Mark of the Beast
Media-savvy Luxt aims for the title of hardest-working band in local show business
A few short years ago, bands were nipping at the heels of major-label A&R weasels, hoping to land that all-important, self-indulgent record deal.
Today, bands are taking back from the now-moribund record industry what is rightfully theirs, realizing that most of the resources to make a good, nationally distributed album are just a mouse click away. Though the Internet may have given away too much—take Napster or Kazaa, for instance—some of the info transferred over the wires managed to enlighten and teach the masses.
Luxt, Sacramento’s largest consistently drawing hard-rock act since the Deftones, just released its newest album through Blackliner Records, a label run by Lynn and Sonny Mayugba, best known for their local bands the Skirts and Daycare, respectively. Luxt’s new record, American Beast, is distributed nationally though indie-label distributor IDN.
The current lineup of Luxt—Anna Christine on vocals, Erie Loch on guitar and keyboards, David H on guitars, Crash on bass and Frost on drums—is easily the band’s strongest. As evidenced on American Beast’s standout tracks—“Cease”; “Infinite”; and “Death,” which closes the album—the band’s influences are far and reaching. Imagine a juncture where early Garbage, Lacuna Coil, the Gathering, KMFDM and White Zombie meet, and you’re ready for the Luxt experience.
As far as Luxt’s members’ ages go, let’s just say that they’re experienced. “You’re gonna have to fistfight Anna for that info,” Loch joked. “We’re all about 19, spiritually.”
Touring is integral to a band’s success. Without a live show to promote and sell music, most record labels won’t touch an act. Fortunately, Luxt is a self-contained touring machine. Besides having a fully functional van-trailer combination, the band has a very impressive merchandise booth, one that puts even major-label-funded ones to shame.
“We want to tour 366 days a year,” Loch said, “but we’ll do as much as we possibly can. There’s nothing better than having the ability to promote your own CD instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you. Between recording, re-recording, releasing an album—we started the process back in October—and politics, we were only able to play 60 shows in 2002. The two previous years, we had done about 100 a year, so we’re really champing at the bit to be playing a lot more.”
And, though most bands don’t understand what goes into making a successful record, Luxt’s members have the inside scoop. Because the band was signed to indie labels early on, it’s attained quite a savvy and has learned from its mistakes. As Loch puts it, “Metropolis Records only functioned as a distributor for us, so I can’t speak for them. But, as for [former labels] 21st Circuitry and Knight Records, yes, we’ve learned that good intentions don’t usually materialize into actions.”
However, Luxt has a game plan now, and the band’s singer and businesswoman is leading the charge. “Anna is our shark,” an enthusiastic Loch said. “She takes care of business and is the reason this band is not only still afloat, but prospering.” Although signed to an indie, Luxt is positioning itself alongside major-label bands by taking part in the radio and marketing game. Once a costly proposition that was out of reach for indie labels, costs for national advertising and marketing have changed with the economy.
“As for promotion, we’ve secured radio through the Syndicate in New Jersey, who work with acts like Tori Amos and Mudvayne down to small metal and indie bands. We’re part of the Music Monitor Network [a coalition of indie retail stores] for retail support, which means we’re included in a lot of listening stations and end caps [typically, paid-for placement in record-store end racks],” Loch said. “That, coupled with advertising, touring, a good publicist and just an assload of really hard work by the whole band, the label and other people in our camp should give us the push we need to move forward in a big way.”
Time for this American Beast to leave its mark, no?