The Life Electric is an indie rock band out of Boston that was born in 2011 when former Action Verbs frontman Joey Chehade met up with members of indie rock act Gold Star Morning. They have been described as 'a combination of modern disco, The Flaming Lips, and pure fucking rock' and just released their new album "The Real You". Here's what guitarist Ben Leang had to tell us about it.
PRT: Can you give me a quick history of the band written in the form of a tweet?
Ben: @crickiethomas is the new match.com. A musical marraige and off to open for @neontrees. #Bostonrock #earworms
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard The Life Electric yet… if your band was the lovechild of two other bands, which bands would have had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Ben: [Laughs] Well let’s see… if Pearl Jam and U2 take some molly at an EDM festival and then awkwardly hook up in a porto pot, you might get us.
PRT: Would I be right in saying that your new album “The Real You” seems to come from quite some soulsearching?
Ben: There’s certainly some truth in that. In ourselves and in others. When we wrote this album, it was a particularly eventful time in our lives and our friends’ lives, with break ups, hook ups, proposals, marriages. All of that was the context in which the album was written.
PRT: Musically, there are quite a number of different sounds to be found throughout the album. Yet it always still sounds like you. Where do you feel that versatility comes from?
Ben: I think it’s because we’re voracious listeners of all types of music. It’s not actually intentional, the songs just come out that way. Especially when you’re not listening to a type of music that you’re not used to writing, a particular style can be deeply inspirational because it challenges you to think of music in a different way. I love Chopin. I dig Django Reinhardt. I’m getting into Brad Paisley now. It’s all fuel for the fire. But the great thing about having a singer like Joey is that his voice really ties everything together. As soon as he starts singing, it sounds like us.
PRT: Even though there is a lot to discover on “The Real You”, there are some things that come back in every song like big hooks, sincerity and plenty of energy. Is that just the way your songs tend to shape up or do you have a ton of The Life Electric songs lying around that sound different and that you didn’t end up using?
Ben: Wow, you nailed it. The core of what we like to hear in any song are the things you just listed. All the songs we write usually strive for that in some way. That said, we also have a huge cache of songs that sit around, waiting to be used. Some of them may never see the light of day, but the strongest ideas tend to float to the top.
PRT: For “The Real You”, you worked with Brian Charles from The Sheila Divine. What was it that made you want to work with him? And what was he able to bring to the table?
Ben: What makes Brian such a talented guy is that he’s a great facilitator of the creative process, and he’s always got fantastic ideas of his own. It’s one thing to bounce ideas off band members, but for someone to listen to the songs with fresh ears really brings perspective to the songs. Also, he speaks a similar musical language. I can say something like, “I want a 21st century Plastic Ono Band sound for this track” and he’ll know exactly what I mean. And actually that’s what I said for the track, Innocence.
PRT: “Call It Karma” is one of the songs on the album. Is karma a concept you believe in? And if so, what would you like to come back as in a next life?
Ben: I believe in karma can happen in the broadest sense of the word, but I’m not convinced it exists in a religious sense. I’d like for it to, though. But if I could come back as anything… a lion, perhaps. That’s, like, my spirit animal.
PRT: What’s up next for you guys once the album comes out?
Ben: We’re getting the music out on radio stations across the country, and plenty more shows!