In Lightning is a breath of fresh instrumental air in a city of overflowing musical expression. Their self-description is deep: “Transcendent Inspiring Melodic Rich Classical Colorful Groovin’ Rockin’ Energetic Uplifting Genuine Brilliant Music.” I mean, the 7 piece band includes strings and brass. Unreal.
The Louisville bred band has a new album that is the focus of their Headliners Music Hall show this Friday evening. We talked with Ben Short, bassist for In Lightning, about an abundance of things. This band is thoughtful, involved, positive, inventive…all of the above. And we are into it.
Live Music Louisville: In Joy…that has all kinds of good vibes. Where did this album name and album as a whole come from?
Ben Short of In Lightning: Yeah! Good. From the inception of this band and decision to work towards making it a real thing, I’ve kept multiple notebooks laying around dedicated to various aspects of the brainstorming, planning, composing, rehearsing, etc. involved. One of those notebooks has a page full of potential album names…as well as potential second and third album names, haha. “Enjoy” was on that page.
To me, it’s about offering you, the listener, this music, for you to enjoy. “Here. Please have this. Enjoy!” All of our music is intended to be positive, fun, uplifting, motivating. It is intended to be enjoyed. And of course, consistent with the wordplay in our band name, “In Joy” it is. Which brings another element of imagination to it, right? Being taken away on these song-journeys is what it might feel like to experience being inside Joy!
LML: I saw you guys at Pride earlier this summer. What was that experience like especially considering how recent the Orlando attacks were to the celebration?
BS: We were very proud to have no doubts, no second thoughts, about showing up and performing at Pride. Our moms expressed concern, haha. But there was never any doubt in any of our minds about playing that show. And there never would be. We were showing up with nothing but love and respect, and we were confident that everyone else would be too.
As an artist, it feels especially special to be able to use your art actively for a good cause. We were proud to promote the event. We were proud to have our name associated with the event. If we have any influence at all, let it been seen that we support gay rights, LGBTQ, civil rights. It’s stupid that it even still has to be an issue. It’s stupid that it has been suggested that we should “get a cookie” for being willing to treat everyone equally and fairly. Uhm, of course.
And on a lighter note, our music is joyful and fun! We’re a great band for a festival setting because of all our different members on stage, performing this obviously intricate music, all live. No computers, no backing tracks. All live energy and passion. That was the biggest audience we’d ever performed in front of, over 2,000 people I believe. It was fantastic. We played our hearts out, and the audience was loving us back.
LML: Obviously the Louisville music scene is overflowing with creativity right now. A couple of parts to this question…Part 1: How does In Lightning stand out among all the amazing stuff coming out of our town right now?
BS: I think In Lightning stands out pretty easily, whether it’s by hearing us, or seeing us on stage. There is no one else writing music like we’re writing, no one else with an instrumentation like ours, or an approach like what we’re doing. We are a mini rock-symphony! We compose instrumental songs. But not spa lobby, elevator music instrumental. Exciting, engaging, dramatic, groovy, fun music. Like if the Red Hot Chili Peppers dropped Anthony Kiedis, and instead worked with Hans Zimmer.
LML: Part 2: How does all this musical magic inspire/motivate you all in your creative processes?
BS: Inspiration comes from so many things. Plenty of ideas are inspired by other music, other performers. But I find that inspiration most often will come from being in a great mood. My artistic process begins with doing all of the things in my life that give me the potential to be stress-less, and in a great mood. Bills paid, errands ran, apartment clean, all of that “life maintenance,” as I call it. That’s not a very sexy answer. But it’s true. By prioritizing uncluttering my life, I give myself the most potential to be creative.
LML: Aaand part 3: What Louisville acts are you all listening to right now?!
BS: Great question! We’re all really into Powell, those guys throw down! Monolith, 1200, Black Birds of Paradise, Jack Holiday & The Westerners, The Tunesmiths, Wax Fang, The Pass. The Louisville music scene is very rich with talent, so much of which I just know is on the verge of transcending. These are just the first acts that came to mind today. If you asked me tomorrow, I’d likely rattle off 10 other bands. Let’s see…Quiet Hollers, Phourist & The Photons, Nellie Pearl, Dr. Dundiff, Zach Longoria Project, Otis Jr & The Jesse Lees. We’re rich. Go see live music!
Get in the groove with their video for the song “Turn It Wild,” and add the song to you weekend playlist with free download here. And come check out the live show and celebrate In Joy with us at Headliners Friday night!