Written by Caleb Oldham
This past Sunday was the second time I've seen Ludlow Ejacula in the span of a few days. It's an addictive experience watching four individuals create their own world on stage, almost indifferent to who they're playing to, because by the end you feel like you've been sucked in to it.
The magic centers around the collaboration between Emily Brought and Bryan Thornton. Bryan, the guitarist, has a knack for finding chord progressions that I can only characterize as profound. His guitar of choice is a sweet, distorted jaguar, most likely inherited from the the "assloads of Nirvana" he grew up on. Emily's voice is huge, and her gift for singing full, haunting anthems is apparent the second you hear her. The lyrics are her own stream-of-consciousness poetry which only adds to the cerebral, introspective nature of the music. Every song seems to have some trace of tragedy to it, even the dancey "Thinking In Dominoes". But it's a beautiful tragedy, wrapped up in amazing energy that comes out live.
I got the pleasure of pretending to be in Ludlow Ejacula, as well as asking them some questions. Their bassist was being filled in by Evan Moore, a fellow writer for Dingus. You'll notice that in this interview Evan plays the voice of God.
Caleb Oldham: So Bryan you once said that "Jesus is like Jar-Jar Binks". What does that mean exactly?
Bryan Thornton: it was a joke because I don't like the Starwars trilogy that happened a few years ago - they were bad, like really, really bad.
CO: Are you optimistic for the future?
BT: Yeah Abrams will do good
Evan Moore: Well.
BT: Abrams will do well.
CO: Where does the name Ludlow Ejacula come from?
Emily Brout: I was reading Deli Magazine and there was this band named something Dracula, and I misread it as something Ejacula, and I was on Ludlow Street, so I was like oh shit Ludlow Ejacula would be a fantastic band name.
EM: And you suggested we use it.
EB: I suggested he use it for his band, and he didn't so I said fine I'll take it.
CO: What kind of music did you guys grow up on?
EB: I feel like we grew up on the same stuff.
BT: Assloads of Nirvana, Patti Smith, My Bloody Period, The Beatles, all the stuff.
EB: I always had a thing for ballsy female singers that sounded sort of masculine.
CO: Any in particular?
EB: Mia Zapata from The Gits, and anyone with a little bit of growl.
CO: Do you ever feel like you're channeling someone when you're up there?
EB: Not really, but it would be cool to be able to channel Grace Slick. That was the first female singer where I was like "oh shit, I tolerate this."
CO: What does 2015 look like for Ludlow Ejacula?
BT and EB (In unison): Shit load of shows.
BT: Finishing up a recording that we did.
EM: Me doing my best to be looking as cute as Maddy (former bassist).
CO: Are you guys doing an EP?
BT: It seems like we're going in that direction with the number of songs we're recording, an EP would probably make the most sense.
EB: There's no reason to rush an album right now its not like anyone's waiting for it, so might as well make keep them hungry.
CO: What do you guys think of the idea of progress in music? Is music progressing in a positive way?
BT: In some places it is, in some places it's still stunted. I mean it's always been stunted in a sense, there's only so much you can do with a pop song, but that's the creative part of it, you can make it into something else.
CO: What does that word "pop" mean for you?
BT: Anything with a discernable hook
EM: What are you Andy Warhol now?
BT: Even like noise rock, if it has a hook in it its pop.
EM: Every genre kind of doesn't really have a meaning anymore like every band's like "we're a psych band, it's like no you're a garage band with really, really high treble."
EB: Yeah, I guess on the surface things are pretty homogeneous, but when you get into those nice little pockets of people that are not on the surface, you realize that what some people are doing is really good.
BT: Even when things were really fucking good people were like "ah its shit right now" it's like there's good stuff happening everywhere
CO: Do you guys consider yourself a Brooklyn band? Do you have any kind of regional loyalty?
BT: I guess we're a New York City band, we play mostly in Brooklyn.
EM: From an objective perspective you're a New York City band. Real love is not based on attachment but on altruism.
BT: That was the Dalai Lama.
CO: Do you guys feel apart of a scene at all?
BT: I don't think we've met a scene.
EB: I mean we have friends. Is that a scene? Does that count? I feel like that's what a scene means now. You just have friends that play music. Supportive friends.
CO: One of my favorite lines from one of your songs goes "I wish you had told me that, part of learning is jumping on pogo sticks, made of formulas, made of mystery, made of history"
EB: Everything I write comes out of stream of consciousness poetry that I write. I guess in terms of learning, I'm always very frustrated with my cognition, I always feel subpar, but I think apart of learning is a lot of frustration and I think that's when you're really on to something, so yeah that's what that line was hitting at. But I also really like pogo sticks. And I feel like the image of the pogo stick is highly underused.
BT: I love pogo sticks
CO: Bryan, you're a big fan of science fiction aren't you?
BT: Some, I like Philip K Dick, and I love L. Ron Hubbard. I'm a scientologist, me and Tom Cruise. But yeah Philip K Dick, writers like that.
CO: Yeah the ones who always feel like they're being watched or replaced. Do you feel like there's an element of paranoia in your songs?
(Evan Sings Paranoia)
EB: I feel like all emotions with negative connotations are in there somewhere.
BT: Yeah there's some paranoia in there. There's a lot of stuff.
CO: I love your music, but I don't think you could really call it happy. Is it because you don't create when you're happy?
EB: We've talked about this because every time we sit down its like "ok this time it's not going to be sad" and it just gets worse.
EM: on the surface Ludlow Ejacula looks like a sad band but underneath it they're a positive, straight-edge hardcore band.
BT: Honestly, if you feel inclined to write a happy song you write one, if you feel inclined to write a sad song you do that. I don't think our songs are sad.
EB: I do. Where are you living?
BT: I always pictured it somewhere in the middle, you're not sure if its happy or sad.
EB: I think Dominoes is sort of..its a sad dance song.
EM: You can dance and cry.
CO: Joy Division!
EB: Yeah totally, I've always liked music that's sad, and in the end you write what you like, not even consciously.
BT: We don't want to come off as depressed, but that's just how we write so far.
EB: We're definitely a glass half empty group though.
BT: I would confirm that.
CO: Any last words on Earth?
BT: It's all a lie.
EM: (reading) "It is in everyone's interest to seek those actions that lead to happiness and avoid those which lead to suffering, and because our interests are inextricably linked, we are compelled to accept ethics as the indispensable interface between my desire to be happy and yours." Ludlow Ejacula 2015
Listen to Ludlow Ejacula here: https://ludlowejacula.bandcamp.com/