Interview

Led Er Est

Sam Kklovenhoof: Sorry I was a little late. I was actually just shovelling manure into the garden and lost track of time. A whole truckload. It was crazy.

Owen Hutchinson: I ate the first cantaloupe I grew this summer for breakfast.

How domestic. Onto a more topical question then: have you guys ever felt naked on stage? (as in, when something went wrong / you were nervous)

Shawn O’Sullivan: (laughs) Owen has a good answer,

OH: Hah yes, for a couple shows early on I’d perform naked or as the set would progress remove items of clothes until the final song I was completely nude. Shawn and Sam accuse me of having done this more times than I actually did but often I’d wear nude leggings, which appeared as though I was naked but not actually.

SO: In Naples we got drinks thrown at us because Owen was naked.

Was that something spontaneous during a show or something you’d come up with before playing?

OH: It was based on feeling of audience, venue or level of drunkenness and as a thank you or a fuck you depending on mood.

Basically Owen, you just like getting naked?

OH: Errr… birthday suit

SO: Owen used to get naked way more though, even at non-LEE events but we’ve all gotten a little tamer.

OH: I wear 3 piece suits now. The other extreme. And I cover my face a lot.

SO: To answer an earlier question: in addition to Owen’s literal stage nudity, we’ve definitely dealt with a lot of on-stage panic moments that have made us feel figuratively nude.

Is there a situation in particular you recall?

SO: The tuning on my sh09 going bonkers in Milan in the middle of the set, the humidity of the venue made it go haywire.

OH: That one time in Berlin when my synth just stopped working and I had to use one of Xeno and Oaklanders.

SO: Yeah that was a rough moment. The last show, that Sam and I played, we didn’t get to soundcheck and I had to play without my reverb unit – that definitely made me feel naked.

OH: Not having soundcheck is bad for us it happens all the time because we play a lot of small spaces that aren’t real concert venues e.g. an Ethiopian restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. So we often run into serious problems mid set.

I was gonna ask you the first question in reverse: have you ever thought of the audience as naked to make yourself more comfortable/because you were nervous?

SK: No.

SO: we’re all usually drunk enough that we’re not nervous.

OH: Yes but not to make myself less nervous, just to imagine. And not everyone Like those goggles that let you see thru peoples’ clothes.

Being in a band mostly involves some serious intimacy. Recording an album I reckon things get pretty personal. Did you guys ever come to a point where you felt too much was exposed?

SO: I think we’re all pretty comfortable with each other at this point. We’ve been through a lot, as a band and as friends. Owen and I have known each other for like 10 years and Sam and I were buddies for a while before the band but I guess our friendship really grew out of working together. We get along well. Sometimes we drive each other a little nuts but none of us are huge drama queens or drug addicts or anything.

OH: We’ve seen each other in so many different phases, with so much context around our friendships it is easier to understand and work things out. I feel blessed to have collaborators whom I like so much that hanging out feels as productive and enjoyable as working on music with.

SO: Awww I almost teared up a bit there Owen. Now I feel a little naked (laughs).

(small silence) Are you collectively crying right now?

OH: No, but mirror neurons (the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting, ed.) are cool.

SO: Whoa I indexed a book on social cognition last week! There was a bunch of stuff on mirror neurons in that.

If you were sent to a desert island naked and you’d be able to bring only 5 items, what’d you bring? Clothes can’t be one of them.

SO: I guess I’d just bring my modular synth and a laptop for internet access because they always have internet on desert islands.

SK: Champagne yeast, a Swiss army knife, neosporin, a flint stone, and a sewing kit.

OH: Solar satellite tv, a masseuse, a nice couch and lifetime supply of chips.

Do you have a favourite part of the human body? One you could write an infinite amount of songs about?

OH: Teeth.

SK: I think for like kids songs or something I could do some body parts but for LEE I don’t really know. I did some instrumentals for a children’s book I wanted to make about the body. I never finished it but I did make a good track for hair follicles. Only the future holds those answers!

Led Er Est opens for Matthew Dear at Beursschouwburg in Brussels on 28 November. The show is free for members.