Under the Influence with Le Galaxie
Irish five-piece electronic band, Le Galaxie, released their third studio album this spring, titled Pleasure (via Red River). In celebration of the band’s album unveiling, each member of the band recalls the key influences that have shaped the soundscape of the Le Galaxie project.
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Michael Pope on Los Angeles… The city of angels had influenced Le Galaxie long before we landed there to mix our second album Le Club. The visuals, the landscapes, the culture, the music, the movies. It was a golden, sprawling, shimmering, multi-cultural landscape that we wanted to absorb since our childhoods, which were filled with U.S. pop culture.
We had a week planned with ex-LCD Soundsystem engineer Eric Broucek at his studio in Culver City, so we set ourselves up in a duplex just outside Sony Studios and headed straight to Venice Beach to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Over the next week, when we weren’t staying out of the sunshine in Eric’s small studio working through Le Club album tracks like ‘Streetheart,’ ‘Humanise’ and ‘Freeway Flyer,’ we set about getting as much early morning and nocturnal Los Angeles in to our systems as we could.
We went downtown (a little too downtown as it turned out) and ended up wandering around Skid Row. We jammed in the home studio of the REMO drum rep for Los Angeles. We watched a ridiculously talented jam band in the Backstage Bar & Grill that turned out to have the son of Stephen Stills on guitar. We somehow ended up seeing a two-piece rock band from Dublin play in Echo Park. We drank beer. We ate In-N-Out. We finished mixing Le Club with one hour to spare. We left. We will be back soon.
Mary Kate Geraghty on Galway… This picture was taken in the apartment of the Roisin Dubh venue in Galway, Ireland, and it records the first night that I met Le Galaxie. My band at the time was Fight Like Apes, who were playing the same night. I would have laughed if you’d told me eight years later we’d be releasing an album together, unified into one band. We were just so different musically, but totally clicked otherwise. I was a massive fan of the band from day one. We were all friends throughout the years, and I ended up guesting on a track they were recording as a long-winded result of that night.
In the meantime, I played Galway again countless times and had one of my favorite shows ever in November 2016 for our final Fight Like Apes show. There were lots of hugs and tears. Galway is a very special place. There’s nowhere else like it. Through all the changes the country has been through, it has managed to keep its Irish essence very much intact, and all around the world, we meet people who say it’s their favorite place to go because of the pubs and the people. There’s a bit of magic in the air that I don’t think anyone could get rid of.
David McGloughlin on Sweden… When we had only just started out as a band, we used to play regular late-night shows on a tiny stage upstairs in a popular Dublin club. One of those nights we were approached after the show by a friendly Swedish guy: ‘Hey, I’m running a festival in Sweden this summer, and I’d love you guys to come over and play.’ When you’re in a band, you’re often approached by crazy random strangers with crazy random offers. You smile, you nod, you say, ‘Great, let’s talk tomorrow!’ and you expect to hear nothing more – but this guy was for real. He was a member of a band called I’m from Barcelona who was throwing a festival just outside Husqvarna in Sweden. For a band just starting out, as we were at the time, this was an incredible offer. So off we went, all expenses paid, to stay in a five-star hotel in Sweden and play a festival slot for people who could not possibly know who we are.
We had always been used to giving all we had to every show to will the audience into coming with us, but this one was going to take extra effort. We threw ourselves into it and as the songs went by, we could see the enthusiasm in the audience slowly start to spread until the whole tent was heaving, jumping and sweating along with us.
It was really that show that made us realize that we were on the right track with our music – that there was something universal about it. Even if the audience had never heard a single song, there was something there for them to grab on to.
Anthony Hyland on Austin… Austin, Texas has been a very important city on Le Galaxie’s roadmap. We’ve played SXSW twice in the past four years. We signed our publishing deal with Reservoir Media the first time we went. Reservoir has this amazing roster of artists, and it’s a privilege to be included among some incredible musicians and songwriters. They have been really great to us these past couple of years and have been really patient and supportive while the new album, Pleasure, was being recorded. Being with Reservoir means we can also now impress our parents when they’re watching new episodes of Dynasty and they hear our music playing in the background.
SXSW is always seat-of-your-pants hot chaos (good hot chaos), but it was the city itself that really left an impact on us. The people (friendliest dudes in the world), the music, the BBQ and the rodeo. Our favorite bar in the world, Giddy Ups, is just outside Austin. The last time we went in March, they were hosting the annual Spring Fling Music Festival. We saw country music gentleman, Bob Appel, perform – guy has an AMAZING voice. Then, the local taught us how to play Horseshoe. It was St Patrick’s Day, too.
Alastair Higgins on Slane, Westmeath…When we started work on our previous album, Le Club, we decided that our cramped rehearsal room wasn’t the best environment for songwriting. So, we decamped to a residential rehearsal space near a town called Slane in the Irish countryside. This area of Ireland is both beautiful and historic with dozens of ancient Neolithic tombs and the famous River Boyne nearby. There’s also a stately home famous for running one of Ireland’s longest-running and largest rock festivals.
We have fond memories of finding new ways to work together and bringing a more streamlined and focused work ethic to our sessions. Slane gave us the opportunity to have the space to set up all our synths in one room and led to us eventually changing our rehearsal room for a bigger and more creative space.
(Photo credit: Mark Duggan)
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