Summon: How did the band get started?
Evan: In 1989 during a dinner conversation between Jess and myself, we joked about forming a band. As time went on, we became serious about the idea, and soon formed the framework for Lestat. I asked Susan to play guitar for us, and the rest is history. Tim joined us for our second release, and he’s been with us ever since. We split up in 2000 due to differences of opinion, and we stayed apart for 10 years.
Scott: I joined the band in its second coming. Just a piece of a puzzle started over 20 years ago.
Evan: Right, in 2000 we decided it was time to get things back together and take what we had started to long ago to the places we always wished we had. Jess opted not to rejoin the band, but he’s been instrumental in re-releasing our old material and he’s very supportive of us now. Scott and War joined the band at the time of the reunion.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
War: I say Goth Industrial.
Evan: I think that’s accurate. We’ve been labeled many things. Cold Wave, Dark Wave, Goth Rock. But I can honestly say that Goth Industrial is the closest, because we take elements of both genres.
Summon: How has the band response been?
Evan: I think we were caught by surprise the first time around. Since the reunion, the response has been amazing.
War: We’ve gotten great responses from in every city we’ve played. Not only from the faithful fans, but we are picking up new fans as well.
Evan: I couldn’t agree more. The return of our original fans of old and the surge of new blood. It’s been humbling to say the least.
Scott: Amazing. As far as we have traveled from the California coast to the southern tip of Florida, we have encountered die-hard fans. Sometimes, almost spiritual meetings and shows.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Evan: Obviously, our name is a tribute to the main protagonist of the great Anne Rice vampire novels. At the time the band was founded, we were looking for a thread that bound us all together. We were all reading the novels and lending them back and forth to one another. As our sound was being formed, we were drawn toward the name Lestat. Nothing else seemed to fit.
Scott: Thanks, Miss Rice!
Summon: Introduce the band members:
Evan Nave – Vocals and keys, Susan – Guitar and vocals, Timothy – Keys, sampling, drum loops and vocals, War – Bass, and Scott – Drums.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Timothy: I usually will start the basic programming, electronics, samples keys and drum loops. Then, Nave will take what I start and chop it up or move things and add to it with more keyboards, etc. Then he sets it up for lyrics.
Evan: Timothy writes amazing riffs. He makes it easy to compose a full length song from what he creates. After crafting the basis for the song, I add more depth to the keyboard layers and turn the song over to Susan. She REALLY gives our music the Lestat sound. Her guitar tracks take things to the next level. I really feel she is what sets our music apart from the rest. Once she’s finished, War and Scott add the bottom line and percussion to the mix, polishing off the song. Only THEN can I write lyrical content. I find that I need to feel what the song is trying to convey emotionally before I can determine the subject. I know that seems backwards, but it’s how we’ve always written.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Evan: I draw influence from many different places. Some experiences, some stories I’ve heard from others and some simply reactions to our own music. I have written songs about the suicide of a fan of ours, the loss of a family member, a deal gone wrong with the devil, and yes…even an ex-flame or two. For some reason, perhaps it’s cathartic for me, I stick to the melancholy and the darker side of emotion. But, I always find beauty, even in these bleak subjects.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Evan: We have four full length releases. Theatre of the Vampires from 1991, Grave Desires from 1992, and Vision of Sorrows from 1994 were all released on our own private label Jevan Records. Our fourth release, Arisen, came out in April of this year on Nilaihah Records. We also released a compilation CD called One in 1994 for Jevan Records, but it is currently out of print.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Evan: Well, the subject matter runs the gamut. Long Since Forgotten is a reflection on the idea that years after death no one remembers who you were, and the ramifications of those feelings. Nothing Left is the tale of a vampire who has been rudely awaken by the sounds of Armageddon. Midnight Toll is the story of a man whose deal with the devil is due. And Little Girl Lost is my own personal memory of an encounter with the ghost of a little girl in a famously haunted movie theatre in Cleveland.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Timothy: Yes, I do. MAN-009 is a solo project, and Mercury Project is with 2 other members. I also was in the band UV after Lestat split in 2000.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
War: I have very eclectic taste in music. I like everything from Classical to New wave. My influences are just as varied; from: Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel), Flea, Les Claypool, John Taylor (Duran Duran), 70’s funk, heavy metal.
Evan: I would say my biggest influences are Peter Murphy, Gary Numan and David Gahan of Depeche Mode.
Timothy: Click Click and Clock DVA.
Scott: Rush, Pink Floyd, Filter, Nine Inch Nails.
Susan: Robin Guthrie from Cocteau Twins, Robert Smith of the Cure.
Summon: Which current bands?
War: Again, just as varied and eclectic as my influences: Duran Duran, Silversun Pickups, Radiohead, Jamiroquai, Lamb of God.
Evan: I absolutely adore Gary Numan’s newest release. I also find that my brain works overdrive while listening to Placebo and Silversun Pickups. Such delicious melancholy.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Evan: On stage, we are very passionate. There’s an air of dread and mystery. We started recently using more back-lighting as we did in the past.
Scott: Focused and determined to give the best show possible.
War: We are very approachable. When we play out, we love to talk to fans, other bands and everyone at the club. No one in the band acts like “rock stars” or refuses to talk to fans. We just like hanging out with people where ever we go.
Evan: Good point. In the first incarnation of the band, we tended to stay to ourselves a lot. We wouldn’t interact much with the crowd, and we would leave quickly after a show. With age comes a better understanding of what the musician – fan dynamic is, and we find that we rather enjoy the interaction.
Summon: What was the best band you played with?
War: As a member of Lestat the best band we played with was Birthday Massacre, those guys (and girl) were great. In my old band PKS, we opened for Ministry and Meshuggah.
Scott : Filament 38.
Evan: Ministry was amazing, as was our friends the Birthday Massacre and Ego Likeness.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Evan: We have not! We really hope to someday. Especially places like England and Mexico where we have a large Internet presence.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Evan: It really depends on where we play. In Cleveland, there is always a crowd in the hundreds, but we have had great draws in Miami and Los Angeles. We expect to see great crowds in Jacksonville and New Orleans later this year.
Scott: Always good. We tend to stick to smaller more personal venues, but the fans more than make up for anything a larger venue might be lacking.
Evan: The largest crowd we have yet to play for was well over 800 for the release of our CD Vision of Sorrows.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
War: Great. The fans from the 90’s really like the new direction we are taking and the integration of Scott and myself; the newer fans really seem to like our whole catalogue.
Scott: Some act as if in a trance, some with tears in their eyes, and some heckling. OK, just once, but it was really funny.
Evan: That was a fun night all around. The crowd is really great. I love the swaying and closed eyes.
Summon: What is the scene like over in your country?
War: Making a comeback. I think the Emo movement took a lot of would be Goth kids for a while, but with the surge in Vampire movies and TV shows, the Goth scene has really started to see a renaissance.
Evan: I would agree. There are some great pockets where the Goth scene is flourishing, like Florida and California. It will be more widespread in the near future, if we have anything to say about it.
Summon: What made you want to be in this band? And if you weren’t in this band what would you being doing now?
Evan: I just can’t seem to stop creating music and performing. I imagine if not for Lestat, I would be doing the same thing in another way. I couldn’t be happier to have another chance to work with these guys, however.
Timothy: I was a fan of the first Lestat release, and wanted to be a part of it. I was asked to join and I said YES! I first wrote on Grave Desires.
War: The timing was perfect for the reunion for Lestat. Nave and I had been in another band for 10yrs (PKS), and we had just disbanded. I would definitely be playing music still, but probably not as happy.
Susan: My love of music and giving back to others through music what my predecessors gave to me. If I weren’t in the band, I would be dancing more with my dark fusion belly dance troupe Kali’s Fire.
Scott: The people. Evan and War have been great friends of mine in our early days of my local Cleveland band days. Meeting Susan and Tim, I knew they would be just as good friends in time. And there isn’t any stress. We’re all out to have a good time. Miles will do one of two things to people stuck in cars. Lucky for us, we have all become closer and a tighter band because of it.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Evan: We are JUST about to release our first video for Midnight Toll from the new release. After that, we’re playing a few more shows to close out the year. First up, Columbus, Ohio. Then we head to Jacksonville, Florida for the Age of Decay festival at the end of September. In October we have the absolute pleasure of playing the annual Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club Coven Ball. The chance to play for the event to celebrate our namesake is just too amazing to believe. We finish out the year in November in Cleveland, Ohio and then head back into writing mode.
Scott: Whatever the future holds, it will be decided by our fans.
Evan: It will indeed. It will indeed.
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