CINEMA HEARTS: CRAFTING NOSTALGIA

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY ETHAN A. SAHLIN AND CHROMATIC ELEMENTS

The passing of time is something that defines our existence. It sets our schedules from when we wake up to when we fall asleep, and yet even as we dream, time is ticking away. What we choose to fill our time with defines who we are now and shapes who we will be in the future. Even as we move forward, nostalgia for the past keeps us looking ahead to where we want to be. To make those memories last forever, we do whatever we can to make them a reality today.

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CINEMA HEARTS REFLECT ON LONGING, FRIENDSHIP, AND LOVE ON DEBUT EP

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INTERVIEW BY SHAUNA CROWLEY

PHOTOS BY WALTER MARTINEZ AND ALEXIS JENKINS

Led by siblings Caroline and Erich Weinroth, CINEMA HEARTS bring the prime of the 1950s and 60s alive with their homegrown EP I’ll Always Be Around, which Caroline also made the album art and packaging for. Though they hail from Northern Virginia, the band’s home is more specifically in Caroline’s bedroom, where she wrote all of the songs. Many of the songs are of longing, lust, love and growing up in suburbia in a dreamy pop sound. Ms. Weinroth discussed with us how her band stands out amongst the predominant genres of Northern Virginia as a band that fans both old and young can enjoy.

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LENCLAIR TRANSPORTS LISTENERS TO A TRANCE-LIKE STATE OF PEACE AND HARMONY ON THEIR SECOND STUDIO ALBUM, SEROCYBIS

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JACK HUBBELL AND JOHN MCCAULEY

Not many musicians can transport their listeners to a trance-like state of peace and harmony like the Alexandria, Va. group LENCLAIR achieves with each track on both their debut self-titled LP and sophomore EP Serocybis, which they just released in February 2015. The project takes on many forms for vocalist, guitarist, percussionist, and occasionally bassist Jack Hubbell, whom is the driving-force behind the band, with  support from longtime friends vocalist and guitarist Hannah Andres, as well as Jason Tyler, who also contributed vocals and guitar parts to the latest album. Though you don’t have to be high on a substance to enjoy this record, the band says it may improve your experience. We connected with Hubbell to discuss the themes of Serocybis and his personal, and at times obsessive, relations to their new songs, as well as how the dynamics of their band are changing.

Can you tell me what Serocybis means, and why you decided to call it that?

I feel like there’s a lot of personal meaning within each of these songs, but the album title just sounded cool — there isn’t much depth there. No cool secret meaning or anything. I needed a name for the title track that wasn’t “The Dream” or “Henri Rousseau.” I wrote and mixed most of Serocybis with a giant picture book open on my desk. I was obsessed with Le Douanier for a couple weeks; the whole intention was to capture the mood of his paintings with music. I liked the sound of serotonin, and the jelly fish resemble mushrooms, you know, psilocybin; it just fit. I have a problem with obsessing and over-analyzing things to the point where nothing gets done, so whenever Hannah or Jason approve of something, I roll with it.

lenclair 2How do your performances translate to your recordings, and how do you make it work?

Our original lineup was Jason, Hannah and I. The debut album is very true to our live performance at the time. Jason moved to Richmond, Va. shortly after the release, and it became more of an obsessive solo project for me.  When we did our first east coast tour, we had this extremely confusing system where I would play tracks off my phone through a stereo splitter into a small mixer. We would wear these big goofy headphones, and each track had a metronome panned hard left and a mono mix of the additional instruments panned hard right. This way, we could have a metronome in our headphones and play the backing tracks through the venue’s P.A. Confusing, right? That’s why we eventually got lazy and ditched it.

Have you considered expanding to a more full lineup of four or five members?

Actually, yes. I’ve been teaching a full band all of the new songs and some old things. We’re playing our first show with the new lineup on March 28. It’s some rooftop radio session for [the University of Maryland].

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO LENCLAIR

This record was produced, recorded, and mixed by Jack at Telescope Studio from January to February 2015. Why did you decide to work with him?

Jack Hubbell, that’s me. Telescope Studio is just what a few friends call my pathetic little basement studio (The Hubble telescope? Get it?) Serocybis was all recorded at home in about two weeks; it took another two weeks for Hannah to show up and record her parts. By the time she learned the songs and sang about 95 percent of the album, [it] was already finished. Then, for some reason, we asked Jason to record a song, and that took another two weeks. Jason recorded “Atë (the Buildings)” in his dorm and sent me something like 400 tracks via Google Drive. Hannah wrote “She Ran the Tide” last spring; both of those tracks were finished last.

One of my personal favorite tracks on the album is your cover “Memory No. 7” by LOWTIDE. Can you tell me what that song is about?

”Memory No. 7″ always meant a lot to Hannah, Jason, and I; we heard it for the first time on our way back from this studio in Maryland where we mastered the self-titled album. We listened to it nonstop on tour. I think covering it was this sort of unspoken mutual agreement. But you know, it’s funny, I have no clue what the song is actually about. We don’t even know the lyrics. We had to listen to it and guess what they were saying.

Can you tell me about the jellyfish on the album art and why you chose to go with this design?

Our friend Adrie drew that. We didn’t specify what we wanted. We just sent her a few tracks, so she did the picture while listening to “Thief!” and “Serocybis.” It’s beautiful, but I honestly had no part in creating it. I definitely want her to artwork for our future albums. She’s a talented artist and a wonderful person.

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Are there any other dream pop bands from Virginia or Washington, D.C. more people need to hear?

As far as dream pop goes, I’m not sure what else there is, or at least what people “need” to hear. I’m not very hip; I don’t listen to a lot of recent music. KID CLAWS is awesome; I don’t think they have any recordings though, sadly. I’m in this band, A MARC TRAIN HOME; we’re dream pop but a little more hi-fi and commercial. I love THE DUSKWHALES; they’re like vanilla fudge with clinical depression…like THE MONKEES fronted by Robert Smith. I had the honor of recording demos for them; hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to produce or at least work on their next album.

For more updates on LENCLAIR, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and check out Serocybis on Bandcamp.

THE VOICE AND THE BRAIN OF SUBURBAN LIVING FROM VIRGINIA BEACH DISCUSSES HOW BEING INTROVERTED AND STRANGE TOURING EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED INSPIRE HIS MUSIC

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INTERVIEW BY ALEXIS PASCHAL

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY WESLEY BUNCH

Though the band known as has been around since 2011 and toured throughout the United States, as well as Tokyo, SUBURBAN LIVING has always been about Wesley Bunch. Raised in Virginia Beach, Bunch’s music and lyrics combine elements of late 80’s influenced dream pop, as well as late 90’s emo. Along with a rotating band of friends, Bunch has truly captured something special that is unlike anything that anyone is doing in the Hampton Roads music scene. His latest EP Cooper’s Dream, which Bunch produced with Mark Padgett and Brad Rosenburg, is described by Bunch in the following manner: “This is an EP I wrote on my own when I was jobless and out of college periodically. I also wrote it while watching Twin Peaks pretty heavily. The TV show provided miniscule inspiration and is just a fun fact about my life during the writing/recording process of this record.”

I saw that you said you’ve been writing music for about eight years now? How has that been for you?

It’s been awesome. I’ve gotten great satisfaction out of it, and I can’t really imagine a life without being focused on songwriting as much as I am.

What’s your favorite part about making music?

There’s always a moment in the middle of working on a new song when you hit the right melody or when “everything clicks” and you’re like, “Yeah! This is awesome!” That’s my favorite part; there’s no better feeling than that in the world.

You have claimed to be sort of introverted. How does that work with your fans?

I’m definitely introverted when it comes to exposing my music. It’s tough with SUBURBAN LIVING because it all falls back on me, but I’ve been working harder at being more confident on stage. It’s different with fans, because those people are generally really vocal on how much they like SUBURBAN LIVING so it’s like, “Whoa! You really like it? Sick!” I engage with every fan who reaches out, because I’ve engaged with so many bands that can be real assholes to their fans.

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Do you have any weird fan stories you’d like to share?

Almost every single fan experience in Tokyo was different. We had this one teenage girl who was super into the band and barley spoke English. She wanted to buy some merch and picked up our 7’’ record and had no idea what it was. She tried bending it and held it like it was some alien life form or something (laughs). I tried really hard in broken Japanese to explain to her that it wasn’t a CD. I wound up just giving her the record because she bought a t-shirt. It was awesome, and she was stoked.

Do you like the direction in music you’re heading towards right now?

Definitely. I’m super excited about the new record; it’s shaping up really well. It’s a lot darker sounding, and every song has more lyrical depth than anything else I’ve put out.

What is your favorite song you’ve recorded?

Definitely one of the new full length songs. As far as a song that’s currently released, “I Don’t Fit In” was awesome to record. I tracked and mixed the song in six hours. It was the last song we needed to do for the Cooper’s Dream EP. Then immediately after finishing it, my engineer and I drunkenly mastered the EP, and I had a final product the next morning.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO COOPER'S DREAM EP

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO COOPER’S DREAM EP

Do you prefer house shows or venues?

They’re both different. I’ll play anywhere. I’ve had amazing experiences at house shows and also really, really shitty experiences at house shows. Some bro kids got in my face at this house show in New Jersey one time because I wasn’t comfortable with them using my drum set. One of them drunkenly tried to fight me and called me something along the lines of a ‘Rick Moranis looking mothafucka’. Looking back at it, it’s a funny story, but when you’re out on the road for a week playing shows and some stupid stuff like that happens, it can really piss you off. I guess the same experiences can be said for shows at bars too. You never know what you’re gonna get yourself into out there, but I love that about playing shows.

What do you do outside of music?

Work at a music shop in Virginia Beach. I’ve been pretty obsessed with the NBA playoffs lately. I also DJ from time-to-time.

Do you have any music goals as of right now?

Just to finally put this record out and play a ton of shows afterwards.

For more updates on SUBURBAN LIVING, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Tumblr, and check out their music on Bandcamp.