“Only (Chasing You)” is a rework of a track from Son Lux’s most recent album, Tomorrows I (the first part of a planned trilogy). The original song was simply called “Only”, and featured Ryan Lott’s gritty, yearning voice delivering the lyrics over the kind of music we’ve come to expect from Son Lux: elegant yet organic, like a Greek statue carved through the natural erosion of wind and rain. But as excellent as that version was, “Only (Chasing You)” adds new layers of meaning and emotion to its sound with the addition of a special guest.
William Bell is a veteran soul man, who achieved success as both a singer and a songwriter back in the 60s and 70s (you may know “Born Under a Bad Sign”, written by Bell and popularized by artists like Albert King and Cream.) He provides his vocals to “Only (Chasing You)”, and although his voice is weathered there’s still plenty of soulful sweetness to his delivery. Surrounded by the twinkling pianos and astral strings of Son Lux’s production, Bell sounds earthy yet dreamy, both feet on the ground as he looks up towards the stars.
I submitted some interview questions to Ryan Lott of Son Lux, and he was gracious enough to answer them.
Son Lux has existed in some form for almost fifteen years, and your sound has evolved significantly in that time. What was the biggest change to your sound, and what caused it?
There are a few things that have remained fundamental from the start, but you are right that there has certainly been an evolution. Without a doubt, the evolution from a solo project into a band has been the greatest determiner of a steady metamorphosis. The three of us, in our respective outlooks, had the same piece of horizon in view when we came together. But each of us had an additional perspective that, taken together, created a much deeper potential for the project. I believe we’ve only begun starting to realize that potential.
Modern classical is a major influence on your sound. How do you balance the headiness of that kind of music with accessibility?
I assume you mean modern European classical music. Yes, it’s among the traditions I’ve studied and to which I’m personally indebted, and to some degree, part of. The instruments that evolved in the context of European classical music are also some of my favorite colors to use. But I don’t think “heady” is an accurate term to describe it, to be honest. Just as much intellectual rigor can go into making a pop record. Personally, I don’t think in terms of straddling genres or balancing traditions. I’m just making music that fascinates my brain and interacts with my body and emotions.
“Only” is a collaboration between you and soul singer William Bell. What is it about his voice that made you want to do a song with him? Are there any complementary qualities between his voice and your music?
William sings on a rework of the album cut, “Only.” Mr. Bell comes from a deep tradition of Black music to which we’re profoundly indebted, and it was an honor to work with him. It was surreal to hear him take the song on as his own, rather than merely “cover” it. And yes, his voice, especially now, has a rich complexity, texture, and resonant power that we definitely strive to embody in our own way with our music.
You’ve dabbled in scoring films. What kind of movie would you want to score next? What would its plot be, who would direct it?
The film I’d love to score next I’m working on right now. But I’m not alone. We’re actually scoring our first film together as a band now. It’s on the hush now, but we’re excited to announce details as soon as we’re able.
What are your plans for the future?
In addition to the film, in the near future we’re wrapping up the next two volumes of the three-volume Tomorrows record!