“Nightmares. Not enough sleep. Ghosts. Really loud amps. Guitar pedals. Graveyards. Our loved ones. Sickness. Paranoia. Understanding that time isn’t real but that we’re running out of it. Concrete. Laughing until you puke. Big hugs. Hoping your friends make it home safe. Bonfires. Finding your worth in the waking world. Feeling endless.”
According to guitarist and vocalist Joey Kaufman, the things above are sources of inspiration for Auburn’s Louisiana Lot Lizards. Their fast and harsh sound is also influenced by bands like The Chariot and Every Time I Die, which means you’re not in store for easy listening.
But if you’re on board with heavy riffs and lots of distortion, LLL is the band for you.
Their first EP release, Vol. I: Ever Since The Storm is an angry and unrelenting ode to the post-hardcore and metalcore that had its rise in the 2000s with bands like The Bled or From Autumn to Ashes.
What Louisiana Lot Lizards leaves out is the melodic vocals and the chorus with a hook. Instead, they blast through each song with unforgiving consistency.
“Vol. I has a very urgent sound,” Kaufman said. “The whole EP kind of feels like you’re in a speeding car with the brake lines cut. The aggression is raw, unfiltered, and completely honest. For those who have seen us live recently, we’ve started playing some newer stuff that showcases where we’re headed: heavier, prettier, gnarly, uglier.”
Though the band now sports four members (guitarist and vocalist Adam Araque, bassist and vocalist Sam Thompson, and a variety of drummers along with Kaufman), it was initially a trio including Caleb Lewis of We Love You who recorded and mixed Vol. I. Eventually after a few lineups, the band settled into its current, and much more solid, iteration.
“We’re finally locked in as a four-piece unit,” Kaufman said. “The first few lineups seemed to have a hard time getting on the same page, but I truly feel that we’re getting to the point where we’re reading each others’ minds. With that being said, I think all our influences are extremely different, and that allows us to excite and inspire each other. It keeps everybody on their toes, and that’s something new to LLL. We’re not saying ‘no’ to something without exploring it first.”
Grinding out the heavy
Gear is another thing that helps LLL explore, learn, and grow.
“Gear is absolutely our favorite thing in the world,” Kaufman said. “We’re obsessed. We try to stretch our brains by experimenting with different sounds constantly. There’s absolutely nothing that’s off limits when it comes to gear.
“There are quite a few constants in our live rigs that we always use when we record. Both Adam and I use Walrus Audio’s Descent Reverb pedal and it’s all over our new stuff. We both recently switched over to EL34 tube-equipped amp heads as well, and that’s been a game changer for our sound. I’ve been using an octave-fuzz for a few different sections from Vol. I that I didn’t use when we recorded. It’s given the songs a whole new life when we play them live.”
Along with their gear and their lineup, Louisiana Lot Lizards grind out their version of heavy with their signature anger stampeding along the way.
This anger might come with the territory, but it’s deliberate as a catharsis whether you’re in the band or in the audience.
“I think the biggest thing I push with LLL is dealing with whatever extreme emotions you’re experiencing in a healthy way,” Kaufman said. “Vol. I dealt a lot with anger, from being afraid of yourself and the dark places your brain can go when you get wrapped up in negativity to being numb to the repetitiveness of everyday life.”
Celebrating being Alive
Once the band finally began, Kaufman was able to exorcize his own demons and turn the negativity of life into a celebration, even if that’s not an apparent focus of the songs. But sometimes, blatantly stating your message, whether it’s through a social media post or spoken aloud onstage, is the only way to get it out there. Then you are in control of the message. Once someone hears your songs, they are brought into your world and can benefit from all aspects.
“We want to celebrate the fact that we’re alive,” Kaufman said. “We want to celebrate the people who work hard to get through the day and do what they have to do to keep going. I want people to find a reason to keep fighting. I want to spread the love that was expressed to me when I didn’t feel like I could keep going. I want to offer a sense of community. I want our shows to feel like a gathering for people who need a reminder that life is beautiful and worth living.
“There’s so much bull---- trying to stop us from being happy. But there’s always hope. We want to remind people to hold onto hope.”
You can listen to Louisiana Lot Lizards on all major streaming platforms and on their Bandcamp page at louisianalotlizards.bandcamp.com.
You can also find their music videos on YouTube and can follow them on Instagram (@louisianalotlizards) to see dates for their upcoming shows.
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