Libra Libra: “With art people just keep going and I think that is the beauty of it.”

Brighton is a wonderful metling pot of people, art and culture, comments Beth from garage-punk visionaries Libra Libra. We caught up with the band ahead of their first show in six months, this Saturday’s Live is Alive showcase.

How is the band approaching Live is Alive? It must seem odd having such a gap between playing shows!

We’re very excited to be playing live again definitely. We know The Dome and all the people involved with the event have made sure it is completely safe for all the performers and all the attendees to be there, and now with the first show having been such a success I feel that takes a certain level of the initial anxiety away.

I get very nervous before going on stage, so I am nervous about playing, and have been on and off since it was announced, but the prevailing feeling is excitement, and also a bit of intrigue I guess as to how it is all going to work on the night.

How did Libra Libra get involved with Live is Alive?

We played at the Komedia last year and we as a band absolutely love the venue, so when we heard they wanted to put us forward for this show we were obviously excited, it was amazing, so naturally said yes right away.

It is very exciting as a show. I have seen so many of my favourite artists at The Dome and only ever dreamed of playing it, it is such an amazing venue. That said, it is by way of bizarre circumstance that we have found ourselves here. The Dome and the event are like a beacon of Brighton music, and yet we have only found ourselves here because of the surreal situation we are living through. So, on the one hand it is amazing to be playing, amazing that it is all going ahead, but on the other we have to highlight what is happening to the events industry and for all live music everywhere. There is still so much that needs to be done to save venues, save the industry and save the people that rely on it.

Do you feel that the amount of people affected by venue closures goes unnoticed?

There are so many people that rely on live music and rely on these venues for jobs, social support and a lot more, it’s not just the bands on stage for sure. Each show is bar staff, security, bookers, agents, managers, promoters, and the people in the crowd of course. This is not just a hobby for people that you can decide not to do, which is why I feel the suggestion people should retrain had the response that it did. So many people are having to take up new jobs, new roles just to make ends meet, but that’s not because they want to give up on the music. These things need to be here, and be viable for people to come back to when possible, they have to be supported. I myself, I almost feel that without playing gigs or going to gigs I’ve lost part of myself, I almost feel like half a person, and I know so many others will feel the same.

This Saturday’s bill is a pretty punk one, how do you feel that is going to reflect on the big Dome stage as opposed in a bar basement?

It is going to be bizarre. We as a band love getting into the crowd and love those up close and personal shows where we can all buzz off the audience, we live for that. I don’t know quite how it is going to feel at The Dome, but I feel there will be a lot of positive energy in the room. Both bands and attendees I think people have been wanting this moment for so long and are now wanting it to go well so much that there will be a really great feeling around the venue. I think there will be a palpable feeling of community throughout the room.

The show will of course be a departure from the norm, how are you approaching it as a band? 

With all the guidelines in place changeover between bands are shorter than what you’d normally get at a show, so in practices we’ve been working on streamlining our set up and making sure we’re ready to go as quick as possible. We normally have samples, computers, synths and stuff on stage so we’ve cut down on a bunch of that, we’ve worked around it before so it’s been fine.

You released the EP Hail Mary this year, how has that been with lockdown?

We had recorded the EP in 2019, so that was all ready to go. So for the rest of that year and pretty much straight up to lockdown we had been putting the finishing touches to that and making videos, so we did have a back catalogue of things to be released. We did have discussions over release schedules, but we decided that you can’t just let things completely stop, you need to always be doing things, to be carrying forward with projects and releases. It’s definitely been weird though, as this has almost turned out to be an EP launch show, which is something we’ve joked about as it’s been weirdly so long since we released it!

You’ve been recording recently in Eastbourne, can you talk about that?

Yeah, we’ve been at Echo Zoo in Eastbourne. Dave Lynch is a lovely guy and the studio is just full of the most amazing gear. We are mixing a number of songs at the moment and we’re excited to show people what we’ve been working on, so there’s definitely things in the pipeline.

I just think, with us we are like a family. We are constantly writing stuff together even if we can’t physically be in the same room. For us, music is very much our being, it’s our release, so we’ve been getting through this by just continually creating, continually working on creative endeavours, it would feel horrible to just completely stop, so we have just kept going.

With art in general people just keep going and I think that is the beauty of it. It never stops, people never stop and it won’t ever be defeated for that reason. So many artists I know and love have had all these restrictions placed upon them and they’ve kept going, and that’s so important.

Do you feel Live is Alive serves to highlight the breadth of the Brighton arts community?

Brighton is such a creative hub, and I think that so many of us come here to be ourselves, to find ourselves, it is such a beautiful place. What I have really found, in the circles I have experienced, is that there is so much female empowerment in Brighton. There are so many incredible artists coming out and so many incredible queer talents coming out through the city that I just really admire. I think with Brighton that I have been introduced to so many aspects of music, of art, and to so many people, that it has just been brilliant. 

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