Disc Jam Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Luke Bemand of lespecial
Zachary Franck interviewing Luke Bemand
Luke Bemand is one third of lespecial, the power trio from CT that has been making waves on the scene for years. He is proud Disc Jam alum and has seen it blossom into the successful mid-level festival that it is today. In this interview he recounts some of his favorite moments of years past, as well as giving a few shoutouts to fellow Disc Jam artists. lespecial coming off a stacked year and are ready to smoke not one, but two sets this year. They have some tricks up their sleeves, so make sure you’re at both of them!
ZF: What have been some standout moments for the band this year?
LB: It’s hard to take notice of standout moments when they happen, because you’re always trying to divide your focus on what you’re working on at that moment, and planning a few steps ahead. That being said as I reflect with a glass of wine and a fine cigar, I’d say some standout moments were our annual “lespectacle” event at The Reliquarium in October, selling the most tickets we ever had for the event and just the overall vibe and energy of the event really encapsulated what it’s about for us. Our 90’s Headbangers Ball set in Boston in November was really fun and we pulled off some things we had been talking about for a long time. April alone has been a great month for us, from sold out shows with Twiddle, a great run with Papadosio and some sold out headlining shows of our own.
ZF: You guys released CHEEN in 2017 and got a lot of good feedback from it, now that it’s been performed across the country, when can fans expect another project?
LB: We tell people that the best place they can hear new music from us is live at the shows, since we’re always writing and developing material on the road. We’ve been writing and recording steadily throughout the year and have material in the works for a new EP or album, but we are going to focus on releasing some singles first. Fans can expect a new single this summer, and a new remix on the way soon.
ZF: Playing on stage at music festivals brings an entirely different energy to the music, looking back, what are some of your all-time favorite festival sets?
LB: Not to be too on the nose, but our set at Disc Jam 2 years ago when we headlined Thursday night was a special one for us. It was a 2+ hour set and we brought some of our best friends out to guest with us. Fro from Dopapod started playing percussion and then pulled the ol’ switcharoo to guitar for a few tunes which was very fun. My brother Bemand sat in with us on guitar, Honeycomb, Lee Ross and others got up there as well, it was a blast. Last summer, some standouts for us were Camp Bisco and Summer Camp. It was crazy to see the crowds for our first time at both of those festivals. Everyone was nice to us.
ZF: You’ve been part of Disc Jam for years and the Disc Jam Fam has a lot of love for you, what makes DJ special?
LB: I think the fans at Disc Jam have enjoyed seeing our growth along with the festival, and it makes it more personal for them. Our first Disc Jam set was 2013 I think and we played at noon. We played this really heavy tune “The Equalizer” and did a bluegrass arrangement of “46 + 2” that we dubbed “Pickin’ On Tool”. I don’t think people knew what the hell was going on. So, to go from there to 2 headlining sets this year is a cool experience for fans that have been going regularly and watched it grow.
ZF: How has it grown over the years? What has gotten better about it?
LB: I think regional festivals have to pull off a tricky balancing act of developing local bands with national touring acts that sell tickets. I think Disc Jam has done a really good job of staying true to that formula over the years. The lineups have gotten “bigger”, but there is still a really tight family vibe there that keep people coming back. You’re welcome, Tony.
ZF: Your late-night set from 2016 and mainstage set from 2017 were both standout sets from their respective weekends. You have two sets this year, are fans going to get treated to some lespecial jams or what?
LB: 2 nights this year means we have to pull out some punches. Fans can expect some debuts, some special guests, some bust outs and zero grateful dead covers.
ZF: You’ve been around the music scene for a while, besides lespecial, what acts should patrons check out at Disc Jam this year?
LB: Ghost Note is a band that I haven’t been able to catch live yet, but MonoNeon is one of the best bass players on the planet right now so people should take advantage of getting to see them in this setting. Thriftworks is also one of my favorite producers, we had him at lespectacle a few years back and his music is my kind of spooky. Other than that people should always try to make an effort to check out the “smaller” up and coming acts at festivals like this. Those bands are going to bring their A game to a bigger crowd than they are used to performing to and they need your help supporting them at smaller clubs, so load up a doink and try to catch something new.