Coming all the way from Amsterdam, Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn (members/founders of the band LUH, or Lost Under Heaven) were “really looking forward” to playing at Pitchfork Music Festival. It was their first time in Chicago as a band and a couple, as they just came to the states to play a few shows on their US leg of their tour in support of their debut release Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing. Arriving into town on Saturday night, Ellery and Ebony went around Chicago exploring. “We went into many of these absurd places with many, many TVs and ate a lot of meat. Usually, we don’t eat a lot of meat, but we indulged ourselves. It was cool that they played nice blues music in the background. Chicago is known for its blues I hear” (Ellery).
After a fallout of Ellery’s former band, WU LYF, I was curious on how he and Ebony met and started making music together. Ebony chimed in and said “We met at the end of 2012. The music started more from collaborating with each other, not really to focus on music, but that was, of course, a big deal. [Music] started from 2013. My background is a visual artist. So we merged into together and worked in different fields”.
Since their album came out in May, LUH has had a great response from people all over the world with their powerful lyrics, and thumping indie-electronic rhythms. With the music starting in 2013 together, and their album coming out in 2016, they spent a lot of time working on it, and are extremely happy with the response from everyone. “And to finally share it with everyone. We’ve been working on [our album] for 18 months, so it’s nice to get a reaction back from it. Understanding what the whole thing is to us and how we want to go about it,” said Ebony. “It wasn’t like we were trying to start a band or something. We were working on what we wanted to do. It was great; unknown. It took a while,” chimes in Ellery. “It’s good. It’s so nice to come and play. It’s a ticket to ride and travel and go meet people. I feel like that dialog and interaction is very powerful.”
Especially after listening to Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing, it seems like Ellery and Ebony and pulling influences from various events and musicians. For Ebony, she is “very inspired by triggers and impulses” from her experiences and emotions. For Ellery, who writes the majority of LUH’s music, he said “I like people like Townes Van Zandt. People who really communicate part of the soul on records for whatever genre or style they might use. People like that really inspiring to me.”
In regards to their songwriting, they tend to highlight lyrics that could be considered protest, change, and or revolution-prompting. Ellery commented and said that change “is a necessity for the human race to continue. [We] have a responsibility to talk about the world we are living in. It is very privileged and luxurious to live in this imaginary world. We tend to focus on what we see and what we feel.” And as Ebony puts it, “We use this form to connect to so many different people. It is very important for both of us as artists to reflect on the world and the times.”
As this was their first time playing Pitchfork, and being in Chicago, I couldn’t help but notice that Ellery was carrying around a bag from Reckless Records; one of the bigger record store companies in Chicago. I was very curious as to what they picked up at the festival. “We got a selection of things. I can’t tell you exactly. We got Santana’s Greatest Hits, Bitchin Bajas, and a Marilyn Monroe record.” The duo said that they are staying in Wicker Park this weekend, and have passed a few record stores on their way to the fest that they are looking to check out before they leave for LA.
For their first time in Chicago, and touring on their debut album, I was honored to have the opportunity to meet Ellery and Ebony. I’m excited to see what is in store for LUH’s future.