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The state of rock music is a frequent topic among music fans. The answer is usually “it’s there but you need to look for it”. While that is true, what you usually find are talented young bands that resurrect an old sound. Levara is looking to break the mold. Taking elements of pop and ’90s-tinged rock, the band has created a new sound and a new future for rock music. Guitarist Trev Lukather, son of Toto icon Steve Lukather, recently took some time to talk about his new band and their upcoming debut record.
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws.com Conversation with Trev Lukather –
On going for a younger rock audience –We want wanted a young audience. We did the tour, we opened for Toto, which is a lot older crowd. They did have a resurgence so there is a lot there was a lot more younger people for most part of the crowd. We’ve never really got a chance yet, obviously, we made the record and the pandemic happened. Not being in front of a young audience, we really want to really test this out with a young crowd or like a very relevant alternative rock band or show. Just show them what we got. We’re we’re all young guys, we wanted to do something fresh and we kind of went the studio with not really an idea. We have the songs that we’re really stoked about. It was my first full album I’m going to be making and this is going to be the introduction of a full album of me as a player to the world and what is that? I never really sat down and experimented with a ton of pedals and never worked as anyone that had the patience to do that with me. My buddy Ethan Kaufman, who worked on this record with us, and I co-produced records together now. But he sat with me and I’d get in the studio 8:30 in the morning and we would experiment till about 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. That’s when the other guys would come in. And it was cool because I had 40 pedals on the floor and I went through every single one of them for every song. I was like, “Let’s build.” Other than “Automatic”, there is no synth. There’s no keys on this record. A lot of people get confused. I’ll see some comments like, “Oh, they’re a trio, there’s keyboards, there’s all this”. There is no keyboards, we didn’t want to put keys. we did, but I kind of I had this kind of ideawith Ethan that was like, let’s not. Let’s do everything we can not to put keyboards on this recording. Let’s build the atmospheric sounds in the wall with pedals and using the guitar. So we want to do that. I thought that was fresh. There’s so many bands, keyboards and there’s so many. I was like, “let’s do something that’s straight guitar”. It was cool because then the guys would come in after I pretty much built up a lot of the guitar tracks and then they’d be able to really get surprised and listen to what what I was doing. (It) probably drove them nuts sitting there while I go through every single pedal. 6:29
On how Steve Perry appeared on the record – I’ve known Steve for like 13,14 years, something like that. I met him in the studio when I was working with my dad, this writer, Randy Goodrum, he wrote “I’ll be Over You” with my pop for the Toto record (Fahrenheit) and then he wrote “Foolish Heart” with Steve Perry. And they’re all buds. They always wrote together. So Perry just like came by the studio when I was writing with Dad and Randy for one of dad’s solo records. We just hit it off, man. At the time I was working on my solo EP with Tommy Henrikson. He’s in the Hollywood Vampires (and the) Alice Cooper band. At the time, he had an imprint on on Geffen. Him and I were working together and it was very 80s rock, 90s, kind of like this. I said, “Man, I’d love to play you something in my car”. It was funny because I had this really random truck that he would see around.the studio. He got in the car, listened to these tunes and was loving it and he was, “Dude, take my number down”. The ended up calling me the next day or a couple of days later and he says, “Hey, you working?” And I said, “Yeah”. And he’s like, “I’m coming. Send me the address”. At that moment we became dear friends. He was like a second mentor to me. We’ve kept in touch through the years. When this band got in the studio, Steve’s a guy likes to be around creating and be in the studio is still very, very on point with that himself. I said, “Dude, I just think you’re to love this band. I think you’re gonna love this music and I think you’re to love Jules”. So I gave him the address. I said, “Hey, come by. We’re here. We’re here every day, man”. He showed up and he you know dug the music got along with everybody, and said, “The same time tomorrow?” We’re like, “Yeah, come hang out”.We were working on this song called “Can’t Get Over” on our record, which is probably the most poppiest tune on the record. He was throwing out harmony ideas and he’s like, “Well, I could just go in and sing it”. We’re like, “What? Cool, man”. Then we were hearing him sing. You hear that classic voice and the classic tone bring in such a monster extra vibe to our song. We got in the hallway and did the vocals together, which we have a clip on YouTube about that. It was such a blast and then he really had so much to do with this album. He was there almost every day with us. I feel like every song has some involvement with Steve other than “Ever Enough” or maybe the earlier stuff, and. “Heaven Knows”, we wrote “Heaven Knows” in the studio, but that was like really off the beginning of the record, we knew we needed an album opener. But other than that Perry was around and a part of most of everything. It was not like singing in the background, he was watching me. He would come in the morning and and watch me track guitar and throw some ideas out, some part here on guitar. Then he really worked with me on a lot of the guitar solos on the record because he was like, “The solo’s got to be as hooky as the rest of the song”. So he would listen to my solos and for the most part, he loved what I did but (he’d say), “I know this part would be a little better here”. “Chameleon” was note for note solo with Perry. We were building that track in the studio, writing it and the music changes in the background. But we didn’t know if Jules was going to do a bridge vocal. We while we were kind of like tracking everything, Perry, no one was there, it was just Perry, me and Ethan and he was like, “Let’s do a stadium solo on this bridge. Test it out. If it sucks, if the guys don’t like it, they don’t like it. But let’s fucking just do a soaring stadium solo as simple as it gets. No flashiness, let’s do this”. He was like singing it really high to me too. Then he got the vocal booth and actually falsettod on top of the solo. It’s on the on the record. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a vocal like a really high vocal. Even his falsetto is so powerful that it cuts through. So we laughing and then the guys came in and heard it and they’re like, “All right, well, this is cool”. 15:46
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