Published May 15, 2019On their latest LP, Dark Beings, out May 17 on Coax Records, LAL — the duo of Rosina Kazi and Nicholas "Murr" Murray — open their arms to their community of artistic-minded friends to help keep their music timeless and without designation.
"My understanding of Dark Beings is kinda like the idea of ancient futurism," Murray tells Exclaim! in interview. "We have all this knowledge from the past that is still relevant and a lot of musicians and people who we've hung out with for the last little while have sort of taught us that."
Bringing together musicians (Jaheda Choudhury-Potter, Phenray), studio assistants (Cold Specks producer Jim Anderson) and even a design team (Raven Davis, Syrus Marcus Ware), the Toronto duo's fifth album, according to Kazi, is about "our community of musicians, artists, activists and organizers — just people who do things in a particular way."
Released three years since their last LP, (which stands as the shortest break the duo has taken between records), Dark Beings works as a spiritual and musical extension to 2016's Find Safety, as Kazi and Murray explore personal and global political with a air of positivity and knowledge.
"I think that Find Safety was the album where we were building the world, and now this is a move forward with that same idea," confirms Murray. "It's kinda like the world that we wanted to create where everybody can be full with whatever accessibility they had."
"When I was younger, I was much more angry; I'm still angry, but I presented my anger differently then than I do now," adds Kazi. "20 years later, I realize that the people who support us are all over the place. It's not just one community — it's a vibration that people are on and we've found these communities all over the world."
Over eight tracks and 28 minutes, Dark Beings finds LAL at their most ethereal — musically and lyrically.
"Rosina wanted something, and I wanted something, and through a very simple thing on the synthesizer we were able to come to terms with the essence of what we were both feeling at the time," explains Murray. "I've always written in metaphor, but I moved away from being really didactic and playing a lot more with metaphor around nature and humanity, because I'm personally tired of — unless they're really fucking good — of being yelled at, or just shitty lyrics," continues Kazi. "I'm tired of just seeing that kind of rhetoric, but at the same time I'm really tired of seeing really pretty songs about lakes in Ontario".
But what makes Dark Beings so engrossing is how LAL bring the unique and diverse political and social experiences of their entire artistic circle into their sound.
"An artist of colour, or one that comes from a marginalized community," explains Kazi, "even if the music isn't political, their experience is. But I think for us, since we're so heavily within the queer and trans and two-spirit communities and racialized communities, these issues are always around us. We do a lot of support work for people, so it's just something that I can't help but talk about. It's sacred to me; this is my sacred work."