New Orleans is music, and the year-round festivals are proof of that. This year’s Voodoo Music & Arts Experience includes a host of incredible artists, but what’s a local festival without our own emerging national acts? Luxley is the indie electronic rock project headed up by born-and-bred NOLA natives Ryan Gray and Sky McElroy. Formed in 2012, Luxley has played all over town and is getting ready to hit the road this fall with Bombay Bicycle Club and Milo Green. I sat down with Gray, who shared the meaning of “wildfire dance rock” and talked about leaving medical school at Tulane and recording with Ayad Al Adhamy of Passion Pit.
WYAT: What kind of music is Luxley? Your Facebook page says “wildfire dance rock”?
Ryan Gray: I would say “wildfire” is a good term for it. Luxley means light in Latin. We kind of adopted that definition to the color palate of the music. A lot of the songs do their own thing. There’s a dance factor – always an underlying groove. Another way to put it would be indie electronica. It has a wildfire personality to it.
WYAT: Would you compare Luxley to anyone?
Gray: I would compare Luxley to some of the band’s influences: Friendly Fires is the first one that comes to mind. Guitar-wise, Two Door Cinema Club, The Fold, vocally driven bands like Jimmy Eat World.
WYAT: How did Luxley come together?
Gray: I was living in Nashville, where I was doing medical research. [After having a band in college], I resparked my interest for music there. I started going to see a lot of local musicians play, which was inspiring, and I had this epiphany that I wanted to start a band again. Simultaneously, I was applying for med school, so when I got into Tulane I came back home to New Orleans. I couldn’t shake my passion for music during med school, so I had to dismiss myself. The program at Tulane was eight years plus residency, and there was a lot of struggle during that process to make the decision to leave. But I knew I was making the right decision to pursue my passion for music.
WYAT: Luxley has an EP coming out?
Gray: In June I was in New York recording a five-song EP called Spirit, which we are aiming to release in late winter or early spring. The process was great. We were at Black Bell Studios, which is owned by Ayad Al Adhamy, who was the original synthesist for Passion Pit. Our mixing guy was fantastic to work with. He worked on Vampire Weekend’s first two albums, one of which won a Grammy. He’s worked with D’Angelo; he had some pretty interesting stories about that experience. He also mixed one of my favorite high school records for a band called Brand New. I am very fortunate to be a part of the recording and mixing cast for this EP.
WYAT: Has Luxley played a lot of shows around town?
Gray: Yeah, we’ve been at House of Blues, Tipitina’s, One Eyed Jacks and Gasa Gasa. My favorite show was probably at Tipitina’s. We played with our friends Royal Teeth and actually Joshua Wells, their bass player, will be playing with us on tour and at Voodoo Fest.
WYAT: Why should we go see Luxley at Voodoo?
Gray: To have fun – shake your hips if you feel like it. Get contemplative if you want to. Free your spirit, smile and groove.