Published on April 12th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Lusine recently released The Waiting Room, his lush fifth album on Ghostly International, and one featuring guest vocal appearances from his wife Sarah. Rocksucker fired some questions over to the man behind it all – the Texas-bred, Seattle-based Jeff McIlwain – in the hope of finding out more…
Congratulations on a splendid new album. Would you agree that it has a more accessible sound than some of your previous work, and if so what do you think brought that on?
Thank you, I suppose it does. I wasn’t totally what I was going for. I just got more interested in working with vocals and lyrics that were more upfront. I think instrumental music can be just as accessible, so for me, this was kind of experimentation with a style that I haven’t covered as much.
What made you decide to cover “Get the Message” by Electronic? Are any of the other tracks on the new album covers?
No, just that one. That Electronic album was a huge thing for me when I was young, lots of time in the car with that cassette when I was about 16. Sarah felt the same. So, we really wanted to cover one of the tracks, and “Get the Message” just worked the best.
Who wrote the lyrics on tracks like “Another Tomorrow” and “Without a Plan”?
I wrote the lyrics for “Another Tomorrow” and “By this Sound” (in collaboration with Sarah). My friend Janelle wrote the lyrics for “Without a Plan”, and we collaborated on kind of paring them down.
How did you come to score Snow Angels, Linewatch and The Sitter? Do you like them as films? Have you been approached about doing any more?
I’ve been good friends with David Wingo since we were about 18. So, he and David Green brought me in on a couple of Green’s film projects (Snow Angels, The Sitter). I demo’d for Linewatch and did that one on my own. David Wingo and I just finished the score for Green’s newest project, Joe, which should be out in the fall. There are aspects of all of those films that I like, but it’s really hard to be totally objective about a film that you’re involved in personally. This is definitely a direction I want to go in, so yes, I am hoping for more.
How was SXSW for you? Will you be playing any festivals this summer?
It was good. I used to live in Austin, so it was a lot of catching up with friends. I love that city, and would like to go back soon without the craziness of the festival.
Do you have any plans to come to the UK in the near future?
There is a possible date in October with some of the Ghostly artists, and then I’ll see if I can come up with a couple more shows while I’m there. Really looking forward to it if it happens.
What would you say has been the highlight so far of your career in music?
Wow, that’s a difficult question. There have been a lot. When I’m working on a track and things start to come together, and when I’ve come across a new idea, and it feels like I’ve crossed a sort of musical barrier, those times are really rewarding. Aside from that, the travel has been a huge bonus, and I probably wouldn’t have met Sarah if I didn’t do what I do, so I’ll always be thankful for that.
What new music have you been enjoying and/or looking forward to in 2013?
I’ve just started checking out the new DJ Koze and Bonobo albums. The Mountains album Air Museum is great. Really look forward to hearing the new National album. They’re one of my favorite bands and it sounds as though they’ll be collaborating with a lot of good artists on this one.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days with the entire works of just five different artists, musical or otherwise, whose would you choose?
Another difficult one. As it stands right now, I’d probably pick Claude Debussy, Uwe Schmidt, Sam Prekop, Robert Altman and the Coen brothers.
Jeff McIlwain, thank you.
The Waiting Room is out now on Ghostly International. For more information, please click here to visit Lusine’s official website.