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The Orchestral-Rock-Folk-Synth-Jazz Sound Of L'anarchiste



It begins with that cord - again and again. Then it builds.


MARTIN: Layer after layer, a baseline emerges and ultimately, lyrics.


L'ANARCHISTE: (Singing) Your eyes met mine in the window.

MARTIN: This is the music of L'anarchiste, voted Salt Lake City, Utah's best band two years ago. L'anarchiste released their first full-length album this past week. It's called "Giant." We're joined now by two of the band members, lead singer Rob Lecheminant and bassist and pianist Alex Gilvarry. They join us from member station KUER in Salt Lake. Welcome to the show, you guys.

ALEX GILVARRY: Thanks for having us.

ROB LECHEMINANT: Thanks for having us.

MARTIN: So let's stay with this song on the minute. We're listening to the first track of the album. It's called "Shaker." There's some cool synthesizer sounds in there. It feels a little bit of, like, throwback, little '80s thing happening. Can you tell me how this song came together?

LECHEMINANT: Yeah. This was actually an idea - I had that melodic line. And I thought it'd be so interesting to just have a repeating line. And I just started adding things to it, kind of how you described it.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Good for me.

LECHEMINANT: (Laughter) So yeah, it was kind of written that way, interestingly enough. But I had always been the kind of person that was like, I'm going to use as many acoustic sounds as possible. I'm going to try to keep it, you know, pure. And then I realized, you know, these synthesizers are really cool. I just loved the balance between acoustic and synthesized 'cause it's just - it's such an interesting mix when you can add them together in a way that works. And that's kind of the challenge and the fun that I have in writing these songs.


MARTIN: So L'anarchiste, where does that name come from?

LECHEMINANT: I wanted to find something that was similar to my last name.

MARTIN: Lecheminant?

LECHEMINANT: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and I wanted to kind of embody the idea that I didn't want to get stuck in any sort of genre. And so I realized, hey, how about the idea of musical anarchy, in a way. And I looked up the translation in French. And I was like, whoa, that's perfect. And so I kind of went from there.

MARTIN: Alex, you kind of snickered. Had you not heard that before?

GILVARRY: No, I had heard that. I just think it's a fun name. We get that question a lot.

LECHEMINANT: (Laughter).


MARTIN: So let's listen to another track off the album. This one is called - correct me if I say this wrong - "Samundar"? Is that right?

LECHEMINANT: Yeah, yeah, I think so. I'm not totally sure myself.

MARTIN: Did you make up that word?

LECHEMINANT: No, I actually - I had a class in college called Global Indian Ocean. We talked a lot about the history - the economic history - of that whole region. My teacher told me - and I could be completely off base with this. But I remember him talking about that word early in in the Hindu culture, like, thousands of years ago. The ocean - they did really venture out on it. Samundar was this dark kind of mysterious place. And I just kind of loved that idea.


L'ANARCHISTE: (Singing) All I know is you're frustrated and that you've had enough. All the time that you have wasted trying to call out. If you knew what there was waiting, you'd to be willing to part from the things that have you worried, but don't change who you are.

MARTIN: I want to turn to Alex and ask you - you know, I'm sure all of the music - you love all the music. And it's all special in its own way. And it's your first album. But is there a moment, as a musician, as a pianist, you listen to it, and you're like, oh, I love that little thing that happens there?

GILVARRY: Well, the first thing that springs to mind is the song "Wolves."


GILVARRY: For me, it kind of hits a lot of our different influences really well, as you'll find, like, homage to Bon Iver to it. It has some auto-tune on the vocals. You'll find this really ambient thing going on during most of the song. And then towards the end, it really kind of kicks into gear. And the horns come in, and the bass really takes off. And the drums get going. And so I think that song in particular shows the breadth of influences we have.


GILVARRY: And I just really enjoy the melody.


MARTIN: So you know what happened to me when I was listening to this album is I just kept getting blindsided. Like, I would hear the opening few bars of a song. I would like, OK, yeah, I got this; I know what this is. And then it totally wasn't that thing. It was a different thing.

LECHEMINANT: That makes me so happy to hear.

MARTIN: You said, Rob, that you thought people were just going to think this stuff was too complicated. How do you deal - when forced to by people like me - how do you describe the music that you make?

LECHEMINANT: It takes a lot of effort (laughter). Yeah, I - a lot of times I don't know how to describe it. I just - I tell people it's got a lot of orchestral influence, a lot of rock and folk influence and a little bit of jazz influence in there too. And I kind of just tell them, like, make of that what you will. But you kind of just have to listen to see (laughter).


MARTIN: Rob Lecheminant and Alex Gilvarry of the band L'anarchiste. Their new album, "Giant," was released this past week. They joined us from the studios of KUER in Salt Lake City. Thanks so much for talking with us.


GILVARRY: Thank you, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.