Tree of Life
By Jasen T. Davis
Austin White, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for The Lunar Atlantic, met drummer Elias Texel in the second grade, but it wasn’t until shortly after high school that the two met lead guitarist Charlie Sparks and bassist Tim Hergert to form their band.
“We’re roommates now, too.” White says. “We’re lucky because we are all best friends.”
Operating out of its hometown of Cathedral City, California, The Lunar Atlantic performs in the High Desert around Palm Springs when it isn’t playing gigs in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s the austere, lonely vistas of the California desert that influence the band, instilling its sound with an energy best described as sad, sweet and addictively progressive.
“It’s not easy to be a band in a desert. There are very limited places to play,” White says. “The atmosphere really helps our music.”
The Lunar Atlantic has a name that is guaranteed to look sharp on a concert shirt. Where did the members come up with the title? Is it a cool reference, or is it just cool?
“It was a long thought process to come up with a name,” White says. “We had quite a few songs written, and we had been performing for a while without a name. My lyrics were always about the ocean, so we thought about names that were nautical, like we are from the sea. We were all hanging out, and one of us just said it out loud, so that was it.”
The Lunar Atlantic released its very first LP, Eyes, in early 2012. It’s an album full of raucous licks, brilliant breakdowns, introspective bass lines and lyrics that possess the hopeful energy of youth juxtaposed by compositions tinged grey by depression. Eyes is original, but also hints at a lot of deep influences from across a wide spectrum of music.
“That’s a hard question to answer. It’s hard to define yourself. When you do, it’s like you are just putting yourself into the wrong genre,” White says. “If we had to mention one influence, it would be Thrice. They used to really be hardcore punk, but as I grew up their music changed and that was cool because I changed with them. They’ve since retired but they are still my favorite band.
“Another band is The Reign of Kindo. I don’t even know how to describe their songs. They sound kind of like rock music mixed with jazz and a Latin influence, and their music is scored so perfectly. They are such musical geniuses.”
The band draws from some respectable influences but ultimately its sound is entirely original largely because of the unique nature of Lunar Atlantic’s compositions, lyrics included.
“I think as far as writing the lyrics I’m pretty hard on myself in making sure the song is structured and written before the lyrics,” White says. “I want to hear the finished song and think about how it makes me feel. Our lyrics are basically about life, problems in life, overcoming things in life. I’m also into writing about nostalgia and taking myself back to a place where I want to be, and bringing the audience with me.”