For the first time this month, New York lo-fi band LVL UP will head to these shores for their debut UK shows. It comes off the back of last year’s frantic and rousing third album ‘Return To Love’ – the band’s first on cult label Sub Pop.
To celebrate their jaunt to Europe, they’ve shared the video for ‘Blur’ which you can see below, and guitarist Mike Caridi talked us through the inspiration for the video and their upcoming tour.
Where did the concept for the video come from?
Mike: “The concept for the ‘Blur video’ came from a collaborative brainstorm session between myself, Ryan Schnackenberg (director), and Adam Kolodny (director of photography) over breakfast at a cafe in Brooklyn. For the look of the video we drew inspiration from films like Badlands, Buffalo 66, Gummo, etc.”
“Similar lonely characters had been written into many collaborative short films, or story ideas between Ryan and I throughout college, always with different motives, but each as lonely as the last. The character in ‘Blur’ is a person who despite his demeanors, is living in loneliness and nostalgia. There’s something subtly striking and tragic about someone living in the past, which the character in Blur is doing, in an increasingly monotonous and cyclical sense throughout the video.”
Ryan Schnackenberg: “I have a very distinct memory of being squirreled away in a corner at a party with Mike talking about video ideas, and he brought up the idea of a character doing burnouts in an empty lot. I thought that was a hilarious but depressing visual, that said so much to me about this character’s inner life, and we jumped off from there. Mike’s songs deal a lot with nostalgia, loneliness, and memory, so it felt right to document and dramatize parts of his life that he’s put into the music as well.”
Whose trophies were you destroying in the video?
Mike: “Those are my childhood trophies. We shot the video at my parents house, and around the spots I frequently hung around in my teen years.”
What’s taken you so long to come to the UK?
“It’s expensive and scary for a band to ‘cross the pond’, and we tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to financial risk as a band. We are all eternally broke, and wanted to wait until we felt the time was truly right for us to come over. We are really excited, I’ve personally never been outta North America!”
What have you learned the most about yourselves as a band while touring this album?
“The tour cycle for this record has been the most rigorous to date. We just completed a week of shows with Cloud Nothings, followed by a month long tour with Palm, now we have four full days off before we fly to EU for another month of shows, not to mention the 5 weeks we did late last year. Touring has always been pretty strenuous on the four of us mentally, but I think especially with this most recent tour we have found the most harmonious way of existing with each other and caring for each other’s needs in extremely close quarters. Feels like after all these years we’ve finally fallen into a rhythm on the road that works for us as individuals. A good night’s sleep and a tasty breakfast keeps us happy.”
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LVL UP will play:
The Hug & Pint, Glasgow (Mar 28)
Think Tank, Newcastle (Mar 29)
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Mar 30)
Gullivers, Manchester (Mar 31)
JT Soar, Nottingham (April 1)
Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham (April 2)
Clwb ifor Bach, Cardiff (April 3)
Kamio, London, UK – *VENUE UPGRADED* (April 4)
Green Door Store, Brighton (April 5)
‘Return To Love’ is out now via Sub Pop