Three years ago, vocalist Shannon Funchess (of dancepunk collective !!!) and keyboardist Bruno Coviello (who’d been touring with his solo act, the Dreamies) came together to form Light Asylum, whose self-released 2011 EP, In Tension, has garnered across-the-board acclaim from critics and fans. Described by The New York Times as “the future of New York dance music,” the band, whose self-titled debut album was recently released by Mexican Summer, is being heralded for its untamed punk sound, with Funchess’ hypnotic vocals drawing apt comparisons to Grace Jones.
How do you define sin?
For me it’s just a religious concept. It’s mainly a Christian thing and not anything else. It’s just a form of trespass against other human beings. It’s a construct of the mind. Enforced by religion
Can you tell us about the song “Pope Will Roll” off the upcoming album? I have a very distinct picture in my head of a dead pope rolling across the floor.
Originally the song was called “Po-Po Roll”, which is a ghetto slang for the police in a car driving through the neighborhood. I like to play with words and “Pope Will Roll” seemed really similar so I said “Why not? Might as well”
There’s a lot of Christian imagery in your song “Dark Allies.”
It’s just like what we were talking about; the oppression that comes with certain religious based institutions like Catholicism. It’s against sexuality, against politics whether it’s women’s rights over their reproductive system or equal rights for gay people. As if they weren’t people at all. As if women weren’t equal to men and don’t get to make these decisions about their reproductive systems. It’s like charge me, charge me and my family—and you can take that as a gay connotation or just charge all of us for not conforming to this dogma that is religion and these institutions that use religion as way to control the masses. Basically I’m thinking “You know they’ll never survive the judgment.” The people who are oppressing all of us won’t survive it. If they believe in a god who is just, there is no way, with all of the things they’ve done, all of the blood on their hands, that they’ll survive the judgment. They’ll always be the first to cast stones.
It’s always the ones that are quick to judge others that are at home committing those same sins.
Living in glass houses and throwing rocks. It’s like, what are you doing?
Do you like getting involved in activism? I hate saying ‘activism’ because it has a negative connotation sometimes.
No, it’s not a negative thing. More people should be activists. Or active. Or self-educating, because obviously there are powers at work against people—they don’t want the masses to know things about the credit crunch or the economy collapse. They figure you can’t handle the truth. I think that people have to educate and inform each other and one another. Otherwise we’re constantly being lied to by the people who supposedly represent us in a democratic society.
Do you think we even live in a democratic society?
No, I believe we totally live in a capitalist society.
What is “Dark Allies” about?
I know you said there was a lot of religious connotation but it’s more about spirituality and communicating. We’re not practicing anything. If anything we’d be more like some kind of pagan. Very into the stars and moon and the earth. Astrology.
I’ve really gotten into astrology lately.
It’s solid! From the Mayans to Aristotle—you know he was no joke! The whole Egyptian philosophy is based on a oneness with the universe and not separating yourself from the sun or the abundance that comes from the sun. Even Christianity borrowed that from the pagans. “The Sun” was actually very pagan before it was used to control the masses.
If you could do one thing and know you wouldn’t get caught for it what would it be?
Probably just try, if I had the power, to enlighten everyone at once.
What do you think would happen?
Don’t know. Don’t care. Just something new. Something instantaneous. Like, let’s just be done. Even if that meant that we destroy everything. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be.
Photography: Grant Thomas
Styling: Evren Catlin and Kieran Partise
Art direction: Kieran Partise