around Australia, what was the highlight?
We did some shows on the east coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Bellingen and Brisbane. Hoping to hit more inland spots and Adelaide and Perth eventually! I think one of our favourite shows was our show in Bellingen. It always has the best vibes, and the turn out was really good! Plus it always feels like going home!
Tell us a bit about your latest track 'One Up.'
‘One Up’ is our first official release. So it was pretty exciting to finally get it out in to the world for people to hear. Lyrically, it’s a little cryptic, but hopefully people connect with it in their own way. I guess it’s our introduction musically, so its special to us in that way. We're planning another release pretty soon, so hopefully it resonates with people.
As a five piece band, what are the biggest differences and similarities between you as individuals?
We all have pretty different personalities. Going on tour together made us really aware of the different needs we all have and the difference in the way we all respond to situations. For example, Jesse will go nuts if he doesn't have access to a shower. At least three times a day. Chris will go nuts if Ryan's very penetrating voice doesn't take a break every now and then. Dom will go nuts if there isn't a store selling Pokemon cards in town. Ryan... we're not sure about Ryan. Weird guy. Sammii really, really needs to sleep, or she turns in to an absolute monster. It's the little things.
You list diverse influences from Radiohead to Robert Glasper, what style of music do you associate with the most?
Probably fusion. The way that it plays with different time signatures, grooves and harmony is very inspiring and freeing as a musician. It kind of gets rid of the barriers and boundaries that come with songwriting, or at least approaches them with a fresh perspective. I don't think our sound is "fusion." That's a pretty big call! But we definitely 'fuse' different genres together to create our music, whether intentionally or not!
Tell us about your writing process as a group.
We usually write in parts. Someone will come to a jam with an idea, and we'll all build it from there, but sometimes an idea will lay dormant for weeks, even months, until we figure out exactly what feels right to add in. Everything is stitched together over a period of time. Of course there are exceptions, a couple of the songs that are going to be on our EP were written very quickly. But it’s very much a process of real collaboration. Not one of us could write these songs on our own.
If you could play at any venue or festival, what would it be and why?
That's a tricky one. The answer would probably be so different from each of us! At this stage we're really excited to have a show coming up at Venue 505 in Sydney, and another at Lazybones Lounge. They're definitely two of our favourite places in Sydney! Obviously we have a deep love for the Enmore Theatre. One day! Coachella also doesn't look too bad...
What do you anticipate for the future?
More releases, and more touring. We've got quite a bit of material that we're working on, and now that we've started releasing, it doesn't look set to slow down any time soon. We're always writing, always creating new things and putting new spins on old songs. It’s all still very fresh and exciting to us, so the plan is to just keep doing what we're doing and hope that people resonate with it.
What moves you?
I think we all have a great love of being on stage, and sharing our music in that setting. There's a really special, incomparable feeling that you get sometimes when you play a great show, and the audience is really connecting with what you do. We're pretty much always chasing that feeling.