The London duo LUNGS have already made waves in reviews despite only forming in 2011. As News Beats Media succinctly puts, “Ignore them at your peril and embrace them with open arms for they could be the most exciting thing you experience this year.” Members Suzie Blake and McLord Magrao got to talking with the Encyclopedia of Music. Below they expound on the music of LUNGS and how these two succeed in getting so many different art mediums to compliment their work.
FDRMX: How did you come up with the name LUNGS
LUNGS: It’s just a great organ! But also the lungs only operate as two, and we are a duo – we work together as one.
FDRMX: Suzie Blake, you started out as a photographer. How has that skill impacted your music?
LUNGS: I used to shoot a lot of bands. Maybe that rubbed off on me. I’m not sure. They’re very different forms of creative expression. Photography is very internal, music is very external.
FDRMX: Your video Faraway involved a lot of interesting lighting tricks. What was it like to direct you had to perform?
LUNGS: We didn’t have a budget, so we shot it at home. I shot myself in the reflection of a mirror, then shot Magrão. The ‘lighting’ is just shooting through colourful scarves and overlaying these on top. The sparks were created using party sparklers. Very very lo-fi.
FDRMX: Did you have an idea for the music video while writing the song?
LUNGS: Not really. We wanted something quite ethereal I suppose, and I think it has that feel – quite dreamy.
FDRMX: The video “Not Mine” uses footage from Hound of Heaven’ & ‘Prins Preben as well as some other stock footage. How did you go about hunting down that footage?
LUNGS: Mary Henning, the director, did all that.
FDRMX: The video is other images being used to compliment your music. What did you think of it?
LUNGS: We thought it was great. In terms of our views on modern society it very much runs in tandem with our position.
FDRMX: The city features prominently in the video. What is it about the city that you love so much?
LUNGS: Magrão loves the city. The noise, the sound, the movement.
FDRMX: What about you, Suzie?
LUNGS: I personally like dipping in and out. I like nature and tranquility more.
FDRMX: Have you ever thought of a song idea while watching a television shows or movie?
LUNGS: Definitely. Especially documentaries. Writing from the perspective of other people is really important to my lyric writing process. There are only so many things you can say about your own lived experience.
FDRMX: In the video for “Loner” you had to act like there were crazy animations all around you. What did you have to do to put yourself in the moment?
LUNGS: Not feel like an idiot mainly! It was a bit strange having to pretend there were animated demons appearing out of nowhere. It brought me back to my high school drama days.
FDRMX: Did you have any input in what the animation would look like, or were you surprised?
LUNGS: We didn’t, but we knew Lucy (director and illustrator) would do an incredible job. She has a great style and we were so happy she did the video.
FDRMX: What are your top three favorite concerts you’ve ever been to?
1. My first day in London my friends surprised me and took me to an intimate gig of Madonna at GAY. I had no idea what was coming or where we were until she came on stage. I thought ‘I’m not leaving this city’ she was a metre away from me – I nearly wet myself!
2. I saw Bjork when I was about 14 with my friends in Melbourne. It was the 90s and we were all wearing long socks with doc martens and A line skirts … and glitter on our faces!
We thought we were so cool being at a concert with no parents and just my mates older brother.
3. Shooting Magrao’s old band Guillemots. If I hadn’t been at that concert we never would have met and LUNGS would never have been born.
FDRMX: What’s the best piece of musical advice you have ever received?
LUNGS: Be yourself.