UTG INTERVIEW: Larusso Discuss ‘Life In Static’

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Salt Lake City’s Larusso are preparing to make their mark on the alternative scene with their forthcoming LP, Life In Static. The album drops on August 15 and will surely appeal to fans of mid-2000s golden age pop-punk, emo, and alternative acts such as Anberlin, Taking Back Sunday, and Jimmy Eat World. Basically all the bands that have unfortunately called it quits in recent years or are hitting the road to celebrate ten years of one of your favorite albums from high school.

We recently chatted with the boys in Larusso about all things Life In Static and what fans can expect from the four-piece for the remainder of the year. Follow the jump to read through our conversation and to stream their newest single, “The Voice.”

First off, can you tell me the names of each member in the band and what their role consists of?

Aaron Condrat – Lead Vocals/Guitar
Justin Trombetti – Drums/Vocals
Nick Sasich – Guitar
Tyler “Fizzy” Grundstrom – Bass

How did Larusso come together as a band and how did you land on the name?

The name comes from the original Karate Kid; Daniel Larusso’s story is an underdog story, and in a lot of ways that embodies the general message in our music. The flower logo was actually inspired by that as well. Larusso has actually been a band in the local scene for over a decade, but the solidified and final lineup came about 2 years ago and started off with our ‘Don’t Call it a Comeback’ tour in support of an EP we released in 2012. This was the first time we felt we had the cohesiveness both musically and personally to take a bigger step forward as a band.

Besides Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, where would you say you draw your most important influences from collectively? Are there any specific bands that you feel really got you into wanting to make music?

Individually, our influences are all over the place. Justin started drumming because of Def Leppard’s Rick Allen, Aaron started off following bands like Lit, Nick was heavily influenced by Rage Against the Machine, Fizzy always admired Tom DeLonge’s work in AVA; we like to take influences and ideas from all the genres and bands we love from metal, to classical, to alternative and everything in between, and we think that’s why it makes writing so fun for us. As a band, some direct influences on our styles on a pop-punk end have been Four Year Strong, Blink-182 and ADTR-type bands. On the alternative side, we all absolutely love Anberlin, Yellowcard, Brand New…we always considered bands like that to be the ones that paved the way for bands like us.

Life In Static is still a couple months away, and we’ll talk about that, but first tell me about your newest single, “The Voice,” and how indicative it is of what the rest of the album sounds like.

Nick: Thematically, definitely; it’s a great representation of what we’re trying to get across to people. It speaks to the overall message that the album conveys: overcoming our deficits and always looking towards hope.

Justin: Conceptually, I think it’s Life in Static at its core. It’s about struggle, it’s about being driven crazy by the things that sometimes are out of reach in hard situations (this song actually was written from an in-patient bed after a surgery, though I think a lot of people may miss the more literal references), but it’s also about finding balance; that “voice” however you relate to it, whether it’s a love, God, an ambition or something else, that drives you to better yourself, even when it involves sacrifice, unfair circumstances, or letting something go. It’s definitely got a darker feel musically and lyrically than the rest of the faster paced or upbeat stuff on the record, but it was the first song we recorded and we still think it’s a great sample of LiS in a lot of different ways.

Aaron: It’s filled with trademark Larusso sounds: full guitars, catchy melodies and harmonies; it’s dynamic. You can expect to hear a lot of that on the album. Structurally it’s a lot different than we’re used to as a band, but that’s something we did a lot on this album to evolve and progress.

And you re-recorded some previous tracks too, is that right? Can you tell me about that?

The EP we mentioned earlier, Tell Me Everything, was a great personal success for us and it had elements that we wanted to carry with us into the next album. We wanted Life in Static to be new and refined, and on a professional level, we wanted to do things with it we never could with TME, but we wanted to carry a couple of songs over that we felt truly added some depth to the new record and perpetuated the thematic elements to it as well. Also, they happen to be some fan favorites! “Heart Attack” is being offered as an exclusive download on some of our social media platforms because it’s not actually on the record, but the “Daniel With An ‘L'” single from awhile back and “Places” will be.

So where was the album recorded and who worked on the production and mastering with you?

We actually had a lot of hands on deck for this one. We engineered the record at Man vs. Music in Salt Lake with Mike Sasich. He did an incredible job and had a huge part in helping us produce it. Matt Winegar is absolutely incredible as well. He did all the mixing for it, and between our personal experiences working with him in the past and his insanely good reputation, we knew he was the right choice before we even started tracking. It was mastered at RFI by Ed Brooks in Seattle.

When you began writing this record, what was your focus? What were you aiming to create sonically and what did you want to evolve from on your past work?

Nick: We didn’t necessarily have one focus. The theme itself kinda came together naturally which was cool to see. We wanted to grow from our experiences in the past and continue to make progress as writers and musicians.

Aaron: The goal was to challenge ourselves lyrically and musically to create something that was more advanced and cohesive as a band and individually. We really wanted to showcase the advancements we’ve all made individually as performers, musicians, and writers.

Justin: The really cool thing about this was the way we actually write. Someone will start with lyrics, a riff, part of a song, and then we all get together and take off from there. To see us start with virtually no sense of where it would end up and then hearing Life in Static as a finished, cohesive musical statement was amazing; the process was very organic in that sense. The one thing I always wanted was to make something that was just really invocative; something you listened to and it just hit you hard, even if you couldn’t put your finger on why exactly. That “x factor” as you might call it is something I always felt we may have missed a little in the past.

I know you’re holding off a bit on the details for your album release show and such, but can you give fans any info or hints at information regarding all of that?

We’re actually going to be announcing all the dirty details on the 1st of July via our social media pages and website. We’re just confirming some final odds and ends, but it WILL take place on the day of the release, August 15, at the Infinity Events Center right in the downtown area (Salt Lake City), and it’s going to showcase some of the best talent Salt Lake has to offer. I don’t want to elaborate too much here, but some of our fans are going to have the opportunity to see some raw, unplugged songs before the show starts. We’re really excited to share all the details in a couple of weeks.

You guys released a lyric video for “The Voice” earlier this month. Can you reveal any plans for further singles or videos coming up?

Actually, yes! We are going to be releasing a lyric video for “The Recovery” mid-July. All the details for that are on the social media pages. It’s a personal favorite among all the members, so we’re especially excited to share it with everyone. As far as official plans for the follow-up single, those are some details that are still being worked out, but keep an ear out on your local radio station for Larusso as we get closer to the release. “The Voice” is unlikely to be alone on the airwaves for much longer!

You’ve been gaining more and more support in anticipation of Life In Static, not to mention climbing alternative charts. What do you feel helps you stand out or get noticed in the scene amongst similar bands?

Aaron: What makes us stand apart is that each song displays a lot of depth and thematically speaks to a range of much more complex emotions than some of the more blunt and straightforward lyrics and themes you find in popular music these days, coupled with our engaging live performance.

Nick: I feel like our music isn’t polarizing; regardless of what genre you identify with, we feel we have something that can connect with anyone at any time. I think that sets us apart from a lot of other music out there.

Justin: There’s an unlimited supply of talented artists out there; that’s undeniable. But I think you know when you hit a point where you start saying, “We’re really doing this, we can make something happen.” It plays into your live shows, it plays into your lyrics and music, but most importantly it plays into your attitude. You have to be professional, but balance that out with being passionate as well. Music is a business like anything else, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice what makes you love doing it at your core. Life in Static is also appealing to people who generally don’t dig the kind of music we’re associated with at times, and that’s helped a lot. You have to have the sound, the attitude, the networking…it all has to play an equal role in your success.

What albums are you looking forward to the most for the rest of the year and do you plan on attending any tours or festivals as fans yourselves?

Aaron: Conditions’ new album Missing Hours and Lowborn by Anberlin.

Nick: Can’t go wrong with summers at the Warped Tour.

Justin: I can’t wait to hear Anberlin’s new release. I also heard rumors of a “back to the roots” Megadeth album in the works so I’m crossing my fingers for that. Other than Warped, I am hoping to catch the Goo Goo Dolls when they come through, and I’m ecstatic about Def Leppard/Kiss’ co-headline. Also, I never miss an A Day To Remember show.

So overall, for the remainder of 2014 and beyond, what can fans expect from Larusso?

For 2014 with Life in Static, we want to show everyone that indie bands have just as much room and momentum in the scene as the ones with label backing. We have a lot more in the works already for the near and not-so-near future, and we love what we do. We’re going to keep going until we can’t anymore; Life in Static is just the start of a very long and brand new chapter in Larusso’s career.

 

Interview written and conducted by Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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