lespecial is one of the only bands I’ve ever written about that I actually cannot figure out how to describe in words, and that’s probably a big reason why I can’t stop coming back to their music or chasing their live performance. At one moment they’ll tear apart a dance floor with a fast-moving experimental metal composition, and then in the blink of an eye they’ll cover Britney Spears in an encore. Then when you least expect it, Jon (guitar) or Luke (bass) will sling his respective instrument over his shoulder, hop on a turntable or synthesizer, and throw down a downbeat electronic sample to flip a track on its unsuspecting ass. In short, lespecial is a band that refuses to identify with a particular sound, which in turn provides the group with a sonic platform that has no limits. If you’re looking for a thrilling, mysterious, completely unpredictable set of music, then look no further: lespecial was built for you.
Over the past four years, lespecial has performed at the Disc Jam Music Festival from its early beginnings to where it is today. At their first Disc Jam, Luke, Jon and Rory (drums) performed a noontime set where they enticed fans with a bluegrass rendition of “46 and 2” which they fittingly called, “Pickin’ On Tool.” Fast forward to 2017, and the band’s slated to close out Main Stage A with an extended two hour set from 10 – 12pm. lespecial continues to grow and develop their inexplicable sound, and audiences are starting to catch on in a big way. Throughout the band’s entire Spring tour, us here at Sound Fix were so happy to see countless “lespecialist family pics” with seas of people throwing their hands in the air as the band snapped on-stage selfies after playing the last note of its encore.
Ahead of lespecial’s landmark performance at Disc Jam on Thursday, I had the special opportunity to catch up with Luke to discuss their plans for Disc Jam, new music cooking up in the oven, Tool, and much more. Tickets for Disc Jam can still be purchased here, and I’m telling you this one last time: you’re a fool if you’re at Disc Jam on Thursday and sleep on this imminent main stage performance.
Sound Fix: Hey Luke, thanks for taking some time to catch up here ahead of Disc Jam. Last time we did an interview together was before Wild Woods last summer (read here), so we’re very happy to continue that conversation with a Disc Jam Part 2. To kick things off, we’re halfway through 2017. What’s been a singular standout moment, show or set from the year so far?
Luke Bemand: We’re just getting back from being on the road for two weeks, and playing in so many new cities and different parts of the country was really rewarding. We saw a ton of new faces, as well as fans that haven’t seen us in their cities before, so that was a great experience for us. But a stand out show, at least for me, would have to be at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on March 25th for 2 sets. The crowd energy, the visuals, and having our friend Fro from Dopapod on double drum kit made for a special evening.
SF: A few of us from Sound Fix were there for that Brooklyn show, and we’re right there with you on your assessment of the night. Now looking ahead, lespecial is closing out the main stage of Disc Jam on Night 1 this Thursday. How does it feel to have this huge stage and prime time slot, and what should we expect from your extended 2-hour long set?
LB: We’re very excited to be headlining the first night of Disc Jam. We’re all looking forward to playing a show close to home after being on the road, in addition to seeing all the fans at Disc Jam that have seen us perform at the festival over the course of the past few years. You can expect a special sit-in from a secret surprise guest that no one has seen perform in this way, with us, or with any group for that matter. We’ll also play some of the new music we’ve been writing and playing on the road. It’s going to be a big one for us, and we’ve really been looking forward to this one.
SF: This also is not your first Disc Jam. Tell us about your past experiences and performances at the event. For someone who’s never been, what is the festival like?
LB: Four years ago at one of the first Disc Jams we played at noon and had some people scratching their heads at our bluegrass arrangement of “46 and 2” that we dubbed “Pickin’ On Tool.” The past two years we’ve had some wild late night sets, and it feels like it’s all been building up to this headlining main stage set. It’s been really awesome to grow alongside this festival. It truly does get bigger and better every year but still maintains that smaller festival vibe that keeps everyone coming back. The lineup this year is the most diverse and exciting. It seems like they got some great advice on booking some of the electronic acts – whoever helped with some of those suggestions should be given a gold star.
SF: What can you share with us here about new music in the works? Can we expect a studio or live album in 2017 / 2018?
LB: We’re always writing and performing new music on the road, and seeing us live is often the only way people can experience a lot of our music since it’s not available online. That being said, a lot of people are asking for a new album, and the wheels are in motion for that. It’s the funding aspect that’s the most difficult part of getting something out there that’s of the quality our fans deserve and expect. We’re also talking about a live release, and we’re planning to put out a brand new single this summer that has a different vibe from previous studio work, and we’re very excited about it.
SF: So, how was Tool this past weekend?
LB: Man, Tool is cool. There are claims that Tool is the best band on the planet and their audio/visual show is unparalleled. I tend to agree with that.
SF: Looking beyond Disc Jam for a second here, what festivals or shows in your massive summer tour are you most excited for?
LB: We’re getting right back on the road after Disc Jam and are excited to play in a handful of new cities including Chicago, Indianapolis, getting back to Cleveland and especially getting out to Colorado for our first run out there. We have a ton of shows and festivals we’re excited for this summer but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say we’re especially excited to play The Peach Music Festival for the first time.
SF: This is a high level question – but in five years, what goals or vision is the band striving to accomplish?
LB: To be cool like Tool.
SF: Finally, I always end Sound Fix interviews with an open forum. Is there anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t already covered?
LB: I’ll see ya this weekend buddy!
SF: Thanks Luke, and to everyone reading this, lespecial performs 10 – 12pm on the A Stage at Disc Jam on Thursday.