Interview: Light Treasons

Zack and Joel from Light Treasons took some time to answer questions about the band, their music, and more. You can also check out a video for “The Satellite” below.

When the band first started, did you have any specific plans or did you just want to see what came of it?

Zack:  Joel and I used to play together in a band called Hark The Herald for a few years back in the late 2000’s. Since then, neither of us had played music together or even by ourselves, and we slowly came to the mutual realization that we needed to start playing music again. We assumed we would just mess around and have fun and see where it went. We recruited my friend from college, Rob Diver who I knew could play and sing and had similar tastes in music. He started on bass and lead vocals. When Clay Nevels (the lead singer of Hark The Herald) found out that Joel and I were playing together again, he offered to be an quasi-unofficial member of the band on guitar and backup vocals. Eventually the music started taking shape and we realized that getting a solid bass player and letting Rob focus on vocals would be key if we ever wanted to play out live and sound our best. We eventually asked our friend Chris Hysell to join us on bass even though he’s the best guitarist out of all of us. I recorded a 5 song EP for the band (and had Jordan Haynes mix and master it) and then we started playing shows. Before we knew it, we had become a “real band” again even though we never set out with that ambition.

Joel: Yeah, those who know Zack and myself well know that it’s hard for us to not take things seriously. We definitely started without a ton of expectations, but those expectations grew rather quickly once we had the full band put together.

You have a full length coming out soon, Fortunes. What was the writing and recording process like for that?

Zack: For or better or worse, the writing process for Fortunes has been really different than what we’re used to. The 5-song EP was almost a continuation/maturation/ending of the Hark The Herald sound. Even though we still love those songs, we felt like we were still trying to find the Light Treasons sound. We wrote new two songs fairly quickly after the EP that would go on to become The Gravedigger and The Marionette. We found ourselves playing them live because we loved them so much, but we didn’t even have a listenable demo of the songs. We decided to record those two songs (this time from start to finish with Jordan Haynes) so that we could get them out to people to hear before they came to our shows. We didn’t know what we wanted to do with the songs long term, we just knew we wanted to release them spaced out so there would be new material to keep people engaged. That’s when Joel’s wife, Erin, suggested that we do individual artwork for the singles and offered to draw it all herself. That idea eventually became the concept of having unique tarot card art and titles for each song, which then became the album “Fortunes”. Each song is it’s own fortune that represents people we know, fictional stories, actual things we’ve been through, and even the global political climate. Chris left to play guitar for Foxbat, and we added our long-time friend Jared Howell on bass after the first 2 songs were done. With new blood in the band, we decided to write, record, and release the songs in real-time, as opposed to banking them until we were ready to record the whole record. Although this process was really stressful, it forced us to create faster and try harder. Because of the aggressive timeline we set, we divided and conquered the song writing process, often breaking into smaller writing teams to try and flesh out our ideas before getting the whole band on board. It also allowed us to have a honeymoon period with each individual track as our newest and best song. Even though we didn’t set out to write a concept album, we feel like we were able to actually pull it off. There were some challenges with recording an album across 4 different recording sessions and making it sound/feel cohesive, but Jordan really stepped up and put in the extra work to make that happen. He’s basically the 6th member of the band.  Even though the songs are meant to stand on their own, they really feel at home next to one another. This is especially the case with the final/title track of the album. Fortunes was the last song we wrote and it encompasses lyrics, themes, and even guitar and vocal melodies from the other songs. Ultimately, the album turned out better than we could have a imagined, although I’m not sure any of us would undertake such a tedious writing/recording process again.

Joel: Fortunes was definitely a lot different, but I think it really led to the best possible product. As Zack mentioned, the concept for Fortunes kind of came after the first couple songs were already written and recorded, but I am really proud of the final, completed project. I’ve always loved concept albums, rather they be a single story or an overarching theme, and was really excited to do one of our own. I think it’s a very hard thing to do to make an album worth of songs that are both individually unique and collectively cohesive. I really think we did that with Fortunes, and I couldn’t be more proud of it.

Is there any specific part of making music that is your favorite?

Zack: For me personally, the best feeling is when you hear a song or part of a song fleshed out for the first time and it just works. This could be an iPhone demo recording of the band jamming or the mixed and mastered final track. Simply hearing something that you created from nothing and then it makes you feel an emotion…it’s hard to describe, but it feels amazing. The other thing that I really love about making music is when someone else sings along to something you wrote. We can all sing along to the pop hit of the day without even thinking about it, but as an alternative band that’s not all over the radio, it’s not that often when that happens. It’s so rewarding to realize that someone else listens to your music enough to know the words and melodies. Even if they get the lyrics wrong (which my girlfriend does all the time) it still makes me smile from ear to ear.

Joel: Zack summed it up well. The only thing I’d add, is that I love playing it live. I like a lot of different styles of music, but the reason I love writing and playing this style so much is the live intensity and energy. Nothing like it, at least for me.

With the first half of 2017 coming to a close, what do you have planned for the second half?

Zack- It’s hard to say because we are still “full-time adults” with jobs and families. We want to play as many out of town shows as we can but also know that we can’t just take off in the van for weeks at a time like we used to. That is, unless, Muse wants us to come open up for them on their world tour, in which case, I’m sure we can move some things around in our schedule… We’re going to create/release more videos as well because that medium resonates with people when it’s combined with music. We’re playing a few festivals in the region and would like to play some more to get in front of people that might hear us otherwise. We want to be your new favorite band, so if you’re reading this, let us know what you’d like to see from us.

When you aren’t doing band related things, what are you doing? Any other hobbies?

Zack: We all have other hobbies that we love. Clay is the lead singer in another band called Foxbat. Rob is a big sports fan and a gamer. Jared is part of the haunt community (haunted houses, etc.). Joel is a new dad, so that’s a job and a hobby combined. I’m part owner in a few small businesses including a new Axe-throwing company called Flying Axes.

Are there any local bands you think everyone should be checking out?

Zack: Other than Foxbat (seriously, they’re so good, why haven’t you checked them out yet?), there are so many good local bands. Jordan’s band Artifex Pereo (Tooth and Nail) are some of the best musicians, not just in Louisville, but period. We love Greyhaven. Summer Youth (who is playing our CD release show) is the new project from Kevin of Uh Huh Baby Yeah! As I’m writing this list, I’m worried that if I try to mention everyone I’ll inevitably leave someone out. Plus I could probably break the internet with the number of awesome Louisville bands I’d list, so for good measure, I’ll just say all of them. Oh yeah, and BRENDA.

Joel: QUIET HOLLERS!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Where can our readers follow the band?

Zack: We’re on all the mainstream social platforms, our music is on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes. Links to everything can be found at lighttreasons.com. Also, come see us live. We’re pretty normal and fun loving guys. We’d love to hang out with you and have a beer or a bourbon.