Bringing a touch of light (you’ll get this pun once you read the article) to a Tuesday morning, here are Levitas…
We originally formed in Swansea, but now we’re an even split between Cardiff and Bristol.
How did you meet?
Rhys and I were introduced at an open mic night in Swansea that quickly descended into playing Darkthrone covers and fucking about with reverb pedals. After about a year working on early material, Rhys moved to Cardiff and I moved to Bristol, which is when we recruited Rhys’ friend Liam as bassist. We got to know Sam when we toured with Agrona in 2017. When we parted ways with our then-drummer, Sam offered to fill in for a few gigs, and he’s been with us since!
How long have you been playing as a band?
Our live debut was back in 2016 but we didn’t really get the gigging momentum til the Agrona tour. When Sam joined us full-time we felt we could really start to focus on playing more gigs and recording.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Levitas means “lightness” and we thought this fitted with the ethereal, airy sound that we wanted to come through in our work. Obviously heaviness is just as important, but we liked that it contrasted with the more weighty terms that get used a lot within the metal scene.
What are your influences?
The four of us have such a diverse range of influences, so we’ll list a few and try and keep it short: Red Sparrowes, Isis, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Dying Fetus, Amenra, Wolves In The Throne Room, Agalloch, Akercocke, Rwake, Swans.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I think the diverse influences, such as those listed above, makes a big difference. There was never a definite sound we wanted to emulate when starting out. Blackened post metal is probably the best way to describe us in a few words, but there’s elements of all sorts in there, doom metal and sludge to post punk and 90s shoe gaze.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Rhys and Liam are our main lyricists, but most of our songs take inspiration from nature, philosophy and all the emotions at the sadder end of the spectrum.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
There’s been too many to count really, we’ve been lucky to have been offered a lot of great slots around Cardiff and the South West since we started. We’ve tried to really tighten up our set recently though. Lots of people were telling us after our gigs that we really drenched the room in sound, so we try to deliver that every time and bring the whole crowd into the moment. Sometimes there’s cool lighting and stage effects to help with that, other times it’s just us and our instruments doing the work.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Well Sam’s other band Cranial Separation probably win that title for throwing dildos into the crowd when they played Bloodstock last year! The rest of us are a slightly more tame, we played a gig once where there were people in the audience doing human pyramids, that was a bit weird.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I play an Ibanez S771PB with an assortment of pedals, my favourite being the TC Electronic T2 reverb. I recently got an EVH 5150 lunchbox head and it’s an absolute dream! Rhys plays a Gibson SG and has a Peavy 6505 valve head. His pedal collection is better than mine, he has a Neunaber Immerse which sounds amazing and brings a lot of extra depth to our tracks. Sam has Tama pedals, Sabian cymbals and Vic Firth sticks. And Liam will play any old shit that falls out of his gear cupboard. He does have a lovely Epiphone Gothic Thunderbird bass though!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Right now it’s all about our debut EP Charnel Sky which we released online on 22nd April. We’ve had some really encouraging feedback so far, so we might start doing physical copies so people can pick it up at shows.
What are your plans for 2019?
Aside from getting our EP out there, we have some upcoming gigs that we’re really excited for, including supporting Australia’s Advent Sorrow on their Cardiff date, a Metal to the Masses semi-final, and opening Atmosfest in Nottingham in the autumn. We’re working on a few new songs too, which we’ll hopefully be playing live pretty soon.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Good question, we’d definitely all argue over this one! To me, the dream band to support would be Wolves in the Throne Room, or one of the greatest post metal bands out there right now, Amenra. Picking an opener is harder as that’s usually our spot, but there’s a great band playing in Bristol a lot right now called This Ends Here. They’re a kind of blackened post metal with crushing riffs, lots of reverb-y gloom and some hardcore elements as well. They gave me shivers last time I saw them play, definitely a band to watch out for.