Photo by Channa Vance

10 Years in Your Ears

In a time when most bands form and break up faster then you can say “groupies,” Lynus has proven they can withstand the daunting hardships that come with the passing of time. They have managed to stay somewhat under the radar in the Sacramento area earning them a top spot on our list of the most underrated local bands. It’s been three years since their last release, but on Apr. 25, 2008 Lynus revealed their newest LP Nice Outside to an eager audience who have been patiently awaiting their next move. Submerge recently caught up with Joe Senna (vocals/guitar) and Blake Spurlock (guitar/vocals) to talk about the history of the band, the local music scene and peeing the bed.

You guys have been a band for quite some time now; can you briefly explain the history of Lynus for our readers? How has your sound evolved, have you gone through any member changes, etc?
Joe Senna: I met Blake and Minh [Ngo, drums] in the seventh grade in woodshop. We all happened to want to be rock ‘n’ rollers and shit so we started playing our instruments together. That was in 1998, so 10 years ago now. A year and a half ago we parted ways with our original bass player Jason of eight years. One member change in a decade ain’t too bad! From the ages of 12 to 14 we were basically a radio cover band without any vocals. Then from 14 to 16 we did the punk rock deal. Then from 17 on out we’ve tried to allow ourselves no boundaries. So basically we are hecka original! Kidding. We at least try. Really though, I think we’ve just overall been pretty consistent with constantly getting better. Not to totally pat my own back.

Not many bands that meet as early in life as you guys did continue their musical endeavors after their years together in school have passed. How have you been able to maintain your presence in the Sacramento music scene for such a long period of time?
Blake Spurlock: By dropping out of the scene all together! At least we’ve laid low for a chunk of the time. Other than that, we are all really close friends. More so than other bands that I’ve known throughout the years. We all believe in each other and what we’re doing so it’s easy to keep Lynus alive.

Speaking of the local music scene, what are your thoughts on its current state? There seems to be many people who believe the all-ages scene is dead. Do you agree with this?
JS: If anything, the scene is beginning to thrive for the under 21 crowd. It just seems a little segregated from the bar crowd. It would be cool if there were more places around with a Boardwalk or Bottom of the Hill setup in Sacramento. It’s best when everyone gets to have fun, the young and the old.

The art of songwriting can be a complex one. How does the process unfold for Lynus? Is there one main songwriter or is it more of a collaborative effort?
BS: Usually Joe will come to practice with a main idea like a piece of a verse or a chorus, sometimes just some nice chords. We’ll all go through it together and build on it adding individual ideas. Then he usually takes it home and writes his lyrics over the piece of music. It takes about a month from start to finish.

The songs your full length album, Nice Outside, have a very clean, polished sound to them compared to some of your older stuff. What took you guys in this direction?
JS: I think we actually just got better through age. It’s been three years since we’ve put out any recordings so we’ve had time to work on ourselves more as songwriters and musicians.

So, it has been a decade since you started making music together. Where do you see Lynus in another 10 years?
BS: Well Joe will probably be dead [laughs]. That’s a scary question. We all usually don’t like thinking about the distant future. After being around for a decade it’s hard to think where we’ll be in another.
JS: Ten years ago in a middle school yearbook we were asked that very same question, and we’re not where we said we would be!

You guys have spent a good amount of time on the road over the years. What is your favorite story you like to share with people about your travels as a band?
BS: We fucked up a hotel room once. Not so much in the cool throw the TV from the window way, but in a sick pee on the bed kind of way. Don’t ask. Next question!

If you could party with one rock star (dead or alive) whom would it be and why?
JS: Charles Manson would be a trip. But John Lennon or Brian Wilson would be most enlightening. Or Gwen Stefani, if you still consider her a rock star. Get her all drunk”¦
BS: Morrissey would be cool.

    Jonathan Carabba

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