(Editor’s Note: The hard-rock band Little Liar is riding the waves of momentum from its well-received new album ‘Liquor, Lust & Anguish.’ Made up of Austin Reese on rhythm guitar and vocals; Matt Levulis on lead guitar and backup vocals; Nathan Dash on bass, and Derek Langdon on drums, the four-piece band is busy with a heavy schedule of shows — as well as work-a-day jobs. Though their world is jam-packed, Matt Levulis was kind enough to find the time to speak with 1120 Press and field some questions on the band’s behalf. We appreciate his cooperation. Please read our story below. — Photos provided.)
1120 PRESS: Thank you for speaking with us. First things first: ‘Liquor, Lust & Anguish’ came out on Oct. 6. This is your first album. Overall, what was it like creating it?
MATT LEVULIS: Thank you for having us, this is going to be a fun interview! Yes, this is our first album! The process of making it was just one-of-a-kind. We had the opportunity of recording at GCR Studios with Marc Hunt, who was just an absolute pleasure to work with. The knowledge he had to suggest ideas without changing our sound and bringing out the best in us, as far as playing, really helped shape this record into what it is. The process of creating it was long and tiring. Eight-hour days of being in one room will do that, not to mention we had only three days to actually get the album done. We worked tirelessly, skipping lunches, and pushing the limits of how late we were allowed in there, but luckily the people at GCR were super flexible and willing to work with us! While it was tiring, being able to go to the studio instead of work was something that made us feel like, “yeah we could get used to this,” and seeing this piece of art we had been working on for the last year come to life is unlike anything else we’ve ever experienced. When we finally got the physical copies in, it all set in and felt real. The emotion was overwhelming. While it was long and tiring, the finished product made this all worth it and we can’t wait to get back into the studio and do it again. We couldn’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of our careers.
1120: How did you all meet and decide to make a band?
ML: Dash, Austin, and Derek all knew each other prior to the band forming. We went through multiple phases of bassists and drummers before ending up with our current lineup. Things didn’t seem to work because of medical issues, and clashing personalities, but eventually Austin suggested bringing in Dash and Derek, and everything clicked. As far as me and Austin, we had previously talked online about forming what has now become Little Liar, originally as a blues group. But it really wasn’t the sound Austin was looking for, so, after some changes and deciding to go a different path, I had Austin come in for a tryout and it was an easy ‘yes,’ as his voice blew me away. I think we all always knew we wanted play music for a career, but just hadn’t found the right people. When we clicked together, it just seemed like it was the only thing to do.
1120: Let’s talk about your influences. We thought STP came out a lot in your new video, ‘Dirty Broke Kid.’ Why do you think you gravitate to hard rock and how does the audience respond?
ML: We have a pretty wide array of influences, Stone Temple Pilots definitely being one of them. Really, most of the big grunge bands fall under that; Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana. Outside of that era our influences include Black Sabbath, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, and The Black Keys. I think we gravitate towards hard rock because it’s what we were brought up on, and because it most directly influences our personalities of being able to let loose, have a good time, and really make some irresponsible choices once-in-a-while. We also get pretty rowdy, and I don’t think there’s a genre that fits that better. In relation to the audience response, I feel as though we’ve done a good job of capturing people’s attention regardless of what bill we have been thrown on. We’ve had the issue of being on bills with a wide array of bands, or not really fitting the sound super well, but at the end of the day we still are able to grab the crowd’s attention and sway them towards us, which is all we can really ask for. It’s always fun seeing people moshing to some of our original music, and seeing people really get into something you put so much work into. It really makes it all worth it.
1120: On that same thread, what have the shows been like? You started around Hamburg a lot, but it wasn’t long until you were downtown at Mohawk Place. What were you thinking as you started gigging every weekend and ending up on college radio?
ML: Yeah, we really started out slow as an acoustic act just doing some shows to get the name out there and scrape together some extra cash until we could get the full band rolling and up to speed. What really surprises me is how far we have come in such a short time, and the fact that we were as busy as we were this past summer, it seemed like there really was a demand for us. However, as anything goes, some shows are hit and miss, but being able to get into places like Music Is Art and Rec Room were just massive highlights! And to pick up the momentum that we have had, only gigging with this lineup since March, is nuts. Heading into more regular gigging we started thinking about how to be smarter about what shows we could accept and what we couldn’t, taking into account that we didn’t want to burn ourselves out and I think that is something that not only a lot of music listeners forget about but also musicians. Sometimes it’s better to pace yourself, and we have found a great stride with that. Lastly on the radio station, that was just something we were beyond excited about. To be able to be live on the air and give that to all our people who have been supporting us was awesome. An unexpected outcome from that was a close relationship from the people at WBNY. They booked us on a whim without hearing us and they instantly became fans. Some of the greatest people over there. We are so grateful for the awesome opportunity.
1120: In an age of streaming, why did you guys put out a physical album? It’s really fascinating to us that you’re doing that. Is there something about a physical copy that means something to you?
ML: For me, personally, as a kid there was always something special about being able to hold the artwork of the album and put an item to the sound that’s inspired you. I feel like the nostalgia of it takes me back to a time where all I had to worry about was playing records and CDs and getting better at guitar. Another aspect to that was also realizing the album itself is a piece of art that the artist took time to design, and it really should be treated as that, because the artist took the time to design that for the listener and it feels like the only right way to actually listen to music is through a physical form. Lastly, we also wanted to give people a piece of us that they can hold onto and say ‘hey, we were here in the beginning, and I have a piece of these guys’ history.’ That really means a lot that people not only want that, but that we are able to give that to them.
1120: Finally, what’s next for the band now that the album is out?
ML: We plan on expanding, playing shows in different cities, and trying to get as much air play and visibility for us and the album as possible. The singles have already been doing great and we are being streamed in 30 countries so we’re really hoping to take that momentum and push for at least a local circuit of surrounding cities such as Rochester, Syracuse, Erie, Pittsburg, Toronto and Hamilton, and eventually a tour on the east coast. The ultimate goal is to tour and make a career out of this, but the support has been insane and more than we could ask for, and we appreciate everyone who’s taken a chance on us to this point and promise there’s a ton more to come!