Louisville’s seven member rock symphony In Lightning was originally imagined by composer/bassist Ben Short, and drummer/percussionist Lamar Cornett. One of the city’s most innovative bands, the instrumental outfit is about to release their new album “In Joy”. WFPK is proud to present their album release show at Headliners Music Hall on Friday, August 26. WFPK’s John Timmons spoke with the band’s co-founder Ben Short recently about their new project.
Congratulations on the new album “In Joy”! Tell us the history of the band and how it came together. Back story: I began composing songs, notation and all, when I was in high school. My high school orchestra even premiered a piece that I wrote. Attending Bellarmine University, for my music degree I composed an entire concert of music for my senior recital. At that time, with the resources of the university I could write for large orchestral ensembles. But my passion has also always been to perform in a band. And I knew a band needs to be few enough members to be able to fit in a van. Fast forward to 2011, [drummer] Lamar Cornett and I moved in together after becoming acquainted through a local hip hop band. Living together, and both frustrated with putting our musicianship potential in the hands of misguided band leaders, I proposed the radical idea of this rock-orchestra instrumental band, that I had since college. Lamar, as he is for most things, was down. Fast forward another year or so of enthusiastic composing, brainstorming, and planning, we used our connections through the local universities to recruit the rest of the members we needed – a classically trained violinist, cellist, and French hornist, a classical pianist, and a rock guitarist that could read music (relatively rare!). And with only one exception now, all of us have been working together in In Lightning since our first rehearsal together in May, 2012.
You chose “In Joy” for the album’s title…….. tell us the reason for that, and is there a central theme to the album? Since the band’s inception, I’ve kept several notebooks laying around dedicated to various aspects of brainstorming and planning. There’s a page in one of them of potential album titles – even potential second and third album titles, ha! “Enjoy” is in there. This music is all fun! Our songs have moments of tension, angst, or melancholy, for the purpose of highlighting those magical musical moments that are energizing or inspiring! All in all, we are making fun, lively, positive sounding music. So “Enjoy” just felt right. We offer our music to you, for you to enjoy! We are here to spread positivity. And in sticking with the word play, “In Joy” it is.
I’m curious about some of your (or the band’s) musical influences. We’d love to feature 5 songs that speak to you, or that have influenced you and the band.
Ratatat – “Wildcat”
Hearing Ratatat for the first time is what unlocked my belief in this path – writing fun, engaging, instrumental music! We love the flow of this song. The first section is chill and builds up subtly, constantly introducing new intricacies to tickle your ears. Then, on cue from a wildcat roar, the song explodes into a dance party. The final section brings the dynamics back down, and is great example of building up to a climax. Love this band!
Explosions In The Sky – “First Breath After Coma” This fellow instrumental band is fantastic! They’ve described their songs as “cathartic mini-symphonies,” and with a listen, you’ll hear why. We love the journey this song takes you on! It’s beautiful, captivating, inspiring, and uplifting. The climax of this song is one of our very favorite minutes of music. No lyrics necessary, because you are left speechless. (Sunday, September 11th, WFPK Presents Explosions In The Sky at Iroquois Amphitheater! Ben Short says, “Don’t miss it!”)
Hybrid – “Finished Symphony” We first heard this song on the soundtrack to a snowboarding video game called SSX on Playstation 2 ,haha. We believe that our songs may have similar licensing destinies. Another instrumental, we love this song because of the awesome marriage of melodically engaging strings with bass and drums that make you want to dance!
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Can’t Stop” This is the RHCP sound that we love. Funky rhythms, catchy riffs, groovy beat. And what may often be overlooked, but really sets this song apart, is the killer back-up vocal arrangement. The vocal entrances keep the verses engaging as they effectively help the song build up. By the third verse following the guitar solo, it’s the depth and richness of the vocal harmonies that brings about the climax of the song.
Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” We love the arrangement and composition of this song. It’s fantastic! The rhythm section is doing mostly the same thing throughout the entire song.Even Michael’s vocal melodies stay pretty consistent.But the song is kept interesting by all of the other, more subtle parts that come in and out.Strings, brass, keyboards. Awesome song, right up our alley.
Thanks again to Ben Short and In Lightning!
Find out more about the band, the album and the show here: 91.9 WFPK Presents In Lightning Album Release Show