The Allah-Las are one of our favorite Los Angeles bands. We recently had a great time chatting with Matt, Spencer, Miles, and Pedrum before their killer set at Echo Park Rising downtown. It was short and sweet and the guys talked about beginnings, inspirations and their new album.
Here's how the convo went down:
HEX: I know a bunch of you guys met when you were at Amoeba Records, can you give us the backstory on that. What brought you there, and how did it all come together?
Allah-Las: Matt started working at the San Francisco Amoeba, and then he got me a job, and Pedrum worked there as well. We worked there for a little while together, and then started the band together, with Miles. That was about six years ago.
Three of us went to high school together. That's how we knew each other.
HEX: You guys work a lot with Nick Waterhouse on your recordings. How has he influenced the progression of the sound?
Allah-Las: We also want to give a shout-out to Dan Horn who was a big part of the last record we did.
The studio is actually right here, on the other side of that red, that red brick building [points].
So Dan Horn and Nick Waterhouse both have a good influence, and are great people to work with. It's always fun making records with those guys.
HEX: You guys are traveling all over the world now. How would you define “The L.A. Sound” , or what you guys' version of the L.A. sound is?
Allah-Las: I think people take different things and try to mix them up together. That's, that's kind of what this town is all about. But it’s hard to say. Everybody takes their different route, I guess.
HEX: What's the vibe behind the new album? Where did it come from, where are you going with it?
Allah-Las: This one we had all the songs were thought out on the road by us individually or collectively, and we've gotten a chance to kind of work them out, hash them out in the studio afterward. As opposed to the last record where we just played them live over and over again, and figured them out that way. Doing it in the studio gave us the opportunity to be a little more creative with instrumentation and throw different things in there, try things. It was a good experience for us. We really enjoyed doing that.
HEX: It's coming out, what, September, next month?
Allah-Las: The 16th, yes.
HEX: So your tour will start off in Europe. Are there any specific place you guys are really looking forward to playing or places you're looking forward to getting back to?
Allah-Las: We really like Greece.
The South of France. Spain. Those were fun places to visit.
The first show we're playing is in Mallorca. It's a festival out there, so that's going to be really rad. We are really looking forward to that.
HEX: When I listen to your music, I hear a lot of modern elements, but I also hear some kind-of classic, and some nostalgic stuff. Is that something that you guys do on purpose, mixing the modern and the nostalgic stuff, or does it just kind of come out that way?
Allah-Las: Well, since it's being made now, it's going to sound modern in some capacity.
That's the modern thing about it. It's music being made now by people alive now. But we also like a lot of old music, so that's in there, too. It's not a very conscious thing.
With the sounds we like, it just adds up.
HEX: So it just comes about organically then?
Allah-Las: Yeah, we didn't get together like, "Let's make an old-sounding band." We just kind of got together and started playing music together and we were all inspired and influenced by a lot of the same stuff, and a lot of that's older stuff, so it just kind of came out that way.
HEX: When you write your songs, do you guys write lyrics first, and then construct the songs around it, or do you guys just jam and get the music, and then put lyrics to it? How does it usually come about?
Allah-Las: Well, the first record, it was mostly that someone would have a riff or something, and we would jam on it and make the parts, and then Miles would go and write lyrics for it. For the most part, that's how the first record went. The second record, I wrote some songs, Miles wrote some songs, and we just put them together with all of us, all the input, to make them what they are now.
HEX: So it's almost a different each time, kind of based on where you're at.
Allah-Las: Yeah. It's kind of how it happened after being on the road for so long after the first record.
You never know what's going to become a song and what's not. Maybe you'll think of a lyrical idea, or maybe you'll think of a musical idea that forms into something great.
HEX: To finish up: What are you guys listening to currently? What would we find on your playlists?
Allah-Las: We've got this blog called Reverberation Radio. It's a podcast we do with us and six of our close friends, and every week, we have a 30-minute playlist, and share music around and post it up. So that's the best way to, to find out what we're listening to, is... Too much stuff to name, really.
That’s kind-of our outlet for sharing the stuff that inspires us.