Newish Gold Coast quintet Lens peddle a tasty line in psychedelic channelling guitar jams, delivering kaleidoscopic musical journeys equally in thrall of seminal forefathers like Hawkwind and The Grateful Dead as new-psych practitioners such as Pond and Fuzz. Their track ‘The Narrow Path’ provides an enlightening peak into the wigged-out Lens sound-lab, and in an exciting development for the band, Lens will be appearing as one of the special musical guests at this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards after-party. In the lead up, we threw a few questions out to Luke and Liam from the band.
You seem to be a fairly new name on the local band scene. Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band?
Lens started as a four piece with Liam, Jacob, Jye and myself (Luke). At the start of this year we recruited Riley, our keys player and long-time buddy, into the band. We’ve been playing music together for a long time throughout high school, but mainly just jamming, until the middle of last year when we got offered our first gig. So we sorted ourselves out and started taking things seriously and we’ve been gigging pretty steadily ever since.
You have a whole bunch of very cool influences, both contemporary and classic. Did you find yourselves getting into seminal stuff such as Can, Neu and Hawkwind then latching onto the newer stuff, or did listening to bands like Pond lead you down this path?
I think it happened pretty naturally, everyone in the band has roots in all the old classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s, with all of us loving stuff like Black Sabbath and Cream. That’s where it all started for us, which sent us down the path of more obscure rock and into the world of early psych with bands like Grateful Dead and Hawkwind having a pretty huge influence on us. With a lot of the newer stuff, it happens a lot more by word of mouth for us, as bands are releasing albums and playing shows, and often that’s how we find out about new bands. It’s really cool hearing all the influences in current music from the older stuff that we love and being able to trace it all back to the creators of some of those genres. It’s a real treat.
The ‘new psych’ scene seems to have gained a lot of traction and interest recently. Do you feel like you’re part of a ‘scene’ with other bands from the Gold Coast and Northern NSW who also play this style of music?
We are still a pretty fresh band so we are finding our feet a bit still. But we have been playing with a bunch of really sick local bands like Nice biscuit, Stone Witches, Fight Ibis and Flying Machine that are making some really great psych music and giving us hope that the scene will keep growing.
Do you have a favourite venue/hang out here on the Gold Coast?
The Miami Shark bar is our favourite venue and is where we are most weekends. As a venue to play at, it’s heaps fun and there’s always a pretty good crowd. Other than The Sharkie, one of the coolest venues at the moment is Mo’s Desert Clubhouse in Burleigh, that’s run by legends Christian and Kimberly from Beats Cartel. Our second home is our jam space ‘Shed’ that houses Lens and a bunch of our friends who all play music. Ten metres from our shed, our good musical pals Cakes and Crum have their practice space, so we often find ourselves hanging out with those boys, which is always a bit of fun.
You have your track ‘The Narrow Path’ up on Bandcamp at the moment. Do you have any plans for more new recorded music (EP or album) coming up?
Yeah we’re a couple of songs off tracking our first album and should have a couple of singles ready for May/June! We estimate the album to be released around August if everything goes to plan.
Any grand plans for the band moving forward/over the rest of the year?
Hopefully once we get those singles out we will have a bit of a launch party with a bunch of pals on the Gold Coast, as well as a little tour along the East Coast to go along with the album’s release. We don’t have anything locked in yet as we are all studying and working, but we’re definitely expecting a few shows for our new releases.