The Seattle band, Lyle, has a new single out. Wait, who is Lyle?
The band’s first show will be their first single release party on Oct. 12th at the Columbia City Theater. Why should you go? In short: Lyle is a seven-piece art-rock band with a sound that’s difficult to describe and a giant, collective open heart. Their new single, “Get Me,” which we’re proud to premiere here, is a confident track blending the introspection of 10,000 Maniacs with the epic, anthemic quality of early Arcade Fire. And it has a way of sticking in your soul.
We talked with Lyle’s co-founding members, Arthur James and Lana McMullen, about starting the project, how they produced the new single and what the idea of inclusion means to them.
Lyle, which you co-founded, is a new band. What about this collection of people feels special to you?
Lana: We’re really a unique group of people. We all come from very distinct and different backgrounds and have different tastes and directions as musicians, both historically and currently. We also all write or compose on our own—Matt is a jazz musician and classical composer. Natalie also does classical composition, so does Phil. Art does an amazing grunge thing, I’ve done a lot of folk and classical, Nate’s background is in Metal, and Leah is an amazing funk/pop singer and songwriter. There’s a great amount being poured into this one sound.
It seems like celebrating each member of the band is important to the group. How did this ethic begin?
Art: When I met with Lana in the spring of last year that was the way that I came out with the idea for the band straight away. I wanted to put a band together but one where there were no front people. That’s been important to me even when I play solo shows. I’ll bring tons of people up all the time. I want to sit and write with other people. Collaboration is such a big deal for anyone in the creative realm. So, with that, we started to build a band. Every meeting we had with every individual before anyone said yes to being in the group, that was a major point. Like, we don’t have any expectations of you outside of contributing to this collaboration. We want everyone involved to be integral and active in the writing process.
Art, in your personal Twitter bio, you write of yourself, “Hapa in real life.” Can you talk about what that means and how that identity might impact the way you approach music?
Art: Hapa is a term that is given to any Asian Pacific Islander race mixed with European race. So, it’s like these different ethnic backgrounds that make a person that’s me, essentially. But if I’m honest, it doesn’t really have anything to do with my musical endeavors. It never really has. It just is what I am.
Lana: I think something that’s cool about the band is that we have Art’s perspective, and we also have several queer members in the band as well. And while our members’ identities don’t directly impact the music, because we aren’t necessarily talking about political things overtly in the songs, we do care about having diverse voices included. As a band, we’ve talked about the social implications of the songs we choose. We want to showcase artists talking about things we care about. But in the songs themselves we aren’t always talking about politics so overtly.
Lyle recorded its new record this spring. What important lesson did you learn during those sessions?
Art: For me, it was all the musical history and experience in this band. It’s probably something like over a century of time playing music between us. I think the one lesson that I’ve learned – and it’s probably something that permeates throughout the band – is that you have to do things with people who give a shit about what it is you’re trying to create. People who genuinely want to carry that weight together. We’ve been stupid lucky about finding people who have actually showed up and given all the time and energy to making things work. From the members of the band to the auxiliary team to our producer and engineer, to the photographers and sound people working with us, all those parts are huge investments in what we’re trying to make work. Sometimes you can play music for a long time before you get a good team behind you and you realize it’s something you’ve always needed.
When you say people are buying into the idea of the band, let me ask: what are they buying into, specifically?
Art: When writing up our bios, Lana and I were tossing drafts back and forth. One of the things we were trying to do was talk about inclusion. To me, and I think Lana would back me up on this, being collaborative means being inclusive of everyone’s ideas. I think that with this band, with the make-up and the ethnic backgrounds and political backgrounds, all of those things meld into it. There’s no sense that, like, “If you listen to this other band, you can’t listen to us.” We’re trying to make music and create art that can span across the board. The vision, if we were to call it that, is trying to grab people and say that we all have something in common, a through-line between everyone. And we want to talk about that as a group.
And what should people look forward to regarding new Lyle releases and shows?
Art: The single release show for “Get Me” will be Oct. 12th at the Columbia City Theater. And it is literally going to be Lyle’s first show. This band will have been a thing for a year-and-a-half by the time the show comes around and it’s going to be a big catharsis for us, I think. I know all the players in the band have been waiting to play a fucking show. And now we’re finally going to be able to do it.