The first time I listened to Ludicra's new album Fex Urbis Lex Orbis I'll admit I didn't quite know what to make of it. The raspy almost industrial tinged vox blended in with metal and progressive sounds kinda threw me for a bit of a loop. All I know for sure is that Ludicra rocks with unbridled fury! So with cocktail in hand I prepare to sit down with Aesop and Laurie to discuss the new album, hippies and the scene in San Francisco.
All of the members of Ludicra have been members of other successful
bands, what brought you all together to form Ludcira?
Aesop: Successful? Hmmmm. John and I decided to form Ludicra during a lull in our other bands. Our original intent was to hash out some simple, primitive songs and get them on tape, maybe release an album. Soon after we started playing we got Christy Cather and Jessika Christ on board, the sound developed a little. However, pretty soon after we started playing live shows Jessika quit to focus on her main band Sangre Amato. It was then that Ross Sewage of Impaled and Laurie Sue (formerly of the amazing and oft-overlooked Tallow) joined. With the new line up we recorded our debut album "Hollow Psalms". Afterwards we realised that it was working out and immediately starting writing for the next album, "Another Great Love Song"
Laurie: John is also the main man behind Hammers Of Misfortune. I was more of an isolated homebody when I joined Ludicra in late 1999. I am grateful for all the experiences, learning and growth Ludicra has given me.
Compared to your last album, Another Great Love Song, the new album, Fex Urbis
Lex Orbis, seems to be stripped down to bare bones - not a lot of heavy
production effects and that sort of thing. why take a more basic
approach to this album?
Aesop: AGLS was a huge production. It was our second album and we thought it may be our last so we went "whole hog" as they say. In parts it works but "Fex Urbis.." was more about just getting Ludicra on tape, doing what we do naturally in our studio or on stage in front of an audience. Each of our albums has a very distinct idea and identity that comes out after the songs are on tape, then we concern ourselves with aligning the artwork to that feel. We choose to try not to force anything.
Laurie: Yes, we went a bit "hog wild" on the AGLS recording. It made sense at the time to go all out for that particular album/recording , but the last time around for FULO, we wanted to keep the extra layers to a minimum and not lose ourselves in a sea of too many tracks to chose from.
One of the things that make Ludicra different from a lot of black metal
bands is the lyrics. They seem to be grounded more in the reality of
urban life then in the mystical realm that a lot of black metal seems
to dwel in. what makes you want to take your music in such a different direction than the majority of the genre?
Aesop: Well, we are city denizens. It is what we know and experience daily. Besides there are too many bands doing that mysticism and forest worship and some are extremely aware and good at it. We just go with what we know, a more honest and direct approach.
Laurie: We've all been living in the SF Bay Area for many years. This environment and the different situations and experiences encountered in our lives and in our urban community are often some of the main topics we feel compelled to write about.
When most people think of San Francisco, they think hippies and Haite
Ashbury, they don’t think metal, especially not your brand of
darkness, how would you compare the SF metal scene to other places?
Aesop: Remember that SF had a vibrant metal scene in the 80's spawning Metallica, Exodus,and Possessed. I think SF has the reputation for just having great bands of all genres. There are many great bands but as for a unified "scene" I don't really believe it exists. Some localmetal bands that deserve mention here, Asunder, Saros, 100 Suns, Stormcrow, Hammers of Misfortune,and Impaled. I live in the Haight, you see as many punks as hippies but I guess as GISM stated so eloquently "Punks is Hippies"
Laurie: I think you have to have a little bit of hippy in you to live here in SF, just a little... There really is a thriving underground of great bands here. It's often a bit hidden, but it's here. It never dies out either, there are always good new bands constantly here.
over the last few years some metal has begun to creep back into the
mainstream. what do you think of some of the bands who are bringing it back?
Aesop: If they are in it for the right reasons then I raise my chalice to them, if they are clowns who are in it because it is a trend I pay them no mind as they will be gone from sight soon enough. . The problem is that the "mainstream" is a poisoned well, the status quo are seldom interested in the interesting, so most of these bands that exist in that mileu don't appeal to my ears.
Laurie: Yes, Aesop has summed up this one for me. I'm sure there are some worthy bands entering or perhaps starting in the "mainstream", but as Aesop says, it seems these days there are far too many "Johnny Come Lately's" that seem to fit this instant rock star role...at least it looks this way often on MTV's Headbanger's Ball(yep, I watch it..) I am mostly supportive to bands like High on Fire(the amazing band from Oakland/Bay area!!), who completely deserve any "mainstream" success they get and they should be getting more credit than all the now 100's of copy-cat stoner bands half their age..Perhaps at least these younger bands are obviously greatly inspired by High on Fire and Sleep..but still! Sorry, you struck a nerve with this question..lol
Ludicra has been on the road a lot this year, how has the audience been
responding to the new album?
Aesop: Very well indeed. You always will have those who say "I liked the last one better" but you just have to do what you feel. People are very responsive to our live show, it can be very emotional, especially on the part of Laurie. I think her unique presence really affects the audience.
Laurie: We've received a lot of positive feedback, but yes, several have told us they like the last one better, but then several others say they like the new one the best...You never know how people will react, you just never know and you can't predict either.
What does the future hold for Ludicra?
Aesop: Another album is being written now, more touring. We only wish to be a better Ludicra, build on the foundations we have laid, meet more great people along the way, see and support great bands, sell some records...we're pretty simple that way.
Laurie: We also look forward to hopefully doing an East Coast tour in near future since we haven't made it out there yet!
Anything you want to add before we wrap it up?
Thanks for your interest and support. We thank you very much.