By Claire Salinas
Some may say instrumental music is as dead as Bach or Beethoven. But ask anyone at Explosions in the Sky’s packed 2014 Buku set or This Will Destroy You’s November show at One Eyed Jack’s, and they’ll tell you the local fan base for instrumental post-rock is alive and well.
Recently, BR’s own instrumental post-rock band Listen Earth have really “clicked” and, following positive response to their January demo, felt it was the right time to produce an EP.
“We’ve been playing together for a while and we finally reached a point where we clicked,” guitarist Ryan Rosenberg explained. “We would come to practice and jam for a while and that would become a song within two or three weeks… We felt like we had something to offer, so we spent the next six months putting together [our new EP] Embark.”
Drummer Zack Greaser engineered and produced the band’s demo, but when it came time to record the EP, Listen Earth headed up to Boston to use a real studio. The name of the EP came from something Rosenberg said as the band departed on their trip.
“Right before we left I sent a text message saying, ‘We’re scheduled to embark on our trip to Boston to record.’ That was like the catch phrase of the trip,” said Rosenberg.
According to Rosenberg, becoming an instrumental band was intentional.
“We all started to get into some bands that don’t have singers,” said Rosenberg. “There’s a band called This Will Destroy You that was a big influence on us. We decided there’s not going to be any vocals the music will just speak for itself.”
For West Lentz, the band’s resident musical genius with a degree in guitar performance, the beauty of the model is its versatility.
“While they’re listening to us the song can mean whatever they want it to mean.
There is nothing in the song saying this is what it’s about, everyone can get something different from it.”
Bassist Josh Ydarraga said the band’s sound could be best described in terms of colors – namely the color blue.
“A lot of our songs have a really chill aspect to them even during the builds. I also think black and gray kind of describe us. There are also some really, really heavy parts that we eventually build to from the softer parts. The gray can kind of be the in between of the build ups,” Ydarrga said.
Though the audience is for Listen Earth’s music is here, there are few similar local acts for the band to draw inspiration from. Rosenberg hopes that, rather than BR influencing his music, his music can influence the city.
“[Our genre] is a lot more popular in Pacific Northwest and Europe. We may be bringing some elements of those cultural hubs to Baton Rouge,” Rosenberg said.
Usually the band practices in Lentz’s converted garage space surrounded by guitars and amps, and their practice space reflects the eclectic, retro feel that people are looking for these days, especially locally. Rosenberg said that many have been clamoring for a vinyl pressing following Embark’s release, and he hopes the band can make that happen soon.
Most of all, Rosenberg hopes when people listen to the album they “just get the feels.”
“Good feelings, bad feelings, happiness, sadness, whatever it means to you that’s what it can mean.”
Listen Earth will be playing their next show in Baton Rouge on March 16 at 9:30 p.m. at The Library Northgate.