This duo was originally formed by War-N Harrison and Christa Belle when War-N was first asked to do a tribute cover of Depeche Mode which led to the release of "Blue Dress". Christa and War-N started working together on more material which was received with a lot of praise and so they released their debut album Apparitions. They were soon picked up by the Alfa Matrix label for their European releases and continue to self-release their domestic releases. In 2003 they released their sophomore album Glo which was quickly received with a lot of praise from DJ's and press around the world. 2004 saw the release of their third full-length album To Kill A King which also garnished positive reviews. Though the band remained active with live dates and an EP and their weekly podcasts, it wasn't until 2010 that we saw another full-length release with Pulse of the Earth.
With their excellent talents and styles, it's no wonder they have been so well received all over. They don't go straight to pop music, but are rather on the edges of the trip-hop and dreampop world with a darker edge to their music which seems to appeal to fans of Synthpop and Gothic-related genres as well, especially with the upbeat electro-pop mixes that have been released over the years. With this music and Christa's dreamy vocals, they are able to change with the various tastes that come and go with the different fads without quickly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, I look forward to more of what the future might bring as they continue to tour and hopefully record more music.
Check out remixes and original dreamy tracks on the various Gothic Paradise radio shows. More audio samples and information can be found on their webpage.
Pulse of the Earth - Review
It has been way too long since the album from this talented duo. At long last we have their latest work and though it's not really a concept album or story, it carries on something of a central theme and seems to pick right up where we last left off. Ten fresh new pieces graces this album in simple beauty as these two seem to so easily pull off each time.
"Just Imagine" kicks it all off with a somber, subtle beat that keeps the music moving along at a solid pace with soft electronics backing Christa's angelic vocals. Many times this introductory piece sets the pace and the mood for the album, but I would have to say it's the second track, which is the title track that really captivates the heart and soul of this work. The subtle electronics remain the backdrop, but the sentiment remains softer and moodier as the dreamy vocals meshed with ambient synths waft over the listener in soft, dreamy waves. This somber mood is reflected again on a few tracks later with "Voyeur" and with the final piece "Wandering".
For anyone that has ever felt clumsy or unwillingly in the spotlight, "Balloon Girl" and "Bumble" seem to really reflect that feeling. Both of these pieces are uplifting through the music and lyrics. For those that just love feeling like their heart is being ripped out through layers of emotion in music and lyrics, "Simone" is the perfect track. This minimal piece nearly brings me to tears whenever I hear it with the soft, somber, emotionally charged vocals over the sweet, beautiful music. And for a little twist we don't hear much we get "Sunday Smiled" which features Warren on vocals as well for a nice duet.
There is so much great material on this somewhat shorter album of ten tracks, lasting just over 41 minutes. Once again to finalize this album and this review, we'll touch on "Wandering" again. This has quickly become a favorite on this album with it's beauty and moods that start soft and sweet, slowly building to a solid climax in vocals and music. The lyrics are touching and meaningful, a bit painful and easily related to by many listeners, touching the heart in many ways. This is what Hungry Lucy is about, thought-provoking, intelligent, haunting beauty. What more can be said? Go download the album today.
To Kill A King - Review
Those that had previously read my review of the single To Kill A King already should have an idea of what to expect with this album. Although I had no idea that besides the pure beauty and power of the music, it would all be presented in something of a concept album which adds a lot of extra meaning and depth to the vocals and lyrics. The thirteen original tracks contribute to the short tale of a queen who figures out how to escape from the horrible control of her king. I found that the lyrics can be applied to many different aspects of our lives in getting out of messy situations, whether they be relationships or dark moments in our life. The positive message of self-worth and love is extremely powerful and motivating.
In addition to these thirteen tracks we are also treated to four additional remixes. These are all remixed more or less for the electro-pop audience with a danceable beat added to each selection. Remixers include War-N Harrison (as F9), trigger10d and Null Device. Each of these remixes take these already perfect tracks and add a nice moving beat and their own unique styles.
With that overview, I think most fans will already be quite excited about this album, but I haven't even tried to describe the excellent work that comprises these thirteen masterpieces. Like previous works, this duo manages to cross many genres of the electronic and dark wave world along with Christa's dreamy and evocative vocals. You can almost feel the oppression in "High Price of Mistakes" and the somber moods of the powerful trip-hop piece "You Are". But the hope and love flows freely in others as this emotional roller-coaster moves from "Rainfall", "Good Girl" and the soft and pensive track "The Chase".
The finale to this album culminates in the form of two memorable works. First, the title track "To Kill A King" captures the overall sentiment of the album and sums it up in one song. The layered and commanding electronics bring out the best of this duo with the subtle layers and pulsing synths providing the foundation for Christa to mesmerize the listener with her enchanting vocals. Lastly we're given a real treat with "My Beloved" which is a truly magnificent work. The composition is something that takes slight classical elements and melds them together with subdued electronics. But add to this the additional guest vocals of Alexx Reed, Kristy Venrick, Angela Stollings and Carol Harrison for a nice quartet adding backing vocals. This addition really brings out the uplifting power of this piece.
As I was going through the album picking out selections for my radio show, I ended up selecting the entire album to put on rotation. The tracks are that powerful and captivating! So I think that is what sums it up. The entire album as a whole is wonderful, or you can pick each track and listen individually and each one tells a story and brings a message that is powerful, enjoyable and uplifting in so many ways.
Glo - Review
Even before the release of their debut album I was listening to and including Hungry Lucy tracks on my mp3.com radio shows. I've never been a huge fan of trip-hop, bands like Massive Attack, Bjork and Portishead never really attracted me, even as much as I love smooth and angelic female voices. So when I first heard a few tracks I had some reservations, but by listening to more and more these were soon abandoned and now I'm a full-blown fan. With this second album by Hungry Lucy the style, moods and danceable remixes just make it a great piece of work. Over the past few weeks both of the discs on this album have spend a lot of time in my CD player as I've drifted from melancholy to upbeat moods, there was always something there for me.
Right now, I have the lights dimmed as I listen to the first disc, with it's slow melancholy beats, beautiful music and dreamy vocals that really carry the listener away. There is just enough rhythm to keep trip-hop fans happy, but for me it borders more on dream pop and Ethereal "Heavenly Voices" music which I'm a huge fan of. The first track "Could It Be" is probably the most upbeat track on the first disc. "Fearful" is another that really seems to get a groove going, but borders more on synthpop than anything else, which is a really nice touch that goes well with the vocals and intelligent lyrics. There are others that approach this slightly faster beat, but most fall more within the dreamier realm.
I think this Ethereal edge that's so dominent in this release is really the big attraction for me. The music is smooth and excellently composed while the vocals are mesmerizing and convey each touching message so well. I don't know that I could really find many flaws in each original composition. Of course I have a few favorites on this disc, maybe for their more ethereal nature, maybe just for the emotional feelings portrayed and the lyrics that provide the basis. "Her Song" is definitely one of these with the deep-rooted emotional words put to beautiful aural soundscapes. While there are many more on this album, the finale and another favorite is also the title track "Glo". This slightly longer track ebbs and flows as it finally fades and ends this first disc which is an absolute masterpiece.
The second disc is something that I also really enjoy. I think that all bands should just forget releasing separate singles that seem like such a waste of hardware, space and money and just release all of their remixes and b-side tracks on a second disc similar to what has been released here. The remixes on the second disc are really well done and instead of completely ruining the tracks as many remixers do, I would have to say that most of the remixes really compliment the tracks. Most of these remixes add a synthpop beat to them which make them perfect for the dancefloor in many ways. Of course I can't end without naming a few of my favorite mixes. I think the first remix of "Her Song" by Trigger10d with its experimental synthpop loops and sounds and the solid beat is a great mix. Similarly, the synthpop radio mix of this same song by War-N Harrison follows along these similar lines slowly building to a fairly solid dance beat. The remix of "Fearful" by Aiboforcen is another great remix of an already fairly solid track, they add the more solid synth loops and beat to it. The Neikka RPM remix of "In The Circle" is another that takes it to a synthpop dance track which is fairly decent, keeping the original integrity, but adding a good beat to it. Chandeen and Claire Voyant each also add their own remixing touch, creating dreamy and smooth tracks out of already smooth tracks, just adding their own personal touch to "Open Window" and "Stay" respectfully.
I think that is more than enough said about this album. The music is great, the concept of a double cd is also a real win for fans and DJs alike without the hastle of the "Maxi Single Dilemna" that many people have heard me say before. With that said, if you're a fan of synthpop or dreamy female vocals similar to those on the Hyperium label's Heavenly Voices compilation, then you should not hesitate to pick up this album.
Interview and Concert Notes - May 2005
We had the great opportunity to watch an incredible show at a small, intimate and very comfortable venue. Three bands performed including locals QStandsForQ, Bloodwire and Hungry Lucy. Hungry Lucy had performed in town before for the Dark Arts Festival, a performance which we had regretfully missed. So it was a great opportunity to see all three of these bands play live.
QStandsForQ took the stage first and put on an awesome shoegazer's dream show. Plenty of low, distorted guitar, minimalistic keyboards and acoustic guitars as well. The band pulled off an excellent performance that would make any sad-core fan swoon.
This was the first tour for Bloodwire and so they had only played a few shows. They took the stage next and put on a show that was comparable to a band that had been performing for years! Shawn and I-Li were flawless in their performance whether they took up guitars or were swaying to their mix of ethereal and electronic masterpieces.
Hungry Lucy was the final act for the night and presented their unique mix of sweet, mysterious and emotional music for their fans. They really got into the show playing many favorites from their recent and past works, concentrating on their latest album To Kill A King. They put on a solid performance that will be remembered by us for a very long time.
Gothic Paradise - We are here sitting with the band members of Hungry Lucy (War-N Harrison and Christa Belle) and Bloodwire (Shawn Brice and I-Li Chang), just a few minutes before their performance at Sugarbeats in Salt Lake City Utah.
Gothic Paradise - We would like to start with a couple of questions for Bloodwire. This is the first interview that the band has done, and we are curious to know the history of the band's name.
Shawn - Well, the website wasn't taken (laughs). We had to have a good website for the bandname or else people wouldn't know to go there. And then we were searching for some kind of name that is a combination of mechanical and human. The blood is the emotions and human part, and the wire represents all the electronics in the music. It is kind of weird, when people hear the name of the band, initially they tend to think of us, as a death metal band, (laughing).
Gothic Paradise - The name does sound dark, but as you listen to the music you find out that it is not really the case. And then along the same lines what is behind the album name Transformation?
Shawn - It's just that we're both very shy people and so we had to sort of transform and come out of our shell in order to express this stuff to everyone.
I-Li - Especially for me, since I had never been on stage, I had no idea what it would be like. I also worked for a hypnotherapist and they used the term "Transformation" a lot, and so it seemed to fit what we're doing.
Gothic Paradise - Turning to Hungry Lucy, most of us are familiar that the name of the band comes from a ghost story, however, we are not familiar with the story itself. What can you tell us about it?
Hungry Lucy - It is the love story of a woman named Lucy, and a man named Alfred. Alfred was sent to the revolutionary war while Lucy stayed in their town house. While Alfred was fighting in the war, Lucy was doing what it was expected of her as a women back them, which was to stay where they were. Lucy got sick, there was a fever epidemic and she died, but her soul was so longing for Alfred that she didn't believe that she had died and stayed in the house. But as she had died, Alfred had also died in the war. As much time went by and people went through the town house, they started noticing that there was something or someone in the house.
Well it wasn't until June Havoc lived there and she called a medium Hanz Holzer and they did a séance and they figured out it was Lucy. The reason that they called her Hungry Lucy was because she would moan for food but she couldn't eat because she was dead.
People have asked me if it's a ghost I know, which it isn't, but the supernatural is something that I've felt and been exposed to since I was little with my sister. So it's something I feel close to.
Gothic Paradise - Something that I really like to get from each of the bands that I interview is to find out past and present influences. So if you each want to share with us some of your influences, I think people might find it interesting.
War-N - My first influence was Wendy Carlos. She is an electronic musician and she took classical music, particularly Bach and played it all on synthesizers. It was really good stuff and that's what got me interested in electronic music. Today? My favorite band today is Bloodwire! You'll know what I mean after you hear them play tonight.
Christa - I refused one of my major influences for a long time because she wasn't really "cool". It was Dolly Parton and you know, when you grow up and you listen to your parents' music, you don't want to like it. But when I got older I realized that she was an excellent songwriter and I always have loved Olivia Newton-John and still do. I was also influenced by a lot of others and recently I've been listening to a LOT of Tori Amos.
Shawn - Related to what War-N said, they used to have these public service announcements when I was a kid and they would play one of the Brandenburg Concertos by Walter Carlos, so that was one of the things that stood out while watching cartoons. They would have these little "Knowledge is Power" type of things and playing that in the background and that was one of the influences growing up. I guess Depeche Mode was probably the thing that changed it all for me. Just in their use of sounds and song structure and things like that. For Transformation I listened to tons of stuff, like one of the influences for that is the last Brandy album. The beats on that are just amazing. The Notwist and my ultimate band The Cure are also great influences.
I-Li - Oh No! my turn? I always grew up in love with keyboardists like Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, Joe Jackson, Howard Jones, Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode. And so surprisingly I married this guy (pointing to Shawn) an excellent keyboardist and he's my main inspiration. And then as vocals go, I'm not sure. I listen to a lot of Cocteau Twins growing up and This Mortal Coil and you know, a lot of the Delerium stuff and definitely Hungry Lucy!
Shawn & I-Li - It's great to be on tour together because we get to hear each other's sets every night. And we never get tired of it.
Gothic Paradise - Here's a question for the two vocalists: have either of you had any vocal training?
I-Li & Christa - No! except the car (laughing).
Gothic Paradise - So you probably go into the studio and record it all in one take, right?
Christa - OH NO! sometimes we'll go in and record and listen to it over and over and go back in the next week to do it all over again.
Shawn - One of our things is that I-Li does karate and she'll go do a work out and come back fresh from that to record.
I-Li - It's the best time to come back. My lungs are open, martial arts helps a lot!
Gothic Paradise - As you all have described your influences it's apparent in much of your music, well, maybe not so much Dolly Parton, but many of the others are there. But the mention of Brandy in the music with the trip hop coming from that hip-hop style. So I think we can all relate now how all the music came together.
Gothic Paradise - Here's a really tough one for you that I also like to find out. From your own music, what's your favorite song that you've done?
War-N - It depends on what level, I mean, if you sit down and really listen to it, I think "Softly" is one of my favorites. Performing live, I think "In The Circle" is my favorite because I get to hit stuff. So it depends on the mood, it depends on the day.
I-Li - I think my favorite is probably "Caving In", because it was one of the songs I was crying "no, it can't be on the album, it's horrible". And then Shawn did his magic and it turned out great. That one is definitely something that turned out completely different than the original sketch.
Shawn - That was definitely one where I really started thinking differently about how to construct a song.
Gothic Paradise - That actually brings me to my next question. (Turning to Bloodwire) Obviously you've just gotten started, so I can't really ask you much about your history or how you've changed, but maybe I can ask you how you might do something different in the future, how you might approach your next album or any future changes?
Shawn - The album has two directions of being harsh and soft, and I think we may take that a little farther, maybe more extreme. Maybe faster and heavier stuff and even softer stuff.
Gothic Paradise - (Turning to Hungry Lucy) For you I get to ask both questions, how do you feel your music has changed over the years?
War-N - It seems like for the first two albums, especially for the first one, it was more about trying to create something and then maybe push it into a style. So it had more of a darker theme. For Glo I wanted to go the opposite direction and make it a little happier. And for To Kill A King, I didn't care, I just wanted to write some songs and so the style doesn't really matter.
Christa - We never go into it thinking what style it's going to be.
Gothic Paradise - Right, and I don't mean to imply or even ask about specific styles.
War-N - See, that's the trick is once you've created it, you have to market it and so it's inevitable, you have to pigeon-hole it.
Gothic Paradise - And I hate to pigeon-hole anything, but from my experience when I write a review of something, I have to find a way to explain to people who have never heard Hungry Lucy before what you actually sound like. And the only real way to do that is to compare and classify the music somehow. And Hungry Lucy is hard especially because Alfa-Matrix puts out all of those remixes, so if you're a synthpop fan you can pick up the DJ mixes or whatever. But if you're a Projekt fan then pick up disc 1 of Glo and To Kill a King.
War-N - Something for everyone, (laughing)
Gothic Paradise - Right, it really is, and for Bloodwire as you expand more I can see that also.
Shawn - If you have any descriptions to give us,
I-Li - Yeah, we had a hard time trying to describe our album.
Gothic Paradise - Trip hop is one of the first things that comes to mind, it fits right onto the Noir Record compilation. It just flows well with all of those selections.
Gothic Paradise - OK, with both Shawn and War-N, you've both had a lot of contact and work with Cop International, a good label, but yet both of you release your own work.
War-N - I'll tell you why, and there are a number of good reasons for doing this. From the business standpoint, while all of these independent labels have good intentions, they have a limited budget and it's spread over several bands. Ultimately they're not doing anything that we can't do ourselves, in fact we can probably do it better because we can focus everything into that. It's just so much better unless you get some huge label that's going to just pour tons of money into it.
Gothic Paradise - And I think you've got that with Alfa-Matrix in Europe they've opened tons of doors for you (referring to Hungry Lucy).
Shawn - It has nothing to do with COP, it's just better to get 100% of very little then a small percentage.
Gothic Paradise - Finally, our last question, you're about halfway done with this tour, what has been a highlight of the tour for you?
Christa - Chicago was fun.
War-N - I think Boston was a pretty good show.
I-Li - Our first show was fun in North Carolina.
War-N - The best part has been touring with our best friends. We've been friends for years and we finally get to tour together.
Gothic Paradise - What really stands out in your mind? The crowd reactions or what exactly?
Christa - The crowds haven't been big by any means, but they've been very appreciative, the people that have been there.
War-N - I would take a crowd of 30 enthusiastic people over 300 that want you off the stage.
Gothic Paradise - With that, I think we're about out of time, but is there anything you want to shout out to the fans?
Everyone - Thank you to all the fans!
USA Label: Hungry Lucy Music
European Label: Alfa Matrix