Hi-Lux is Kansas City's musical gift to the world. An irresistible mix of 60s/70s soul, Motown and classic pop sounds that is at once instantly familiar and fresh. The band recently released of no less than seven 7-inch singles from the band and each one's a keeper. Led by Julia Haile on vocals, Hi-Lux is celebrating a productive year of recording and performing, with the promise of more new music to come in 2019. Enjoy our interview with and recommendations from the band.
Introduce the band. Describe your music for new listeners.
Hi. We’re Hi-Lux! Our 5 piece band consists of Julia Haile on vocals, Kian Byrne on drums, Tim Braun playing guitar, Dan Loftus on bass and Nick Howell playing keys. We’re a modern soul band that uses reggae and some jazz elements to create our sound. We’re going for a unique experience in which everybody gets to play what they love.
How did Hi-Lux come together?
We all met playing music and have been friends for more than a decade. Three members were previously in the band The Good Foot and others in the reggae band New Riddim. After working on some special projects and tribute shows, we started getting together to jam for the fun of it and that morphed into wanting to start an original band.
Hi-Lux has put out an amazing string of singles over the past several months. They sound like a band that’s been around for ages. What were the recording sessions like?
Our recording came together between a couple of home studios. Our guitarist Tim is a sound engineer and he had specific designs on how the sound should come across. We also worked with our friend and musician Steve Phillips of the Elders. He runs Big Time Studios and helped us tremendously. Trying to pay homage to a certain sound while staying modern is tough, but we worked at it. It’s nice to hear people say our music reminds them of some of their old favorites.
From Julia: I’m always amazed at the difference a microphone makes! When I first experienced the process of engineers going back and forth while listening intently, I didn't hear those subtle differences in the varying models. Hi-Lux seems to be fond of Shure SM7.
How does songwriting work in Hi-Lux? Who brings what to the table?
Our songwriting process is another reason it can sometimes be difficult to describe our sound! Everyone brings something in. It might be a completed song, a chorus idea, etc. We work together to try and make whatever it is the best it can be. It’s all about continuously working to find our voice.
What’s ahead for the band in 2018?
We are in the process of making new music and planning our next EP! The summer was full of fun shows that introduced us to new fans in KC, so we’re also trying to spread our music outside the city. We’ve been visiting The Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, and recently played in Denver. We’re eager to get back.
The wonderful thing about music in Kansas City is we are seeing a rise in recognition outside of our community. Folks that have been working hard for years and strengthening their bodies of work are being seen as leaders in this push to show the world we are a talented city. That’s pretty inspiring.
Hi-Lux's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times Charlie Parker by Stanley Crouch
Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk
Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sketches of Brunswick East by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
We got it from Here...Thank you 4 your service by A Tribe Called Quest
Maggot Brain by Funkadelic