13 Questions

13 Questions with Cor de Lux

The post-punk outfit talk to us about their new LP, ‘Media’.

For obvious reasons, 2020 was a time enveloped in dread. In some perverse way, post-punk prospered. Dark shadows that reached far and wide, the music that Cor de Lux produced with their debut LP, Dream Life, seemed tailor-made for such times, and alongside the likes of Protomartyr’s Ultimate Success Today and Activity’s Unmask Whoever, these were releases that conveyed the collective feeling during what was arguably the most turbulent time in this generation.

Forming in North Carolina’s Outer Banks in 2018, Cor de Lux are undoubtedly purveyors of the good oil. Consisting of guitarist/ vocalists Dawn Moraga and Tim Lusk, the 2022 incarnation of the band also features bassist John Bliven and drummer Thomas McNeely.

Three years after the release of Dream Life, the band follow it up with Media. Mixing dreamscapes with doses of dread, from the opening gallop of Idol Season, Media doesn’t let up. From the epic alt-rock assault of Rumours to the dream rock lullaby of Syncopated and the wonderful closing encounter, Ships, there is little doubt that Cor de Lux have released their finest record yet.

While operating on the seductive side of post-punk, with Media Cor de Lux also manage to capture a nostalgic feeling. Their sound, like thick curls of smoke that filled those small rock clubs we all inhabited before they were demolished and replaced by Starbucks and the like. Media illuminates a time where things felt a little simpler, and with a song like Futures, perhaps Cor de Lux deliver their most defining message yet.

Prior to the release of Media, the members of Cor de Lux took part in our first 13 Questions feature of 2023.

Sun 13’s Top 50 Albums of 2022

1. Due to COVID, I imagine the recording process between Dream Life and Media was vastly different. Can you tell us the about the process and the key differences?

Cor de Lux: “The process was the same because we recorded it ourselves in our home studio. But the excitement of getting together right after being on hold was a huge difference, almost as if by accident the songs were naturally made by how we felt.” 

2. Sonically, there feels like an Australian influence that runs through Media, particularly Syncopated and Glass Like Drinking. Bands like Love Outside Andromeda, Gersey, and Love of Diagrams spring to mind. I’m not sure whether you were listening to these kind of bands in the lead up to recording?

CdL: “I haven’t heard of the bands referenced but we do want to go to Australia! As for regional influences I’d say Canadian bands have had a heavy influence on us lately. I know Media has many influences as a whole and from our own personal influences. What we were listening to, how we were affected by what was going on…That’s the best way I can answer that question.”

3. Thematically, politics also seem to play a big part. Do you consider Cor de Lux to be a political band, or is it something that naturally develops throughout your songwriting?

CdL: “’Naturally developed’ is a great way to put it. For that same reason I can’t say we are a political band. During the ‘COVID years’ I think everyone felt the pressures of politics not just here in the USA but everywhere. I hope we would never be afraid or blocked from writing music from feelings and what influences us at that time.” 

Cor de Lux (photo credit: John Blivens)

4. The album flows so seamlessly. How important was the track listing and how much did you plan the running order?

CdL: “By feeling. It was important. Although there is no storyline. I’m pretty sure we came up with this track listing from an early show set list.” 

5. Simon Scott mastered the album, too. How did that collaboration come about?

CdL: “We just asked. Listened to his previous work and contacted him. I do remember asking him in one of the early emails; ‘are you into what we’ve sent you’. To us that was more important than the status of the engineer.” 

6. Media is one of those records where once you see the artwork, you know you’re going to like the record. Can you tell us the idea behind it?

CdL: “We had the original artwork done before the album was done recording, but decided it wasn’t a good fit anymore. Probably not going to ever get into why. But it worked out for the best and thank you for saying that. It’s not always true with album covers similar to wine bottles. The image we went with was one of John’s. I think my most favourite pictures he takes are the subtle ones like this. It’s just shadows on a part of a wall in his house. He posted it on his Instagram page. I knew it right away… it was the one! I took a screenshot of it. Put it in a CD template and sent it to them. Way before we realized it looked like a ‘M’. It’s funny how things work.” 

Cor de Lux - Media

7. Social media seems to be a necessity for a lot of bands these days. What’s your take on it and do you enjoy engaging with it?

CdL: “We do not have any dislike for social media platforms. It is a tool just like anything. Tools can be used as weapons, but that has to do with the person wielding it right? Being able to connect directly with other bands and fans it’s amazing.” 

8. What are you listening to at the moment?

Tim Lusk: “Corridor, Gang of Four and a few other bands that somehow missed me.”

Dawn Moraga: “Thus Love, Blonde Redhead, Deeper, Preocupations, Madonna etc.”

John Bliven: “Nulifer Yanya, Perfect Circle, Minus the Bear.”

Thomas McNeely: “Diat, Four Tops.”

The Men: New York City

9. What are your hobbies outside of music?

TL: “I fix people’s computers and really love home improvement projects.”

DM: “Surfing, painting, running with my dog, looking for seaglass.” 

JB: “Photography, gardening, DIY.” 

10. Boxset or film?

TL: “I may not understand the question ask the way but I love good movies and good shows. I would watch a box set, also I have a problem binge watching really good shows. It’s so easy to click next episode when they leave you hanging…”

DM: “I’m a sucker for a series if it’s good.”

11. Which was the last book you read?

TL: “Read all the way? Um I have to think. I have many unfinished books in my house. It might be Johnathan Livingston’s Seagull.” 

DM: “Just Kids [by] Patti Smith.”

TM: “I just read Dead Astronauts by James Vandermeer, it was spooky and emotional  and kind of a head trip.”

12. North Carolina has such a rich artistic heritage. How much of an influence is it to your music?

DM: “Some early influences of music like Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and can’t forget Nina Simone are from NC. I’d say because of where I live on the barrier islands of NC I’m super influenced by nature and water which is art to me.”

TL: “None for me, I’ve moved around too much for that. I might be affected by living in a beach town, though. More so because I found my music people after a lot of trial and error.” 

TM: “I don’t know if the sound of NC artists influences our sound, but seeing the energy and love surrounding NC music from the DIY scene to Merge Records really inspires me to be a part of this musical community.”

13. What’s the plan for the band for the rest of the year?

TL: “Start on the next album right away.”

DM: “We are going to make people confused with not being able to categorise us.”

Media is out now. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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