Brighton based band ‘Levity’ gets ready for their EP launch on the 11th of Febuary at The Brunswick! The band is made up of the joined forces of George Challiss, lead vocalist, David Duce, guitarist, George Marino, bassist and Dan Slater, Drummer all 22 years old. I had the privilege of speaking to George about the journey these musicians are all taking together and where it all started.
How did the band come together?
“We all met though Sussex University, while Dan came from BIMM, we found him through Sussex University Big Band, of which we have now all been a part of. Dave started the band about three years ago but the line-up we have now is the best we have ever had and the definitive version of ‘Levity’ which has been together for about seven months.”
Why did you guys move to Brighton?
“University and now Dave and George C are just trying to make ends meet to stay in the town we love.”
What were your influences and who were your inspirations?
“Musically, I’d say we take a lot of influence from bands like Funkadelic, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Faces. Lyrically, Tom Waits has had a huge impact on our song writing. He has this knack of writing about serious issues and making light of them, and this is what we try to do. A lot of our songs are about being drunk, lonely and coping with mental health (not exactly the most cheery of themes) but at the same time we try and find the pathos and humour in such themes.”
What are the different obstacles you’ve faced in order to be where you are today with your music?
“Good question. Well I think one of our main problems is playing to crowds of varying sizes. We love what we do and are proud of ourselves (you have to be really). So when you play to the barman and only a few other people it can get quite disheartening. But it makes you stronger as a band as you realise that no matter what the size of the crowd you must give everything you have. With that mentality we’ve ended up getting contacts from very small gigs due to the energy we have given (even when playing to pretty much just the sound guy) and then played larger gigs. You have to give everything no matter the size of the crowd, you never know whose watching.”
What style or genre of music do you play?
“A question without a straightforward answer unfortunately. I’d say soul rock with a generous sprinkling of funk and blues.”
Tell us about your completed projects?
“We have our EP coming out on February 11th. It’s pretty much the definition of DIY with regards to recording. We have our bassist George to thank for mixing it all (although I nearly throttled him on numerous occasions for making me play the same thing over and over again). He really came into his own with this and it sounds, at least to our impartial ears, brilliant. We also have a couple of music videos coming out soon. One is a cover of Feeling Good which, while being done to near death already, we have put a bit of a new spin on and are looking forward to seeing what people think. The other is for the single of our EP ‘Nights Fly By.’ We tried to not go down the conventional route of us just playing in front of a camera looking moody, so we did something different. I won’t say anymore, you’ll have to wait and see.”
Where we can find your music?
“From February 11th people can find us on all major streaming/purchasing apps like Spotify, Apple Music, Itunes, etc as well as Soundcloud and the usual band profile sites. Our songs will also be available on YouTube as we are gradually creating different styles of music videos for each song on the EP. Currently, we have all of the songs in preview form on our Soundcloud for people to get a taster for what’s to come.”
What do you hope to achieve through your music?
“We hope, like so many other bands, to make a living out of it. There’s a lot of people trying to do the same thing but we have the drive and determination to make something of ourselves. It’s going to be a difficult road to traverse but we’ll relish each step of it.”
Has it been difficult making time to pursue your musical career whilst successfully sustaining the income you need to maintain a comfortable lifestyle?
Answered by Dave : “Absolutely. After finishing university it has been tough and I would never consider my lifestyle as comfortable. Doing jobs that I hate, and that are detrimental to my health, just to ensure that I stay in Brighton has been a challenge. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. It doesn’t matter what happens at work, it’s a means to an end, what matters is that I can continue to play music with some very special people.”
What has been your biggest achievement yet?
“On a literal sense, our biggest achievement is probably our EP and music videos. We’ve put everything we have (physically, mentally, and financially) into getting our songs sounding great and we are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished. Though we’ve individually played at festivals around the UK (and some in Europe) we’ve yet to play a festival as Levity which is something we’d love to do and are working on for this summer. In another sense, our biggest achievement has been becoming a family. No matter the argument, the health struggle, or the general stress of life, we’ve become a group of friends that find comfort in each other and, in just a short space of time, have become brothers. Together, we live through our music and our biggest hope is that we can continue to do so for years to come.”
What other extra curricular activities do you lads enjoy?
“We have pretty varying interests as a band. Our drummer Dan is a pretty big gamer with a taste for Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid (with tattoos to prove it), Dave is a bookworm with a serious crush on George Orwell and James Joyce. George C spends pretty much all his time working, either managing the band or for the company he runs and George M eats a heck of a lot of food…. Like constantly eating (I’m sure he does other things but all I ever see is eating).”
Do you plan on staying in Brighton? Or are there far corners of this world that you hope to venture to one day?
“We’ll be in Brighton for the foreseeable future but yes we have big dreams. We want to get around the world and play music. Whether we do achieve such dreams is down to our tenacity and belief, either way we’ll have fun finding out.”