10 Questions with…Lil Huffy
First things first, give our readers some background on Lil Huffy. What’s Lil Huffy all about?
Emigdio: Background—–> We’re a band from Harrisonburg, Virginia—>small mountain town. Harrisonburg is awesome, and is part of what makes Lil Huffy what it is. We started as a goofy halloween coverband (japanther covers) where I wore short shorts and rolled around on the ground and stuff. Everyone was into it cause H-burg hadn’t had a punk band in a while, and so we got a lot of encouragement to keep going. I had been sitting on some these indie songs for a few years and it felt like the right time. It def was.
What we’re about?—->Difficult question, personal take on it, So far, the songs have essentially been about my fuck ups. There’s a lot about coping with human error, and figuring out how to connect with people in a world that doesn’t feel like its made for personal connection.
Not to trap you in box but…am I sensing a little Joy Division sprinkled with some My Blood Valentine in your songs? I guess I’m asking who your influences are?
Emigdio: The box is pretty hard to avoid in indie. It can kind of feel like we wear our influences on our sleeves sometimes, but we try not to be boring with it. I’ve mostly been in hardcore and harsh noise bands before this so that kind of informs the noisier aspects of Lil Huffy. I can’t really talk about music without talking about Yo La Tengo. Hearing Ira Kaplan scramble up and down the guitar on Cherry Chapstick was a pretty formative listening experience for me, maybe the moment it clicked that “This is just a piece of wood with some shit glued onto it. There are no rules”. I try and put his sort of dynamic in most of my playing and songwriting. Also for the past few months I’ve been listening nearly exclusively to R&B. Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo being fav’s. It has this really personal and intimate feel, and when its good it lacks an ego that shows up in most rock music.
Landon: I’ve been into both of those bands pretty heavily at points, so if that sound is coming through it makes sense. I think Doug Martsch from Built to Spill has been a big influence on me as far as writing guitar parts goes. I just really like the way everything the guitars are doing in that band seems deliberate without being predictable.
Whose idea was the comic book?
Max: Stan Lee
Emigdio: It mostly came out of us sitting on our back porch cracking jokes. Like something would happen, and we’d be like “well what if it was like this instead?” But then ‘like this’ was us getting abducted by aliens, and the pizza fairy taking away Jesse’s ability to talk. After we had a pretty specific idea for the story I asked my friend Lucy Dacus to draw it after I saw a little 3 panel comic she made about a dream she had. We have like 2 more issues planned out already, again from us joking on whatever. If anyone wants to help continue the series please hit us up lilhuffyband[at]gmail[dot]com, we’d want a different artist for each issue. Oh and if you want to see the first issue, it’s free when you download Old Volvo off of our bandcamp.
ATWN is all about the relationship that exists between writers (who tend to listen to a lot of tunes) and musicians (who have a tendency to read a lot of books.) Where do you guys fall on the “reading spectrum”? Read all the time. Only if you have to?
Landon: I’m studying English so I’m reading all the time whether I want to or not.
Emigdio: Pretty low on the spectrum honestly, at least as far as novels go. I read poetry and short stories occasionally, a decent amount of comics. I’m probably the least well read member of the band though.
Jesse: I’ll go a long time without doing any serious reading and then spend a week doing nothing else. But usually I just maintain a healthy level of reading too much.
If we started to snoop through your bookshelves (admit it…everyone does it) what are we going to be most surprised to find there?
Landon: I have this book about the Navy Seals who killed Osama Bin Laden. I got it for Christmas and at first I thought it would at least be interesting but the writing is so terrible I couldn’t get through it. I remember one line where the guy narrating is like “That mission was very bad.” It’s a pretty embarrassing book to own actually.
Max: I’ve got some books on how to do magic tricks.
Emigdio: My bookshelves are mostly chemistry and math textbooks, weird lab technique manuals. Not something people usually guess when talking to me initially, but I study chemistry. Actually I’m in New Mexico now at this internship building sensors for anti-cancer drug development.
Jesse: Somewhere I still have a collection of around 15 Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers. I used to get one every Christmas.
I know that writers look to music all the time for inspiration. Do you guys ever flip that on its head? Have your ever written a song that was inspired by something you’d read recently?
Emigdio: No, not in a direct way. I’d like to be able to draw from sources that aren’t so immediate to me like literature and art, but i feel like i’m not far enough along as a songwriter to do it successfully. Maybe one day…
Landon: I think that books can just put me in different moods that in turn affect how I write music. Like if I’m reading Cormac McCarthy I’m probably not going to write a catchy pop tune. So even if our music isn’t directly influenced by the subject matter of what we’re reading, it is influenced by the way the things we read make us feel.
Best book you’ve ever read. Ready? Go!
Landon: Probably Absalom!, Absalom! Faulkner just destroys any expectations of what a novel is capable of, and Absalom!, Absalom! is a real monster.
Jesse: Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim At Tinker Creek. I remember the first time I read it, whenever I put it down, I’d kind of wander around in a daze.
You all come from a variety of rather literary backgrounds (comics/anime, English major, theater major, screenwriting, etc.), how do you think that has influenced your relationship as a band?
Emigdio: Kinda helped us nerd out together, I’d say. Like I remember when Landon was getting super stoked on Neon Genesis Evangelion, it was like ‘yeah this band is gonna be tight’. Ha! We almost named our band Shinji Ikari actually.
So, considering all of your backgrounds, Katsuhiro Otomo, Henry Miller, Shakespeare, and Ingmar Bergman walk into a Lil Huffy show. Who rocks it out the most?
Max: Shakespeare, he always carries a skull around.
Emigdio: Shakespeare, if he was down with the future, and didn’t accuse of being witches. If Otomo liked my band I would be flyin’ high though.
Finally, what are you guys reading right now?
Emigdio: Just finished ‘Icaro’ by Jiro Taniguchi. I’d def recommend it to someone, artwork is on point. Recently read a real good poem by Juan Jimenez called ‘The Name Drawn from the Names”
Landon: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series.
Jesse: I’ve been reading Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings and a big collection of Jenny Holzer’s work.
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