Earthquake Lights | 5 Minutes With 

New York City five-piece band, Earthquake Lights have just unveiled their latest album, Desert Bloom. Delving into inspiring stories, the band have a knack for captivating listeners from the get go, through both their storytelling lyrics and hypnotic melodies. With song narratives ranging from the spacecraft Voyager, to the wonderful phenomenons of nature, this band takes a deep dive into thought-provoking themes. Combining their powerful storytelling with their unique sonic landscape, Earthquake Lights blend alt rock anthems with spine-tingling orchestral arrangements, concocting something which truly makes them stand out from the crowd. 

The album sees the band reach new heights, with lead singer Myles Rodenhouse sharing, “It is very much a record of deadlines and pushing our creative process forward. It was tough but really important and healthy for us because we found out a bit about ourselves and how we create.” Following their 2019 album Distress Signals, the new release stays true to the band’s loved and acclaimed sound, yet sees them exploring further territories, as they break down barriers, refusing to be held back by genres and narratives. 

Desert Bloom is a beautiful and enjoyable listening experience, one that you’ll find yourself returning to time and time again for some escapism from the stresses and mundanity of everyday life. Noctis speaks with Earthquake Lights about the new album, their frontier approach and upcoming music! 

Hi Earthquake Lights! Congratulations on the release of your new album, Desert Bloom. How does it feel to finally have this out in the world for listeners to hear?

It feels great! This is the first album where we released almost every track as a single, so to have them all out in the world as a complete collection is really satisfying and we’re excited for everyone to hear it.   

Desert Bloom follows your debut album, Distress Signals. Can you tell us how the two albums differ and can you see any growth or change?

There is so much difference between the two albums. Distress Signals took many years to complete, and we tracked the lion’s share of it in the span of a week. With Desert Bloom we forced ourselves to move more quickly and trust our instincts, and you can really hear some more adventurous musical decisions on the album. We also learned a lot about our own writing capabilities, which expanded our comfort zones and allowed us to grow creatively.   

Do you have a favourite track off the album? If so, what is it and why?

Everyone has different favorites! Some of the ones that we go back to a lot are “Desert Bloom”, “Another Star”, and “Snow”. Those are all good examples of songs that took a different approach from the songs on the last album, which I think makes them feel fresh to our ears.  

You’re a five piece band from New York City. Can you introduce each member and explain how you all met? 

Almost all of us met in the music department at Hofstra University on Long Island. Myles and Cam actually went to the same high school in Victor, NY, which is outside Rochester. Our drummer, Steve, was randomly assigned as Myles’s freshman year roommate, and bassist Jimmy and guitarist Evan both transferred from other schools. Not all of us were the same year, but the Jazz department at Hofstra was so small that everyone kind of got to know everyone by playing in different combinations.  

Your music to date has always been frontier based. Can you explain more about this and the decision behind it? 

It’s exciting! And it’s fun to try to capture unique and inspiring stories in the songs. Sometimes we try to write songs based on our own experiences, but other times it’s great to put yourself in the shoes of others and find something relatable and universal in their experiences. Having both approaches makes it easier to keep the ideas always flowing. 

Your music blends alt rock with orchestral music which is an interesting and unique amalgam of genres. Tell us more about how this fusion came to be.

I think it’s just what we like! There’s no reason why groove based music with drums and bass can’t also have strings or brass instruments, or why music with orchestral instruments can’t also have a rhythm section and vocals. We’re certainly not the first to combine these sounds, so we follow in the footsteps of the artists who came before us and blazed that trail. Hopefully listeners are exposed to some new sounds that turn them on to even more music that they didn’t know they liked!  

“Another Star” is a song inspired by the spacecraft Voyager. How did this narrative come to be?

There was a news story that came out about how the satellite was finally going to exit the solar system and we would eventually lose contact with it after all these years. It makes you think about the rest of its life. It’s going to just keep going forever into empty space and we’re going to send up newer ones in its place. It’s a little bit sad, but also nice to think about the voyage it’ll be on for so long. 

“Desert Bloom” is the title-track for the album and takes a name from the rarity of flourishing plant life in the desert. This sets the theme for the entire album. Can you tell us more about this?

A desert bloom is a phenomenon we just stumbled across one day. It’s when all of the sudden a desert will burst to life with flowers and plant life, but it usually only lasts a short while and then goes right back to dry, arid sand. In some deserts this can happen thousands of years apart! There was something captivating about that process and in some way is a metaphor for the creative process we used on the record. We held ourselves to a short timeline on every song and just allowed whatever came out of the creative process to exist in the moment, and then we moved right on to the next one. 

Do you have a dream venue or festival you would love to play?


What’s next for Earthquake Lights?

More and more music. We grew a lot creatively through the writing and recording of Desert Bloom and we’re taking that growth forward into new projects and more songs. If you like the sounds on Desert Bloom and our first LP Distress Signals, be on the lookout for even more musical development and sonic exploration. We’re very excited about it. 

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Words: Alexander Williams