The Blinding Lights might sound like they come from New Jersey, but the rock ‘n roll band hail from London where they’ve been making a name for themselves since 2015.
And the brothers Callum, Jack, and Theo Lury aren’t content with just being your standard trio. Live, they’ve been known to expand their sound with the Royal College of Music based string ensemble, The Delphi Quartet, and their own horn section, The Devastations.
Ahead of a string of hometown gigs, the group tell us about the thrill of playing live, family, having fun on stage, and what they’ve learnt from Bruce Springsteen.
Which song of yours best describes what you’re about as a band?
The title track off our first EP, ‘Those Nights’. I reckon we’d go for that song for a few reasons, but as much as anything because it embodies our belief in music and live music. That your life is going to go on regardless, one day to the next. It’s all about making the most of those moments where something special can happen. When you’re at a gig just before it starts, there’s something in the air, something palpable. There’s such a great amount of potential, you don’t know what could happen, but anything could.
What music do the three of you agree on? And, perhaps more importantly, what music do you disagree on?
It’s probably fair to say that there is a basic core of music that we all agree on and listen to a lot. So that’s things like Springsteen, Prince, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac, and a lot more. The differences really start to appear as you look towards more modern music. Some of us are more aware of the modern music scene than others and then individual tastes start to come into play more. That being said, we all like a really well written pop song,whoever it’s by.
So what’s it about, for example, Springsteen that appeals to you all?
Our parents are big Springsteen fans so his music has always been around us. I think fundamentally we’d all agree that ‘Born To Run’ is to us the greatest sounding popular music album ever made, and Springsteen and the band are the greatest live act both now and over the past several decades. And if anything it’s the live shows just as much as his music which has informed what we do now. The way we approach each show and try to construct setlists with a good flow to them, and put everything into each performance to try and give the audience the greatest show they’ve ever seen. So perhaps what he’s given us in addition to his music is a masterclass in work ethic.
And like Springsteen, your live performances are about having fun. That’s hard to fake. So how do you keep it fun?
Putting on a show which is fun is definitely central to what we want to do. And I think we’re lucky in that what we all love to do is to play live, so to keep it fun, or to look like we’re having fun, all we really need to do is play, because it’s exactly what we’d most like to be doing.
Another thing you seem to have learnt from Springsteen is how to work with a big band from time to time.
Expanding the band was always something we’d had in our minds that we wanted to do,and I think the appeal lies largely in the fact that it gives you a greater degree of musical freedom to do things and come up with arrangements that we’d just never be able to pull off as a three-piece. In addition to learning how to orchestrate parts for a string section, one of the main challenges we face is actually finding venues with a setup that can actually accommodate the whole band. But playing with more people is something we really enjoy, so it’s a matter of compromise and sometimes only having the horn section rather than everyone. And we do still play as a three-piece as well, which is fun because when you’re a small band you can be much more flexible in the way you play and be spontaneous.
What’s it like to play in a band with your siblings as opposed to performing with people you’re not related to?
As far as modern rock music goes, we’ve all only ever played with each other. But growing up we all performed in various different ensembles, from choirs and dixieland jazz groups, to orchestras and big bands. And those experiences really were formative because playing as part of groups like that really teaches you to listen and watch each other. In particular, to always have your eye on the bandleader so that the show can be flexible if he wants to signal for a solo, extra choruses etc. I think playing with siblings for us works well. We all like to work in a pretty similar way and have similar senses of humour which means that we’re all usually on the same page. It’s also easier to argue and have blunt disagreements without worrying about someone getting insulted.
And finally, what’s in store for the rest of 2017?
So we’re going back into the studio later this year to record some new material, so hopefully we’ll be putting some new stuff out by early 2018, and then accompanying that with some gigs in support of the new material.
The Blinding Lights