New Jersey based artist, Lavender Sky, recently spoke with Tapedrop about “Together in Pieces,” their forthcoming EP, releasing July 1st. With a captivating mix of melodies, introspective lyrics, and diverse influences, this musical project aims for a transformative experience.
In January 2018, Luke Hoffman launched Lavender Sky as a solo project to transform their poetry into musical compositions. Inspired by bands such as Teen Suicide, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and Ty Segall, Hoffman aspired to imbue Lavender Sky with a lo-fi aesthetic.
Hoffman told Tapedrop, “I’ve always loved the warmth of analog tapes, especially the discipline and difficulty of recording on cassette, as well as the tones from cheap 80s Casio keyboards. I enjoyed the technical limitations that came with using these tools to create music, it gave me a challenge.”
However, a significant shift occurred in 2020 when Hoffman reached out to their long-time friend, Brian Quickstad, and invited him to assume the role of drummer for Lavender Sky. The purpose behind this invitation was to enable Quickstad to perform the drum sections that Hoffman had previously recorded on The White Lighter Album. This decision marked a departure from Hoffman’s usual practice of utilizing their Casio keyboards with drum machines and arpeggiators through a looper pedal.
The inception of Together in Pieces took place on December 22nd, the day that follows the shortest day of the year, and it came to life within the confines of a basement over the span of a month, said Luke. This date signifies a turning point, as each subsequent day becomes progressively longer. The creation of Together in Pieces served as a means of introspection, delving into Hoffman’s experiences with intense seasonal depression compounded by pre-existing depression and anxiety — a struggle that resonates with many. Through the lyrics penned for this project, Hoffman sought to explore themes of personal growth and transformation during their mid-late twenties. Moreover, Together in Pieces provided an avenue to process the challenges faced during the initial two years of their teaching career, where the immense stress of the profession became prominent.
“I didn’t think I would record anything under the Lavender Sky name again considering I’ve released 5 albums, 3 EPs, and 2 live albums in the course of 3 years. I grew tired of the sound I had, even though my sound is constantly changing.”
Together in Pieces presented a refreshing departure, as it embraced a new sonic direction, drawing inspiration from the emerging post-punk wave in the U.K. Hoffman found great admiration for the angularity, aggression, and rawness characterizing this musical movement. Straying away from conformity, Together in Pieces defied conventions and aimed to shatter established norms. Influential bands such as Shame, Black Midi, Black Country, New Road, Viagra Boys, and Squid profoundly impacted Hoffman during the early 2020s, leaving an indelible impression with their distinctive sound.
Amidst the exploration of new musical territories, Hoffman remained grounded in their signature elements. Vibrant, reverb-soaked guitar riffs, coupled with slapback delay vocals, evoked a sense of familiarity. Hoffman drew inspiration from the minimalistic approach of Velvet Underground, while embracing dissonance reminiscent of Swans and Sonic Youth. Hoffman’s journey was a continuous flux of reinvention, constantly evolving while retaining a core essence.
“Together in Pieces is simply about coming back together after a long winter, but you don’t feel like how you were before winter, you’ve changed. Like a broken pot that has been glued back together, I came back together, but I’m in pieces,” Hoffman reflected. “The motif that occurs in almost every song, ‘Come back together, together in pieces. Cycle together, together in pieces’, is about the continuous cycle of change and chaos that occur every winter season. It is how I come back stronger emotionally and mentally, still in shambles, but nonetheless together. Together in pieces.”
Live session director, videographer, editor, and staff writer for Tapedrop since 2019
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