INTERVIEW: Leave The Universe Discuss "N.W.O.," Their Diverse Sound & Plans for the Future
Leave The Universe's dynamic sound (best described as alt rock/trap) and their willingness to break down walls and discuss a wide variety of topics such as politics, isolation, depression and mental illness makes them just the band the music scene needs right now. The trio's first studio EP, N.W.O. finds them not only exploring the depths of their sound, but also diving deep lyrically in order to open up a discussion among listeners. Only three songs in length, N.W.O. is a cathartic, thought provoking release that promises a bright future for the band.
With the EP out now, Leave The Universe are already looking toward the next step, which includes even more new music that didn't quite make the cut this time around. Whatever they choose to do next, it promises to be just as in your face and apologetically authentic as N.W.O.. Learn more about Leave The Universe and listen to the EP now below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Leave The Universe for any readers who might not be familiar?
Cameron Cole [vocals]: The name Leave The Universe is a metaphor for pushing past seemingly impossible limits. We are a band that spans across multiple genres like hip/hop and alternative because of that very idea. We are part of an artist collective called Dead 30 that we formed in London which includes the band L.I.F.T. We are currently based out of southern California and have recently moved back from London with the collective.
How did you guys first come together to begin writing music as Leave The Universe? What inspired you to pursue the style of music that you have?
Cameron: We all found refuge in music as we grew up, and were inspired by so many different artist. We wanted to continue that cycle of inspiring people with our music just like we were. Kalin and I grew up listening to a lot of punk and alternative music and then later in life found an appreciation for Hip/Hop and Pop music. I suppose the style is just our interpretation of everything we have been influenced by so far.
You guys just released your new EP, N.W.O., and it’s interesting because while your sound doesn’t necessarily fall into one category and is constantly breaking barriers, so are the themes on the EP. Was this a conscious decision?
Kalin Pugh [guitar]: The music we make is never written with the intention of falling into a style. When we’re making new music, the parts are not written to fall into a “band” format of just guitar bass and drums.
Cameron: I like to approach the production like a movie soundtrack, with no limit to the sounds we use. This naturally made the music span across multiple genres.
N.W.O. only features three songs and all of them range from very political to very personal and emotional. What goals did you have in mind when writing and choosing what songs would make the cut on the EP?
Cameron: We have many songs that have been written at this point, and we plan to release most of them. To me it wasn’t a question of which songs to cut, but which sings belonged together in a collection. N.W.O. is a collection of outwardly aggressive songs. Whether it was about the structure of the world, or about depression, I felt the attitude of charging forward and breaking these obstacles was the same across all the songs. The next EP that is coming out will have a different attitude to it and will have some of the songs that were not on N.W.O.
I really want to talk about the title track, “N.W.O.” because it’s very relevant considering everything going on in the world right now. What would you like listeners to take away from the song?
Cameron: The first thing I want to clear up is that this song is not about the last election, but about a system that has been in place for a long time. The election was sort of a spark that ignited something that I have been wanting to say for a long time. I guess the bottom line is I want people to accept that YES, the world is in a lot of trouble but NO, we don’t have to put up with it anymore.
“If You Find Me” is on the opposite end of the spectrum because it’s a very personal sounding track. What inspired this song?
Cameron: This song was written about isolation. I have always felt very disconnected from everyone else and this song is about wanting to find that one person to connect to and feel at home with. I know a lot of people struggle with these feelings everyday, so this song is very special to me, because I feel like not only did it help me tremendously to write it, but hopefully it can help others in the same way who relate to that feeling.
What do you hope to accomplish with N.W.O. or even your music in general? What do you want fans to walk away from a Leave The Universe show thinking or feeling?
Kalin: Our music should, at the very least, get people to think more deeply about themselves or some aspect of the world. We’re moving into an era where we’re all so connected and yet so far away from each other, and I think that has a lot to do with fear of the unknown. I want our music to empower people to go on the journeys that will allow them to grow more in the world and gain better perspective on what it means to be alive in the time we’re living. No one really has any solid answers, and I want our music to be a catalyst for deep thought leading to new discoveries.
With N.W.O. out now, do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2017? Could we expect some shows soon?
Jordan Humphries [drums]: We do have a showcase planned for both of the bands in the Dead 30 collective on October 14th, and that will be at Soma in San Diego. Beyond that nothing is specifically planned, but things are changing all the time. We’re also finishing up more new music and plan on getting that to our fans very soon!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Cameron: Im really excited about the new Star-Wars film.
Kalin: Oh yeah! Speaking of movies, I’m excited a out the new Bennedict Cumberbatch film “The Current War”, which is all about the battle between Edison and Westin for the control of the electrical currents that were first in America.
Cameron: Oh yeah!! I’m really excited about that one too!