Type in Husband and Wife Duo into the google machine and an impressive list of conspirators and collaborators come up. “Husband-wife duo set track ablaze in Dakshin Dare rally”, “Jay-Z and Beyonce”, and “husband-and-wife duo charged in New Gloucester market robbery “.
Though Josh Wells and Amber Webber aren’t officially married, their partnership on and off stage has been a long one. And whether they deserve a place in amongst bank robbers, rap stars, or the “mud, grime and machines” of the derby world, may yet to be seen. However, as Lightning Dust, the duo create subtle and smooth pop masterpieces that find a way of nestling comfortably within the listeners consciousness. Their latest recording is one song on a split 7″ with fellow husband and wife Vancouverites, Hard Drugs.
Titled Never Again, it’s a song that begins sparsely with heavy low end keyboards pulsing relentlessly as Amber’s characteristically vulnerable, yet confident, vocal delivery gracefully tells us her story. Like a wave, the music lifts you up and carries you forward, as Amber unforgivingly states “We move softly in the wind, we move slowly to keep them from wondering where we’ve been.” Oddly, it’s a line that is quite possibly autobiographical for the band. After writing, recording, and performing with their other project, the much louder and heavier Black Mountain, the duo slip back quietly into their nest to write their songs as Lightning Dust. Their tours are quick and easy between Black Mountain’s hectic schedule, which allows them to have more of a vacation than a hurried itinerary.
Before heading off to Europe for a brief tour and end-of-summer Italian holiday, we got together with Josh and Amber for some photos on False Creek in Vancouver and to ask them a few questions about Lightning Dust and the new song on the 7″ being released.
Josh Wells: The beginnings of the band were in 2006, when Amber and I both had stray songs floating around that we didn’t really know what to do with. They definitely weren’t Black Mountain songs, so we made some demos together on a cassette 8 track recorder. We arranged each other’s songs, adding a melody or words or a bridge here and there. When we were done 6 songs, we made 25 CDRs for our friends and family at Christmas. One of the friends was Jagjaguwar, at that point already Blk Mtn’s label. They liked it and suggested that we work on a real record for them. We played a few shows as Amber and Josh, but it felt a bit lame. We needed a name.
Lightning Dust came up while we were making the first record at home. It just sounded right.
What are the roles each of you have in creating the music you do?
Amber writes skeletal songs with lyrics and I arrange the instrumentation, or I write somewhat arranged songs with no words and Amber comes up with lyrics and melodies to suit them. I often press record on the reproduction device. We both produce the final product, keeping each other’s weaknesses in check.
You’re releasing a split 7″ with Hard Drugs on the Storyboard Label in October. I’ve heard someone say your song on the record makes them think of how awesome it would be if Vangelis recorded a Christmas song with Eurythmics. Would you agree?
Well that sounds pretty cool to me. Arrangement-wise, I pretty much was just trying to make it sound like the Eurythmics, so much is owed to them for that song. I didn’t realize, however, how much of a debt was owed to Vangelis and, well, Christ.
Like, BFFs! Mutual admiration society, you might call it.
Your music sounds to me like it could lend itself well to a film. Having just come off scoring a surfing movie with Stephen McBean, as Black Mountain, is that something you would continue to do?
J Most definitely! I’ve always made songs that are movie scores waiting to happen.
If you could have made the music to any film in history, what would it have been?
I wouldn’t want touch any of the movies that already have great soundtracks, like Dario Argento films for instance. But it would have perhaps been cool to be included in a John Hughes movie or Ghostbusters, just a song alongside the many great songs. As far as a whole film…Rosemary’s Baby would be a cool movie to score.
Any plans for the future?
Write more songs, record bit by bit for a new LD record. We’ve got a bunch of songs, but they’re not all quite there yet. No rush though. Best to take it slow and make sure everything is really good… Not too slow of course.
Interview: Scott Lewis
Photos: Jennilee Marigomen
Art direction: Redia Solts