INTERVIEW: Luxury | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Having already built a word of mouth reputation based on their strident live performance and last year’s debut EP, Luxury’s noisy and intelligent take on punk rock has made them ones to watch in the local circuit. With a new double-sided single Blue Wates/Two Swans set for release this month, I caught up with bassist Mark Buchanan to find out more about this enigmatic band.

Discussing the formation of Luxury, Buchanan tells me, “Joe, Phil and I had been playing music together for just short of a year with few other mates but we’d been looking for someone who could fully commit time to starting something new. We met Aaron at an art show at Empty Shop in Durham through our friends in New Horror. We sank a few beers, talked about Total Control and invited him along to practice with us later that week. We had three or four songs ready to go so we sent Aaron some demos to make a start on lyrics. He came to practice, picked up the mic and that was it.”

While punk might be the most obvious label for the band’s music, Buchanan notes “I just keep it broad, tell people we’re a punk band and let them make their own mind up about what that means. Most of us have played in hardcore bands for years so no matter how hard we try to avoid it there will always be an underlying element of aggression and urgency to what we do. There’s not a specific list of bands we consistently pull influences from, we’re always changing and trying to push forward. We push a load of chorus on the guitar and bass which definitely creates an early 80’s post punk sound. We just want it to pack a bit more of a punch instead of kidding ourselves getting moody and going down a faux-goth route.”

Indeed, one of the aspects that has made the band stand out so far has been their willingness to play with a diverse array of artists often quite sonically divergent from themselves, such as Soft Verse label-mates New Horror or the synth-pop of Transfigure. Buchanan elaborates on this, stating, “The overall live music scene in the city is very diverse, but it’s small, close knit, and I think we have to be fairly open about what shows we play. I don’t think we’ve gotten involved in as much as we could have but we don’t want to play every single show we’re offered because people will get sick of seeing us play. Or maybe we’re just miserable and don’t want to play with your mate’s dream pop band every week.”

We also got talking about the distinct, monochrome aesthetic the band have developed, found clearly in the artwork and promotion for Blue Wates/Two Swans. “For the artwork we used a photo of two cranes in the city centre shot on B&W film by our friend Michael O’Grady, it’s kind of industrial without being too cheesy. The design of the single and poster in a way is loosely influenced by old cut and paste hardcore flyers, just with a cleaner finish. I wanted the poster to be bold, no messing about, something we could duplicate fast and cheap on a Xerox machine ready to be pasted around town.”

“When I first started making posters, black and white used to be more of a necessity than it was an option. I used to work a shitty office job, and 99% of the time black was the only colour in the printer. I’d rather sneakily print a hundred flyers for free at work over paying for some full colour glossy print out that feels more like an insurance leaflet than a flyer for a show.”

Blue Wates/Two Swans is released online on Friday 15th September. Luxury play The Cumberland Arms with DUDS and Emergency Librarian the same night.

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