Tragically Un-Heard Of
Band O’ The Week

I have known the music of Levator for a really long time…but never really knew what the word itself meant… So I decided to educate myself discreetly and looked up the term on dictionary.com:

A surgical instrument for lifting the depressed fragments of a fractured skull.

No other name would fit as tight to the downcast, shoegaze entrancement made by front woman, Sky Lynn. The music she creates is emotionally dense, full of ominous vocal layers and spacious guitar arrangements whose mood is reminiscent of the Twin Peaks collaboration between Julee Cruise and David Lynch.

Levator was born into the isolated home studio of Sky Lynn in Seattle. Originally starting as a solo project, Sky mastered the art of guitar effects and vocal looping, orchestrating an epic sonic atmosphere; all with the click of a pointy tipped shoe. Later on she was joined by a rotating musical entourage who accompanied her on the numerous West Coast tours she has done regularly over the years.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Sky Lynn before Levator left Seattle to hit the open roads of California.

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Your live show is quite impressive as you create a halo of vocal harmonies and guitar montages with the aid of effects and loop pedals. What drew you to these tools? How do you incorporate these tools into your songwriting?
Thank you Em!
That’s an interesting question, what drew me to them… I’d have to say pure unadulterated curiosity. Like the feeling when you are a little kid and have just come close enough to peer over the edge of your Easter basket. That glimpse of color and potential sweetness. Candy! Hahaha. Perhaps another reason I’ve been drawn to them is from playing alone for so long. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to thicken the sound as much as possible for one person, but by keeping everything in real time. No pre-recorded loops or backing tracks.

When I first began using certain pedals, it was because I heard sounds in my head and I looked for features that could help me translate that into existence. At this point, I have created somewhat of a bond between all of them, and all of them combined, so it’s not like a guitar being plugged into a chain of effect pedals; it’s more like one big instrument.

2. There is a myth that says all artists have to be crazy to make “real” art. This is perpetuated by tragic music figures such as Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Cat Power (who now makes shitty music after she cleaned up her act). However, After spending some time with you in real life I have noticed an extreme juxtaposition between your pleasant, cheerful personality and the melancholy music you make. Can you discuss how the music you make separates these emotions?

Sometimes I’m convinced that I make somber music so I can be cheerful in real life. But even as a child I was drawn to dark and curious forms of art, photography, films, poetry, music, etc. I’m also a Gemini, that probably explains a lot. Hahaha! I started playing music at a very young age; I think it was a way for me to escape. I didn’t talk a lot as a kid. I think music became my way of letting things out.

3. I would describe your music as “Chilling Sonic Oceanic Waves”. What kind of adjectives would you use? What kind of imagery do you hope to convey?

I think I would call it ‘dreamy’. Someone once said it was ‘hauntingly beautiful’, I like that a lot. I’m not really trying to convey anything in particular. I hope that people can tie strong imagery from their own life to the songs. That would be great. That would be the ultimate. For me though, sometimes I see make-believe polaroids. Moving scenery, like from a car window when it’s raining. Driving through the grayest of days on back roads where you mostly see run down houses with moss all over the roofs. When you open your eyes under water and everything is calm and you see the sunlight shining through from above making the plant particles glow as they float peacefully all around you, but everything is distant, you hear people but they are a warm drone. When you have your hands up to a window at night so you can see. When you are driving at night and can only see a line on the road that extends in front of you and then when you look straight down out your window you see it moving back and forth ever so slightly. Weaving toward you for a second and then being pulled out away from you towards the woods.
Check out the video for Levator’s “Escape”. Filmed by Rando

4. Who are some of your musical heroes?

I’d have to say Neil Young comes in at Number One for multiple reasons. Some of the other folks that I admire are Leonard Cohen, Harry Nilsson, The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, oh, I could go on and on!

5. You seem to leave Seattle quite often to tour. Any favorite towns? Any favorite bands you have come across in your travels?

Yes! Reno, Bakersfield, San Francisco, San Diego, Goleta, Long Beach, Albany, there are a ton more, too many to list, but I think it’s all circumstantial, you know, we play with a band that blows our minds, or the folks that work at the bar are the coolest and hospitable, or we meet people at the show that are really fun to hang out with.

I have come across so many amazing bands that I never would have known existed. It is one of the biggest blessings of being a touring musician. I always try to get a CD so I can spread them around. I think a label should hire me as an A&R rep! Actually, maybe I should start a radio station where I play stuff from people I meet on the road. That would be really fun.


3 Responses to “KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Tragically Un-Heard Of… LEVATOR”

  1. 1 The Bearded Traveler
    February 6, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Appearing tomorrow! With Porches n Autopilot Is For Loverssss. Alberta St Pub!

  2. 2 Brad Electro
    February 12, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Nice interview! The woman is a natural.

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