By: Vanessa Polojac
A shared love for noise rock, plenty of practice room jam sessions and a journey across Europe helped forged the decade-long friendship behind Look Vibrant.
The Montreal-based noise/art-pop band’s futuristic sounds and high-energy performances will be featured again on their upcoming studio album.
Look Vibrant will be dropping their well-awaited debut full- length album The Up Here Place, set to release on March 15.
Look Vibrant is composed of Justin Lazarus (keyboard/synthesizer & vocals), Matthew Murphy (guitar & vocals), Eli Kaufman (drums) and Alex Rand (bass & backing vocals).
Both Lazarus and Murphy knew from an early age that music was something that they were bound to pursue.
Their friendship began over a decade ago while they were both attending the Etobicoke School of the Arts.
“We were always jamming out in the practice room,” said Lazarus.
“A lot of the bands that influence us now have come from those jam sessions. We both liked noise music and bands that many other kids [did not listen to], bands like Black Dice.”
Then when the two graduated from high school, the best friends decided not to go onto post-secondary school right away. They travelled across the world and showcased their musical abilities.
They backpacked across Europe to gain a worldly perspective and inspiration while busking to survive.
This is when Lazarus and Murphy began the musical endeavour of Look Vibrant.
“The band name sparked up from a mistranslation,” said Lazarus.
“While we were in a record store in Italy, someone was trying to introduce us to Luke Vibert (a British electronic recording artist) but we understood the name as Look Vibrant because of his accent,” said Lazarus.
The following summer, the two packed up and moved from Toronto to Montreal to record their first demo under the name Look Vibrant.This name also sparked an idea for the two close friends.
Coming from a background in all forms of art, they knew that the visuals would correspond with their band name.
Look Vibrant has been heavily involved with the image of their band.For the past five years, the band has been collaborating with Montreal based artist, Max Taeuschel.
His work has been featured in Pitchfork, POP Montreal, Art Matters and many other Canadian art publications.
“The name of our band lent itself to our aesthetic. … We grew up with Max and he has been with the band forever. He is really the mastermind behind all of the bright colours in our music videos, live shows and band art.” said Lazarus.
Much like Hamilton, Montreal is a city that takes pride in their music scene and focuses on promoting their artists. Lazarus and Murphy were both drawn to Montreal because their alternative-rock idols hailed from the city.
In 2013, they met Rand, who is also a native to Toronto and Kaufman in Montreal to complete the rest of Look Vibrant.
Although forming and emerging out of the Montreal music scene, Lazarus found there to be a distinct difference between his own band and the rest of the city’s music scene. But over time, they have become a staple indie act in the city.
“At the time we started out there was a lot of jangly guitar rock music that had come from Calgary and heavy electronic music that was becoming very famous in [Montreal],” explained Lazarus.
“We did not fit into those categories, so we felt [distant] to what was evolving musically in the city.”
Look Vibrant is a unique band because their music does not seem to fit into any specific genre.
At the beginning, Lazarus and Murphy were heavily influenced by the noise music genre that directly inspired their debut singles “Plateau” and “Stranger Kind”. Now, the band is looking to evolve and progress past the acts that initially inspired their first jam sessions.
“During the past few years, Matt went back to school. He polished our sound for our current album although we kept some of the low-fi noise elements,” said Lazarus.
With the release of their debut album, Look Vibrant has moved away from this genre of music to a more electro-acoustic sound.
For the rest of 2018, the band will be heading across Southern Ontario to embark on a headlining tour promoting their debut album.
They have also have begun working on their follow-up album and are hoping to release new music shortly after the debut of The Up Here Place.