The Luck of Eden Hall:
Feet on the Ground, Head to the Ceiling
’11 could have wrapped up as the Year of the Butterfly in certain circles. Topping off a flurry of activity, The Luck of Eden Hall spread their wings wider with The Butterfly Revolutions, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, back-to-back sweetness that goes down as smooth as cream…and floats right to the top-shelf. Stir in a batch of singles with an appearance on Keep Off the Grass and you have a full box of ‘rock and rollisms‘ yearning for you stick your fingers in. LOEH’s Gregory Curvey gives the skinny on their own butterfly effect; making psych sweetness filler and fat-free.
ma: Richard Hamilton said, “Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business.” True? Does that apply to ‘pop’ music?
Gregory Curvey: Low cost? It’s all relative, but I would agree with that for about 99%. There are a handful of pop songs that definitely transcend his description, but yeah, it’s mostly treated as a vehicle for catchy hooks. Bad or good.
ma: You hear a lot of bitching about the ‘music business’ being to blame for the state of pop music today, etc, etc…Don’t people get what they want, really?
GC: I don’t know. People eat what they’re fed. Right FOX? I suppose the machine had figured out how to spoon feed people what they wanted the people to purchase…or they polled different selected groups and focused in on the lowest common denominator…or the stations played the corporate stuff so they could continue to get perks and backstage passes from big corporate artists…but there have always been really great stand out tracks in every genre of music, yes? Or art for that matter. An artist produces a masterpiece, if they’re lucky, and then keeps trying to top it or at least live up to it. If an artist’s work (and it is work, folks) becomes something the masses want….it shouldn’t necessarily be condemned.
ma: Do you consider LOEH a ‘pop’ band? What’s your basis for ‘pop?’ And, psych for that matter?
GC: Popped Psychedelic Rock and Rollisms are what The Luck of Eden Hall creates. Pop? Yes, because I was weaned on the stuff and can’t seem to shake it. Psychedelic because it’s look, feel, sound and imagery still stir my soul. Pop is anything with a hook, I guess. Psych? I’m very honored when The Luck of Eden Hall is described as psych and I’m happy to see another psych movement happening. Though I do hope it doesn’t become a limited, extra reverberated, wafer thin slice of psychedelia. It should be about expansion, yes?
ma: I would hope it’s about expansion. It’s been around long enough it’s a tradition for the most part. And I think by the nature of that, there aren’t any finite stopping points. It has to grow…What were you weaned on? Anything we need to know?
GC: When I was around six years old, my Grand Mother on my Mom’s side was having a yard sale and selling off, among other things, some records left behind by one of my Aunts (Sue). I was allowed to pick through and take anything that interested me. Being six I had no idea what I was looking at so I picked the 45’s with the coolest labels. The colorful, psychedelic ones. London, Capitol, Karma Sutra, Bang, Columbia. I really nabbed a great bunch of stuff. Rolling Stones, Beatles, Beach Boys, Tommy James, and a couple of Monkees LPs, to name a few. I was spinning 19th Nervous Breakdown on my Mickey Mouse record player!
ma: Why two volumes of Butterfly Revolutions rather than one double album? Both play as a whole, but there is a difference in shade between the two…Vol. 2 seems a bit more melancholy than Vol. 1.
GC: When Mark and I had enough songs to start putting together this project we laid them all out and realized two distinct categories developing. Perhaps a side A and B concept, but we kept writing and decided to go for a double album. When we thought it was finished we went into Kingsize to do the mastering and while listening back to the final cuts we both felt that record 1 was a keeper and record 2 wasn’t up to snuff. We decided to go ahead with the release of the first record and take some more time to polish up existing tracks and do a bit of rewriting and replacing for the second. Since the songs on the second one were written and recorded at the same time we decided on a 2 volume approach. I can’t remember what the working title for the project originally was but we changed it to Butterfly Revolutions and I started working on the cover art.
ma: Now that it’s out there up to snuff and fighting fair and square, has one volume grown on you over the other? Or are you already letting it go and moving on…?
GC: I like the whole thing as one. It represents a Hell of a lot of work, and like any big project, it’s good to be finished with it. Well not really finished with it. We’re rehearsing and getting all the Vol. 2 songs ready for live performances…Right now I’m very excited about the new material I’ve been working on, but we’ll leave that for another conversation…
ma: Now, the name alone, let alone the ‘volume’ extension just seems to beg for a concept. Is there one there, or are you keeping it mum?
GC: I have no idea where this madness will take us…and I’ve lost me Mum.
ma: You hear that the ‘album’ is dead. True, the issue of the physical component aside? LOEH seem to think it’s alive, the sequencing alone of the records shores that up to me. Like I said, Vol. 2 seems a touch more melancholy than Vol. 1, but each holds together and as a pair. A nice pair…
GC: Thank you for the compliment. Album is dead. Vinyl is dead. Rock is dead. Perhaps one can use those limitations as inspiration or perhaps we’ll be another failed attempt at niche marketing…Speaking for myself, I’ve decided my art is going to be what makes me happy. Pure and simple. Everyone is welcome to feast on cookies brought to you straight from the Curvey kitchen. Some may only eat just one. I’m betting that those who enjoy it will need a box…an album.
ma: It’s sad that now you can put so much music on one disc, let’s say for a some physical component. The idea of ‘album’ would seem to have flourished, grown…but everybody’s attention span diminished…Angry Young Man to Bitter Old Bastard in no time…I’ll throw out that just the other day I was listening to something and thought it was good. Nothing pushed my particular buttons right away. But the more I listened to it, the more I was hooked because it was a good album. What makes an album hang together for you?
GC: That’s a hard one to answer. I must admit I own many records that have a side that was rarely played. Sound Garden double LPs, Smashing Pumpkins triple LPs. I’d put on a side and then move on to another artist. Maybe a Bernard Herman soundtrack or whatever. And one of my all time favorite albums is the Beatles White Album. It’s all over the place. Kind of like The Luck of Eden Hall, hmmm? Maybe that answers the question!
ma: You take your name from that exalted ‘luxury drinking glass.’ We could get into how the gilded decoration, the ornateness, relate to your music, the fairy drinkers, etc…But the real question is, is the glass half empty or half full?
GC: The bowl is emptied out each day.
ma: If we could go back to Eden Hall before it was demolished, and had the requisite serving glass, who would you invite to dinner?
GC: Salvador Dali, Chief Quannah Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Houdini…
ma: She Comes in Colours EP, Lucifer Sam, Love is Only Sleeping, Keep Off the Grass, Vol. 1 and 2…lots of activity of late. Timing just right?
GC: Keith and Andy at Fruits de Mer Records have helped jump-start our blunderbuss. Very inspirational, those Gentlemen. We’ve had many attempts at liftoff in the past and always a losing fight with gravity. This time we’re trying to remain grounded and my head’s pressing against the ceiling…go figure.
ma: You just wrapped up a good run there…any plans yet for ’12? Or is it really going to end next year?
GC: Oh, there’s a couple more in store from FdM that we’re included on. We’ve only just released Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 2 and Mark and I have about enough songs for the next album to start the recording process. I have a project that I recorded with my friend Dean Madonia in Nashville last Summer coming out real soon, titled Pretty Little Horses. And The Luck of Eden Hall will be shooting a video for Flowers as soon as we can get some snow on the ground in Chicago!
ma: Are LOEH groovy?
GC: Baby, we’re just getting started!