Interview w/ Images and Exclusive Video by Brian Snider
“TRANSLATING VITA LUCIDA AS SHINING LIFE, IT IS THIS SHINING THAT ALLUDES TO THE MYSTERIOUSNESS OF LIFE.”
For more than a decade Eleanor Murray has been weaving gentle and haunting folk ballads under her own name, occasionally recording them amidst a windstorm at an old church by the sea†, her delicate yet robust voice rising above the howling winds. Over the years she’s collaborated with a number of artists for her own albums and other projects* each expanding the breadth of the sounds she works with. Sometime during or just after finishing her fifth album Bury Me Into The Mtn Eleanor began playing with a MIDI board experimenting with electronic music, and around this artistic shift Eleanor met Gianluca Bucci a photographer*† who like Eleanor lived in Olympia. The duo created Cavegreen together, an electronic-dance multimedia project that pulled everything out of Gianluca and Eleanor forging something new for both artists; a blending of that gentle folk and thumping dance beat bass, incorporating the words and images of Gianluca.
Brian Snider: How did the two of you meet and start working on Cavegreen together?
GianLuca Bucci: We met through mutual friends, and slowly came to realize our similar artistic sensibilities.
Eleanor Murray: And as we became friends, we started exchanging writings and music. Gianluca would send me something he had written and I would then compose music for it on the guitar.
BS: What roles do the two of you play in writing songs?
EM: Gianluca writes the lyrics and I then compose a musical structure for them. We then go back and forth with ideas and the songs evolve from there.
BS: What is the difference between Vita Lucida and the Journey of Return EP released back in 2015?
GB: After playing shows with the songs from the first EP, we realized that the songs “wanted” to be faster, more dance-able, so we decided to rework those first four songs in this direction.
EM: Vita Lucida is also our first full-length album, so it features our new songs as well, that we reworked with these same intentions. Musically, Vita Lucida is intended to be like a wave of dance-able energy start to finish. And lyrically, it tells a fuller story of what we’d like to share with the world.
BS: What is Vita Lucida about?
GB: Vita Lucida is suggestive of the whimsical belief that there is more about life that science has uncovered so far. Translating Vita Lucida as Shining Life, it is this shining that alludes to the mysteriousness of life.
BS: Dance music is not typically lyric based, what changes in the sound when lyrics become a focus of the song?
GB: The sounds might acquire complexity or depth or lightness, depending how the meaning of the words influence Eleanor as the musician.
EM: When composing the music, my intention is to try to capture the essence of the lyrics through sound. For example, for our song “Sun”, the music is intended to capture the big, powerful energy of the sun. For “Tides”, the music is intended to mimic waves, both large and small.
BS: How does the music we hear on Vita Lucida be differ from what people will hear in the live shows?
GB: The music of the live shows emphasizes the danceability of the songs, they are slightly less structured and more flowy.
EM: The live songs are also longer, so that there’s time for people to relax and dance if they want to.
“WHEN COMPOSING THE MUSIC, MY INTENTION IS TO TRY TO CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF THE LYRICS THROUGH SOUND.”
BS: How much did those early shows help influence the direction of the music moving forward?
GB: They made us realize we both really like dance music and regardless of what we are aiming to convey as content, we like the listener to be inspired to get dancing and physical.
EM: They also taught us what to emphasize and express in our music so that it’s easier to dance to, for example finding the right tempo, bumping up the drums and bass, and extending the songs.
BS: We premiered the song Pacific Clouds in our Real to Reel series, what can you tell us about that song, and what it is about?
GB: Simply put, usually cloudy or rainy weather is considered “bad”weather. But for some people, clouds and rain is beautiful weather, the way they make us feel. That’s what inspired the song.
EM: And living in the Pacific Northwest, we wanted to write a song that celebrates the rain and everything it gives life to.
BS: We did at photoshoot at Priest Point Park in Olympia, what role has this park played for Cavegreen?
EM: Most of our visuals, for now, come from the closest parks and wild places around Olympia. Priest Point Park is very easy to reach, providing easy access to the Sound, the water, wildlife, and beautiful views, as well as those hard to describe feelings, thoughts, moods that all natural settings conjure in us.
BS: What do you have coming up in the next six months or so?
EM: We are releasing Vita Lucida February 3rd. We’re planning to play live shows and tour this spring and summer, starting with Treefort Fest in March. And we’re also planning to continue making music videos and writing new songs.
For the images above I met Eleanor at Priest Point Park in Olympia, the park sits on the Eastern side of Budd Inlet surrounding Ellis Cove. I wanted a location that was reminiscent of Cavegreen, so deeply rooted in nature that even the electronic tones of the music feels organic in nature. It was a cold day January, a dusting of snow could still be found in places and nearby ponds were frozen over. The other set of images were taken in November of 2015 at Lo-Fi Performance Gallery in Seattle. The video performance of the song Pacific Clouds was recorded for our series Real to Reel, where songs are recorded live to an old Reel to Reel tape recorder. I was familiar with the song off Cavegreen’s EP Journey to Return, but Eleanor prepared me for just how much the songs had evolved over the two years of playing live, the final eight minute version you get here is the way all the music plays out in front of an audience. I don’t like to claim to have heard one of the years best albums just a month into the year but there is something so pure and beautiful about this album that I just cant quite imagine hearing anything more sincere than this. Vida Lucida is out now, and don’t wait another minute, we need beauty in our world now more than ever and this album delivers on that, pick it up at cavegreen.bandcamp.com. You can catch Cavegreen live at Treefort Music Festival at the end of March and SoulPlay Festival in June.
†Bury Me Into The Mtn was recorded with Nicholas Wilbur at the Unknown Studio in Anacortes Washington during a windstorm, the sound was so audible that it was purposely recorded and used throughout the album.
* Eleanor’s other projects includes Tattered Dress with Pamela Margon, and Aantarcticaa with Ben Kamen.
§ GianLuca’s video/photography work is vital to Cavegreen as a multimedia project, he’s shot and photographed the band videos and imagery, you can also find his recent series of Salmon and creeks at the website.