Photography Carlos Detres
Words Zarah Cheng
Stormy. Noir. Uneasy. These can all be words to describe the dark sound behind Brooklyn’s three-piece, LODRO. Like the feeling you get when you’re walking home alone at 3AM along a street you probably shouldn’t be on, LODRO’s music will fill you with adrenaline and give you chills. Currently on tour with DIIV, I took some time before the band skipped town to chat with vocalist and bassist, Lesley Hann, about what it means to write music in Bushwick and that time she got all her shit stolen in Barcelona.
How would you describe LODRO?
Stormy. We cover a lot of ground sonically, but there is an unsettling thread that ties everything together. An uneasy space you can feel in your stomach, like something strange is about to happen. I guess I kind of feel like that all the time, so I think that comes through.
Is the meaning behind the acronym, LODRO, still a secret?
Yes, it is still a secret.
You guys are based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Do you think this has been an important part of how LODRO has developed as a group?
Yes, definitely. Bushwick and also the spaces within Bushwick that we have spent a lot of time in. I strongly believe that a person's surroundings have a huge impact on their state of mind and obviously a person's state of mind affects their art. To me, Bushwick manages to have a strange harmony and a very disheartening sense of desolation at once.
LODRO seems to always write during wintertime. Since it reflects your sound, do you think it's an important part of your writing process to be in a darker atmosphere?
That's sort of just how things have happened so far - or more like the stuff we've recorded so far has been written in winter. I feel like New York maintains a dark atmosphere in the summer as well - it's just a different kind of darkness.
Was it important for you guys to record and mix the album on your own?
Absolutely. Jeremy and Tyler are really good at recording and mixing. And also we don't have any money.
You and Jeremy have been writing lyrics since Jigmae [Baer] left the band. How do you two collaborate on songs?
It's different every time. Jeremy and I both have tendencies to come up with good ideas when we are alone, though. Usually one person will come up with an idea on their own and then we will sit with it together and fill things out.
I love the “Lazy Bones” music video; it’s so neurotic and playful at the same time. How did you guys come up with the creative direction for that?
The creative direction for that video started with an idea that Jigmae had - he is very inspired when it comes to film. This direction was furthered by two close friends of ours who are amazing videographers - Fatos Marishta and Madeline Allard. If we couldn't be playful about being neurotic I think we'd be pretty fucked.
Your vocals fit perfectly with the mood on all the songs. Have you enjoyed making this shift from Friends, where Samantha [Urbani] did most of the singing?
Thank you. Yes, I have enjoyed this change. It was weird for me at first because I don't always like being the center of attention - I can be very shy (especially if I'm not drunk) and I have a lot of anxiety - but at the same time I am a very emotional person and I can be really dramatic a lot of the time so it's actually become really cathartic for me to express myself in this way. It feels extremely personal and that's important to me.
You’ve said in the past that you get anxiety while playing on stage. How would you describe LODRO's stage dynamic?
Oh man. I mean, we're all big personalities and we don't try to curb that so I guess it's really not the same every time. I definitely get anxious. I'm anxious right now! But yeah, sometimes this overpowers me and I'm meek and brooding. Sometimes I overcome it and I'm cocky and brooding.
What's your most memorable tour experience with LODRO?
We haven't toured yet to speak of. Just a couple out of town shows. We're really stoked to be touring with DIIV next month though, we all love being on the road.
It's funny though, I used to go around with Royal Baths here and there just to hang out with them when I had breaks from touring with Friends so I have a good amount of experience traveling with Jeremy. One time I was traveling through Spain with Royal Baths for a little while and the first night I was with them I got my purse stolen by some pretty magical thieves in Barcelona and like, every physical possession I had that was really important was in there so that was pretty fucked.
In a way it was kind of nice though because it made me really feel like I was out there, more disconnected from my life at home and more in touch with the feeling that anything can happen.
What's the strangest thing that has ever happened while playing a show?
I don't know. People are so weird that after a while everything is kind of a blur anyway.
I'll never forget playing the last show ever at 285 Kent - that space was such a big part of our lives that it felt very full-circle in a spooky way.
What’s your favourite place in Brooklyn?
Is it fucked if I say my apartment? I'm pretty big on hiding. Plus there's probably more fucking plants in here than there are outside and we don't even have that many plants.
Who are you listening to right now?
I am guilty of binge-listening to stuff. This week I just keep listening to the self-titled album by This Heat over and over again.